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Government widens vaccine injury compensation scheme to win peace with Gerard Rennick

Rogue Liberal backbencher has cut a deal over COVID-19 vaccines but is still refusing to fully cooperate with the federal government. Key points:The changes mean people can claim for injuries or adverse events linked to the that cost $1,000 or moreSenator Rennick will support procedural votes but is still holding out on backing other government billsThe Opposition says the situation in the Senate this week has been “embarrassing” for the governmentThe Queensland senator is against state governments and businesses mandating vaccines, and has also raised concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine injury claims scheme.Currently, the government scheme covers injuries costing $5,000 and above due to the administration or an adverse event from a TGA-approved COVID vaccine.Senator Rennick met with Prime Minister for a lengthy meeting earlier this week and with Treasurer yesterday. Following those discussions, the government will change how the vaccine claims scheme works so that the compensation threshold will be reduced from $5,000 to $1,000. An online portal is expected to be launched next month for people to claim monetary support. Under the current scheme, people claiming between $5,000 and $20,000 need to have been hospitalised for at least a night. LIVE UPDATES: Read our blog for the latest news on the COVID-19 pandemicThey must also provide evidence of what they need the money for, such as medical costs, lost wages and hospitalisation. The government is yet to outline when the change in the compensation scheme comes into place. Both the Prime Minister and Health Minister insisted the decision was not the result of any one person.”The government has been considering this policy change for a number of weeks now and I thank all colleagues and stakeholders who have contributed to this decision,” Mr Hunt said.In return for the changes to the scheme, Senator Rennick will support procedural votes, but he is still holding out on backing other government bills. It means the government could still be required to rely on the crossbench for certain votes, because both Senator Rennick and his senate colleague  remain adamant they will not support government legislation until state for some workers are eradicated.Morrison’s Senate headacheTwo , who few in the party expected to be elected, have found themselves holding the Prime Minister’s legislative agenda just months out from an , potentially making Scott Morrison’s job even harder. Read moreMr Morrison has repeatedly insisted that the Coalition is a broad church of political views, however the small but noisy group of senators raising concerns about the mandates is proving unhelpful for the Prime Minister in the final sitting fortnight. Senior government Ministers have publicly called on the backbenchers to think carefully about how they vote in parliament and reminded MPs their role is to keep Australians safe during the pandemic.Opposition Leader said it was an embarrassing position for the Prime Minister to be in. “This week, they can’t get anything through the Parliament — they’re in a state of chaos,” he said. Nationals senator , who is also vocally concerned about vaccine mandates, said the federal government has shown, through its religious bill, that it is prepared to overrule state in certain situations.”If it’s good enough for the Commonwealth to use its powers to override state powers on , surely it’s good enough to use our powers to protect people’s ,” he said. “And that’s what I think we can and should do.”What you need to know about coronavirus:The symptomsThe number of cases in AustraliaTracking Australia’s vaccine rolloutLoading form…