A major problem has erupted around Australia’s immigration plan, with Minister Anthony Albanese calling him “weak” to oppose it.
Tourism Minister Dan Tehan has criticized Labor leader Anthony Albanese as “weak” for not supporting the government’s plan to welcome 160,000 new immigrants each year.
Australia will allow migrants and skilled students to return to the country on December 15 after the emergence of the Omicron variant that caused the government to hold a two-week pause on the reopening plan, which was due to take effect on December 1.
Treasury Secretary Josh Frydenberg revealed Saturday that they expect 120,000 more immigrants than initially expected in May last year to enter the country.
Albanese told Sky News he wanted to prioritize giving Australians the skills to fill jobs.
“We have become too dependent on temporary immigration rather than training Australians for the jobs that are available,” he said.
Tehan criticized Mr Albanese as “weak” for not supporting immigration policy.
“All the experience shows that[immigration]actually helps Australian jobs, because the more skills you have, the more companies that can work, the more they can be hired, and if they don’t have access to those specialized skills, that often means that,” he said. They can’t put additional functionality on.”
“So it’s about getting the policies in place right.
And Anthony Albanese, we don’t know what he actually represents.
“He says one thing one day, he says another.
“What we do know is that he’s pretty weak when it comes to these kinds of decisions and what he says one day doesn’t mean that’s what he’s going to do the next.”
Health Secretary Greg Hunt confirmed Monday that they will go ahead with the plan to open on Wednesday.
“We said on the 29th of November that we intended to reopen on the 15th of December. It was done through the national cabinet process,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
“This was confirmed over the weekend in consultation with the Prime Minister, discussion by the National Cabinet and advice from the Chief Medical Officer.”
Meanwhile, Mr Hunt also dismissed concerns that the AstraZeneca vaccine might not provide protection against the Omicron variant.
A small study by British government scientists found that people who received two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine had minimal protection against the new strain. A two-dose course of Pfizer offered just over 30 percent protection.
But a booster injection, if Pfizer was used, could restore protection levels to 71 percent for AstraZeneca recipients and 76 percent for Pfizer.
Asked about the study, Mr Hunt said advice from Medical Director Paul Kelly was that the vaccine continued to provide protection against hospitalization and death.
The advice remains that all of our vaccines provide strong, clear protection against serious illness, hospitalization and loss of life. “This is a very important point,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
“We will continue to follow the medical evidence and if there is additional advice, we will follow.”
On Sunday, the Australian Vaccines Advisory Authority gave the go-ahead to reduce the waiting time to receive a booster dose to five months.
Mr Hunt said Australia had 151 million doses of vaccine earmarked for the booster programme.
So far, 670,000 Australians have already received a third shot.
Overnight, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all Britons aged 18 and over will have the opportunity to receive a booster dose due to growing concerns about the Omicron strain.
“There’s a tidal wave from Omicron coming, and I’m afraid it’s now clear that two doses of the vaccine aren’t enough to provide the level of protection we all need,” he said.
The booster program for those over 30 was due to open on Monday, but Mr Johnson said every adult who received their second vaccine three months ago will now be able to book a booster dose.
This comes as Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce leaves the door open to completely change the definition of vaccination.
“If the greater effectiveness means getting a double injection and a booster, I think that is what the medical authorities will say,” he told Shorouk.