Vaccine passports in Australia: who will impose them and how will they work?

As states and territories set out their plans to ease Covid-19 health restrictions, one leader has made clear that it’s now every jurisdiction for itself when it comes to the thorny question of vaccine passports.

© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Canadian Press/Rex/Shutterstock

The chief minister of the Australian Capital Territory, Andrew Barr, said as much on Wednesday, comments that followed his earlier explanation that he opposes the idea that vaccinated people should gain extra freedoms citing human rights and the practicality of enforcement.

Related: Covid-19 vaccine Australia rollout tracker by state: total number of people and per cent vaccinated, daily vaccine doses and rate of progress

By contrast, New South Wales and Victoria have laid out reopening plans that include exemptions from public health orders for the fully vaccinated, but it’s less clear how vaccine passports will be used in states that are currently Covid-free.

Last Friday national cabinet agreed that all states and territories will integrate vaccine certificates in their check-in apps. That creates the architecture that will allow businesses to refuse to serve unvaccinated customers, which Scott Morrison and discrimination law experts have said is likely to be legal.

© Photograph: Canadian Press/Rex/Shutterstock A Covid QR code is scanned in Montreal, Canada, where vaccine passports are being used to allow people to enter certain businesses. Proof of vaccine status is already required for some activities in Australia.

Here’s what we know so far about what vaccine passports will be used for and where the unvaccinated will miss out.

A short history

Australia’s Covid-19 vaccination policy, first published in November, states that vaccination is voluntary but strongly encouraged, with the rider that: “There may however, be circumstances where the Australian government and other governments may introduce border entry or re-entry requirements that are conditional on proof of vaccination.”

In January the NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, first proposed that “high-risk settings” such as pubs and clubs could require patrons to show proof of vaccination to gain entry. Other leaders said the idea was premature because the rollout had not yet started.

In July national cabinet agreed to the four-stage reopening plan, including that once 70% adult vaccination rates have been reached states and territories may “ease restrictions on vaccinated residents (TBD)” and at 80% the federal government will “lift all restrictions on outbound travel for vaccinated Australia”.

Since then it has been clear proof of vaccine status will be required for some activities.

The federal government has announced that it is developing a digital passenger declaration for incoming arrivals that will include vaccination status, and a system to allow people to use MyGov to upload proof of vaccination to a QR code linked to their passport.

On 30 July the national cabinet asked a subgroup of Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory to “prepare options on how restrictions can be eased for vaccinated Australians” once 70% vaccination rates are reached.

On 17 September it decided that each jurisdictions will integrate an individual’s immunisation record into its own check-in app which would be used “as per requirements under state and territory public health orders”. No uniform or model health orders have been agreed.

Barr said on Wednesday there had been “a bit of a commonwealth takeover” of the process, and a paper was presented that Victoria, Tasmania and the NT had not authored, but the issue will return to national cabinet for consideration on 1 October.

  • Sign up to receive an email with the top stories from Guardian Australia every morning

New South Wales

© Provided by The Guardian People walk through a park in Sydney marked with social distancing circles where fully vaccinated residents are allowed to have a picnic. Photograph: Loren Elliott/Reuters

NSW has announced that “only fully vaccinated people and those with medical exemptions will have access to the freedoms allowed under the Reopening NSW roadmap”.

Once the 70% adult vaccination target is reached, they can:

  • Have up to five visitors to the home and gather in groups of up to 20 outdoors

  • Attend hospitality, retail, personal services, gym and indoor recreation facilities and sporting facilities, including pools

  • Attend major recreation outdoor facilities including stadiums, racecourses, theme parks and zoos, capped at 5,000 people

  • Attend ticketed and seated outdoor events of up to 500 people

  • Attend indoor entertainment including cinemas, theatres, music halls, museums and galleries

  • Have up to 50 guests at weddings and funerals

Most of these freedoms are subject to the four square metre rule and other caps.

Related: NSW Covid vaccination rate by suburb: check the percentages in your postcode – interactive map

Video: Construction ban decision ‘made by public health team’ (Sky News Australia)

NSW is trialling its vaccine certificate in the Service NSW app in regional areas including Dubbo, although there are concerns the two-week trial will not be complete when the 70% mark is reached in early October.


Victoria’s roadmap also sets out the freedoms vaccinated people will enjoy, subject to density limits and caps on numbers.

At the 70% adult vaccination rate (estimated to be 26 October), a fully vaccinated person may:

  • Attend a restaurant

  • Send their children to childcare

  • Do physical recreation, community sport, tours and outdoor entertainment in groups of up to 50

  • Gather in a larger group for an outdoor religious service or at a community facility

  • Attend hairdressers, beauty or personal care

At the 80% vaccination rate (estimated to be 5 November), a fully vaccinated person may:

  • Go to work, instead of working from home

  • Attend adult education

  • Attend nightclubs

Other jurisdictions

© Provided by The Guardian The ACT will not require vaccine passports due to human rights concerns. Photograph: Xinhua/Rex/Shutterstock

The ACT government has made clear it will not require vaccine passports due to human rights concerns, extremely high demand for vaccination in the territory, and the limited use for them in the short window between 70% and 80% vaccination rates.

The Western Australian premier, Mark McGowan, has said “you’ll need a vaccine passport to do certain things” including flying overseas, interstate travel and possibly also to attend sporting events.

In early September, the Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, declined to say whether vaccine certificates would be needed, citing the fact there was no Delta in the state.

The Tasmanian premier, Peter Gutwein, has said he is not against the idea but a vaccine passport won’t be implemented until every Tasmanian has had the opportunity to get vaccinated.

The South Australian premier, Steven Marshall, is reportedly in favour, but wants the commonwealth to coordinate the efforts.

Business requirements on customers

On 6 August Morrison said the solicitor general had advised it was “unlikely” that requiring customers to be vaccinated would infringe discrimination laws.

“Ultimately, [they’re] choices for the businesses themselves,” Morrison said.

Discrimination law expert Liam Elphick agrees, stating that “choosing not to be vaccinated against Covid-19” is not a “protected attribute” in discrimination law.

“While people can choose not to get vaccinated against Covid-19, businesses are equally free to choose not to permit them entry,” he says.

This means that even if public health orders do not require proof of vaccination, unvaccinated Australians may be unable to access certain events and businesses.

Organisers of major events overseas, such as Bruce Springsteen concerts on Broadway, already require vaccination to attend.

But the Australian Human Rights Commission has warned that businesses should seek legal advice and “carefully consider the position of vulnerable groups in the community before imposing any blanket Covid-19 vaccination policies or conditions”.

Imposing a blanket condition, with no exemptions for people with medical conditions for example, may breach discrimination law, it said.


© Provided by The Guardian A closed road at the Queensland-NSW border on Wednesday. To enter Queensland, essential workers must be able to show they have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine. Photograph: Jason O’Brien/EPA

Vaccine passports may be needed to travel between states, as well as internationally.

Western Australia already requires proof that an eligible person has received at least one dose of a vaccine if they are travelling from “high” or “extremely high” risk jurisdictions (currently Victoria and NSW).

At the Queensland-NSW border, essential workers must be able to show they have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

As vaccine certificates have not yet been integrated into check-in apps, these states use an immunisation history statement or Covid-19 digital certificate, available via the Medicare app and MyGov.

The Northern Territory chief minister, Michael Gunner, has announced that once its borders open with 80% of adults fully vaccinated, unvaccinated travellers from at-risk Covid zones will be barred.

Will this be permanent?

Last Friday Morrison suggested that vaccine passports to enter pubs, clubs and other businesses might be temporary.

“What I actually think will happen … I think we’ll move through these phases,” Morrison told 3AW Radio.

“I think there will be a phase, particularly as you go into 70%, to 80%, where you’ve got to exercise that caution, as we’re already seeing in NSW and as Victoria is moving towards, you’ll start to open up.”

Barr said on Wednesday that no state had “gone on the record to say that they intend to make permanent these discriminatory measures, so one would hope they would only be temporary in jurisdictions that do adopt them”.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
News Related


Ruling JD(U) dismisses talk that Lalu's campaign can play spoiler in Bihar bypolls

© Provided by Hindustan Times Janata Dal (United) on Wednesday dismissed suggestions that the campaigning by Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad could damage its winning prospects in Kusheshwar ... Read more »

Rapid spread of dengue in Rajasthan puts health facilities to test

Covid-19 is yet to be completely eradicated from Rajasthan and the rising cases of dengue have put additional pressure on the state health department. In several parts of the state, ... Read more »

Residents object to felling of trees in Ludhiana

© Provided by Hindustan Times The residents of HJ block (housing colony) in Bhai Randhir Singh (BRS) Nagar, Ludhiana, stated that the trunks of at least three trees were illegally ... Read more »

Toll in Sivakasi firecracker shop blaze mounts to 7

© Provided by Hindustan Times The firecracker shop has been having a license to sell fireworks for the past 10 years and it had also renewed the license this year. ... Read more »

Bank of Canada warns on prolonged inflation, but hints at looming hike in rates

OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada is warning inflation will stay higher for longer than it previously forecast and signalled that an interest rate hike may be coming sooner than ... Read more »

State agriculture minister lauds Punjab Agricultural University's academic, research activities

© Provided by Hindustan Times Punjab agriculture minister Randeep Singh Nabha at an exhibition stall during a visit to Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana on Wednesday. (HT Photo) State agriculture ... Read more »

Investigation into infamous bread price-fixing scheme isn't finished, competition watchdog says

© Provided by Financial Post The Competition Bureau started its inquiry in 2017 because investigators believed Canadian food companies had conspired together to control the price of commercial bread products ... Read more »

Government still undecided on whether to fight Indigenous child-welfare rulings

OTTAWA — Canada’s attorney general says with only two days until the court deadline, the Liberal cabinet still has not decided whether or not to appeal a decision that would ... Read more »

Die Pflegenden sind die «Prügelkinder» unseres Gesundheitswesens

Die Pflegeinitiative erzielt hohe Umfragewerte. Vordergründig liegt das an der Coronakrise, doch letztlich muss das Pflegepersonal den Spardruck im Gesundheitswesen ausbaden. © keystone Teaserbild Es gibt gute Gründe, um die ... Read more »

Flood danger warning issue for Western Norway, landslide warning issued for Southern Norway

There will be a risk of floods in Western Norway and landslides in Southern Norway on Thursday, the warning service reports. “Over the next five days, large parts of ... Read more »

Pubgoer claiming to have found the world's longest chip at 47cm accused of cheating

A SHOCKED pubgoer claimed to have found the world’s longest chip — but was then accused of doctoring his dinner. Sam Mumford, 29, posed for a snap with the extra-lanky ... Read more »

Teen already held on murder charge busted for first NYC homicide of 2021

Detectives on the scene of a shooting at the Umbrella Hotel in Kew Gardens where multiple people were shot on Jan. 1, 2021. Dennis A. Clark A teen already in ... Read more »

Michigan Senate approves end to tax on menstrual products

New legislation is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Whitmer to end taxes on menstrual products in Michigan. AP / Rich Pedroncelli LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate ... Read more »

Lady Gaga Wants It All In A New House Of Gucci Teaser

United Artists Releasing What a year to be Adam Driver. For the second time this fall, the actor finds himself starring in a husband and wife-centric historical crime drama from director Ridley ... Read more »

Helen's law: killer refused parole for failing to disclose where body hidden

Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA A prisoner has become the first person to be refused parole under a new law that makes make it harder for killers to be released if they ... Read more »

Democrats ditch billionaires' tax proposal after just one day, says top tax writer in the House. His Senate counterpart says not so fast.

© AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite House Ways and Means Chairman Richard ... Read more »

Mercedes-Benz Sustaineer: An eco-friendly concept van

On Wednesday, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its Sustaineer commercial van concept. Short for “sustainability pioneer,” this all-electric design study is based on the automaker’s eSprinter and is loaded with features intended to ... Read more »

'Not Sittin' Here as Some Little Woman:' Looking Back at Hillary and Bill Clinton's 60 Minutes Interview

In 1992, Hillary Clinton wasn’t yet a household name — and was still years away from her own trailblazing political career — but she was quickly getting familiar with the ... Read more »

How did FL end up with one of best Covid case and death rates in US?

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Just two months ago, Florida was experiencing the worst COVID-19 surge in the United States. The Sunshine State had the highest seven-day average ... Read more »

Budget 2021: Local services face cuts as Sunak's Spending Review delivers real-terms fall in council funding

Council services such as social care, bin collection, sport centres and road repairs are likely to be cut following real-term reductions in funding to councils in Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review, ... Read more »

Britain plans to remove travel 'red list' and hotel quarantine - The Telegraph

(Reuters) – Britain plans to remove restrictions such as a travel “red list” of seven countries and hotel quarantine due to a declining COVID-19 threat from abroad, The Telegraph reported ... Read more »

Columbia suspect jumps out of ambulance, runs away after arrest, police say

A man who was under arrest tried to escape from police Tuesday by jumping out of an ambulance, according to Columbia Police Department. Columbia officers charged 37-year-old Braden L. Robinson ... Read more »

An author's reminder: Philanthropy isn't defined by money

Lucy Bernholz talks about Chex Mix a lot. © Provided by Associated Press In this undated photo provided by Lucy Bernholz, author Bernholz poses for a picture. Bernholz traveled America, ... Read more »

Facebook employees said its ability to detect vaccine hesitancy and misinformation is 'bad in English and basically nonexistent' in other languages, reports show

© Provided by Business Insider Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (left) and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen. Matt McClain-Pool/Getty Images/Andrew Harnik/AP Facebook is struggling to manage COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, ... Read more »

India vows to take up 'climate justice' combat at COP26

India will be a fighter for “climate justice” at the upcoming COP26 summit, seeking to make rich nations pay for measures to ease rising temperatures, the country’s environment minister said ... Read more »

My Story: Getting through the worst of times

© Copyright (c) Daily Maverick , All Rights Reserved When the Covid-19 pandemic first approached South African shores like a swathe of ominous storm clouds 19 months ago, very few ... Read more »

Dog's leash gets caught in elevator leaving it hanging from ceiling

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo This is the heartstopping moment a dog’s leash got caught in a pair of closing elevator doors, leaving it hanging from the ceiling ... Read more »

PS Plus games leaked again, Knockout City on the list

© Provided by Dot Esports November’s PS Plus games have been leaked, making it the second month in a row the lineup of free games has been detailed early.  Akin ... Read more »

How Large is Vanguard's Download Size?

With only a matter of days left until Call of Duty: Vanguard is available on Nov. 5, information on download size has come out. Along with download size information, we ... Read more »

Clinton aide Huma Abedin claims she was sexually accosted by senator

Longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin claims she was sexually accosted by a U.S. senator, according to a new report. In her memoir set to be released next week, an ... Read more »

San Diego man accused of smuggling nearly 8 pounds of fentanyl on bus in Kansas City

A San Diego man was indicted this week in federal court on accusations he smuggled more than seven pounds of fentanyl on a bus stopping in Kansas City. Jonatan Gutierrez, ... Read more »

Huma Abedin Says She Was Sexually Assaulted by a U.S. Senator but 'Buried the Incident' for Years

Huma Abedin Arturo Holmes/MG21/Getty In Huma Abedin's upcoming memoir, the longtime aide and friend of Hillary Clinton reveals that she was sexually assaulted by an unnamed U.S. senator. Abedin writes ... Read more »

Garland defends school board memo amid Republican criticism

1 / 6Senate Judiciary GarlandAttorney General Merrick Garland testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining the Department of Justice on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Tom ... Read more »

16-year-old dies after gunfire erupts at fight — now there's an arrest, NC cops say

A 16-year-old died after she was shot during a fight, and now there’s an arrest in the case, North Carolina officials said. A group of young people was meeting for ... Read more »

True cost of Dems' plans: $7.5 trillion and a lot of gimmicks

After months of going back and forth with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin, Democrats are finally accepting the reality of not getting their full $3.5 trillion. Graeme Sloan/Sipa ... Read more »

Did you know the famous Eiffel Tower video of BTS' V was BOMBED by an Indian man – watch hilarious CLIP to know what he said

© Provided by BTS singer V is well known for his penchant of indulging fans across the globe with several photos and videos from both his personal and professional ... Read more »

Biden's finishing what Obama started with early learning

President Biden’s child care and universal preschool proposals have received a lot of attention, much of it focused on whether the proposals will survive negotiations in the Senate around what ... Read more »

Opinion: No. 1 Gonzaga has one glass ceiling left to shatter. It better happen soon.

When we last saw Gonzaga on a basketball court, they hadn’t just lost a national championship to Baylor. They had allowed one of the most annoying narratives in sports to live for ... Read more »

Davante Adams doesn't travel with Packers

© Provided by NBC Sports There’s a slim chance that wide receiver Davante Adams will be cleared to play against the Cardinals on Thursday night, but he’ll need to get ... Read more »

Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings & Stat Projections

© Provided by Sports Illustrated The Lions may be winless, but D’Andre Swift can carry your fantasy team to victory in Week 8 SI Fantasy is back in action for ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic