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Clive Palmer sells Qantas shares in protest of vaccine mandate

Two Qantas A330s, as shot by Victor Pody
Two Qantas A330s, as shot by Victor Pody.

Businessman Clive Palmer has claimed he’s sold his Qantas shares in protest at the company’s decision to mandate vaccines for its staff.

“I believe the financial risks Qantas is taking over mandatory vaccinations of its staff leaves them exposed to future financial damages by staff who suffer side effects or worse,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

Palmer claimed that statistics released by Australia’s medical regulatory agency, Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), revealed “hundreds of deaths” caused by COVID inoculations. The TGA has however cleared three COVID vaccines as being safe and effective, those distributed by Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

“I would encourage directors of other public companies to realise future financial exposure if staff are mandated to take vaccines which cause damages,’’ Palmer said.

Qantas announced in August it would mandate cabin crew, pilots and airport ground workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID from 15 November 2021, while the remaining workforce will have until 31 March 2022 to get the jab.

The airline said then that 89 per cent of its staff had either been inoculated or were planning to be, and a survey revealed three-quarters of employees supported the decision.

Both Virgin and Rex followed suit with similar policies shortly after.


Virgin Australia chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka said inoculations were “the only way back to normal freedom of movement” and the “only solution to the situation Australia currently finds itself in”.

“The majority of our team at Virgin Australia are already vaccinated, and we will be listening to our team members to ensure we find the best fit policy for our organisation,” she said.

“We trust medical experts, their advice and the evidence that shows that vaccines save lives and reduce hospitalisation rates.

“Virgin Australia recognises the critical imperative to get the broader community vaccinated and will launch a competition this week to encourage as many people as we can to roll up their sleeves. We are also supportive of government-led measures to ensure travellers are vaccinated.”

Meanwhile, Rex’s said a survey of its staff showed just 8 per cent of respondents were unsure about getting the vaccine, and 2 per cent were opposed to vaccination for medical or other reasons.

The airline’s deputy chairman, John Sharp, said, “We have a duty of care to both our passengers and staff to provide the safest possible environment”.

“As we provide an essential service operating to regional centres and remote communities throughout Australia, it is incumbent upon us to do whatever we can to help those residents remain safe and healthy.

“As the survey shows, Rex staff has overwhelmingly embraced this responsibility and has done its part to keep the nation safe. On behalf of the board, I congratulate them for their contribution to keeping everyone safer.”

NSW emerged from lockdown on Monday but many shops and hospitality services are now only available to be used by those who have received two doses of an approved COVID vaccine.

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