Austria – On Thursday, 20 January, the Austrian National Council (parliament) passed a law introducing mandatory vaccination against Covid-19 for all citizens over the age of 18 from 1 February. During the debate preceding the vote, the President of the FPÖ, Herbert Kickl, who is also one of the leaders of the opposition movement to the Covid measures in Austria – including, of course, mandatory vaccination – once again pleaded for the renunciation of a project that he said is, above all, liberticidal. He also noted that hundreds of thousands of Austrians have already shown strong opposition to the law, most notably during numerous street demonstrations throughout the country. We publish below a translation into French of his speech to the Austrian Parliament.
Deputy Herbert Kickl (FPÖ): Mr President, Ladies and Gentlemen […] of the government. Dear fellow MPs! But above all, dear Austrians, who are following at home what will likely be a historical debate! I’ll tell it as it is, I’ll tell you bluntly: I am horrified, I am flabbergasted and I am shocked by what the federal government, made up of the ÖVP and the Greens – with the support of a false opposition serving as a stirrup – wants to put in place here and today as part of the compulsory vaccination law.
I assume that there are millions of people in this country right now who feel the same way I do. I will tell you why: quite simply because this introduction of compulsory vaccination, which is in reality nothing but forced vaccination, is nothing short of a gigantic attack on the freedom of the Austrian people (applause from the benches of the FPÖ). More importantly, I will call it a true attack against the human dignity of the Austrian population.
All of this was carefully planned and prepared by an irresponsible Federal Government, under the command of an irresponsible Chancellor, hand in hand with an irresponsible Health Minister. It is this government that people outside the walls of this Parliament and outside your ministries have long said is the worst and most insensitive government Austria has ever had. (Applause from the FPÖ benches).
This law is implemented, one could even say approved without discussion by MPs of the ÖVP and the Greens, both equally irresponsible. Approved by MPs who have forgotten that this Parliament is not an extension of the ministries, ladies and gentlemen, who have forgotten that they took an oath to the Austrian Constitution and who obviously confuse this Assembly with a general assembly of pharmaceutical lobbyists.
(Applause on the benches of the FPÖ – Interruptions on those of the ÖVP).
And that’s not all: These irresponsible perpetrators are obediently supported by equally irresponsible MPs from so-called opposition parties called the SPÖ and the NEOS. Ladies and gentlemen! I feel like you are being held hostage by your two party presidents, two ladies who are sacrificing everything their parties hold sacred for a very cheap secondary role. (Interruptions by MP Scherak – NEOS.) For a supporting role in a pitiful joke of a government, one throws one’s own principles overboard, one betrays one’s own constituents, one’s own party members, one’s own executives and one’s own parliamentary caucus. You can indeed congratulate yourselves! (Applause from the FPÖ benches.)
Ladies and gentlemen, compulsory vaccination in this manner is an act of deprivation of rights. Suddenly, millions of Austrians are downgraded […]. They are no longer independent people, sovereign individuals, but are relegated to the rank of executors, servants, serfs, as would most likely have said Mr. Schallenberg, your infamous predecessor.
With this compulsory vaccination, ladies and gentlemen, the road to totalitarianism is open in Austria. Simply put this is an introduction to sanitary communism. (Deputy Steinacker – ÖVP, Ed.: Parliament is the place of democracy! It is not totalitarian!) It is ironic that, in order to fight against a Chinese virus, we introduced Austria to the Chinese model of society, which is known for many things, but not for freedom and democracy. (Applause on the benches of the FPÖ. – Interruptions by deputies Gabriela Schwarz – ÖVP, Ed. – and Steinacker).
Totalitarianism: what the individual wants no longer matters (Deputy Steinacker: You don’t quite understand!) The only thing that matters is what is good for the masses, and what is good for the masses, in the future will be defined by “coryphae” of the stature of Health Minister Mückstein (Greens, Ed.). They will tell us what is good for the masses, and whoever does not comply with it will be prosecuted as a criminal.
Ladies and gentlemen, this opens up loopholes to dilettantism and arbitrariness and can never receive the approval of the National Liberals. (Applause from the FPÖ benches.)
I tell you very honestly: today, in this place and at this desk, I am ashamed for the deputies of the ÖVP and the Greens, and I am ashamed for the deputies of the NEOS and the social democracy (MP Wöginger – ÖVP, Ed. –: You have nothing to be ashamed of! – other interruptions from the ÖVP), who want to pass all this (applause on the benches of the FPÖ), who want to pass all this in their blindness, regardless of the consequences.
Incidentally, I am also ashamed of those (MP Wöginger: you are ashamed of yourself!) who did not find the courage to defend a dissenting opinion during the vote here in Parliament, and instead prefer staying at home under some fallacious excuse. (MP Steinacker: That’s a big insinuation!)
Ladies and gentlemen, I am also proud – very, very proud! – to be the leader of the national-liberal group in this Assembly, because we are the only ones not participating in this madness; because we do oppose your totalitarian temptations; because we are voting against and thus unreservedly defending the freedom of the Austrian people and, with it, the Constitution and Truth in this country.
(Applause from the FPÖ benches.)
You know, it doesn’t surprise me at all that you should push this negative development up to where we are today, and I’ll tell you why. Think back to December 2020: at the time, the National Liberal Party [FPÖ, Ed.] launched a petition against compulsory vaccination in this country. It was two weeks before you started your staging of the vaccination drama.
We did this because we were alarmed and shocked by the doggedness and bigotry you showed when it came to bringing this vaccination into the public arena as the exclusive means of improving the situation and declaring everything else unacceptable. (MP Gabriela Schwarz: Horse deworming is definitely not allowed!) This alarmed us and made us vigilant.
We told the population: you will see, be careful, this amounts to an obligation to vaccinate. Everything else is just preliminary steps, and at the end of the day there will be on the one hand total power for the federal government and on the other hand total abandonment and total helplessness for the Austrian people. That’s what we said, and that’s why we were denigrated and scorned. (Interruption by MP Meinl-Reisinger – NEOS, Ed.)
This federal government and, with it, of course, the mainstream media as usual, called us liars. Many other things happened as well: The representatives of this federal government swore blind that it would never come to this, that there would be no obligation to vaccinate. I brought you some quotes to refresh – to boost – your memory: Colleague Köstinger [ÖVP, Ed.] in April 2021: “We do not want compulsory vaccination in Austria under any circumstances. (Vice-Chancellor Kogler – Greens, Ed. –: We don’t want that anyway! – MP Gabriela Schwarz: Not at all! Had you participated…!) Mückstein, Health Minister from the Greens: “I’m against compulsory vaccination because I don’t think we’ll achieve through it”
The chairman of the ÖVP Wöginger parliamentary group, here in Parliament: “I insist on one point: there is no obligation to vaccinate in this country, and there never will be”. Your former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, if you still remember him: “We have no vaccination obligation in Austria, and it’s fine as it is.” Constitution Minister Edtstadler: “I categorically exclude any obligation to vaccinate, there won’t be any, it’s up to the people to decide.” Finally, Werner Kogler obviously cannot miss the call: “I exclude compulsory vaccination, indeed I do exclude general compulsory vaccination.” (MP Martin Graf – FPÖ, Ed.. –: That’s incredible!)
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, and now this vaccination obligation is at our doorstep, in a few hours you want to implement it here. I ask you now (interruptions on the benches of the ÖVP): who told untruths and lied to the general population? Who told the truth to the people? (Applause from the FPÖ benches.)
Each of the statements I quoted, and it is far from all of them, is a stab in the heart of your credibility. In the meantime, you’ve been drained of all credibility. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the problem of this federal government, there is nothing left of this credibility after two years of so-called fight against the pandemic.
I understand that the ÖVP and the Greens do not want to talk about it. But that the NEOS and the SPÖ do not notice it, is a little surprising. They now trust those who, in a few hours, will decide with you what they have excluded all year long. You thus trust those who lied to you and are now explaining that all this is necessary (MP Steinacker: Yes, why are we here?), that it is the only way out of the crisis, and so on.
Ladies and gentlemen, you cannot be serious as proud representatives of an opposition party. It seems to me, it’s not possible. Do you really think that people outside the walls of Parliament do not know what is happening now outside the borders of Austria, that they do not know that in Britain the measures are coming to an end (interjection by Mr Obernosterer – ÖVP, ndt.), that Sweden has come through the crisis better than Austria without this torment and this sectarianism towards its own population, dear colleague Wöginger (MP Wöginger: Yes, exactly! Exactly! With the dewormer, right? – Applause on the benches of the FPÖ.)
Do you really think people don’t know that the Czechs are putting an end to their compulsory vaccination plans? This is dangerous epidemiological waste, which will end up in the landfill [of history], ladies and gentlemen, and people are starting to realise that. If you don’t believe me, let me quote the NTV news channel – I hope it’s good enough, I hope it’s not already a fake news propagating channel to your fact checkers – “The omicron wave is huge, but surprisingly harmless. Spain, Great Britain, Denmark and Switzerland already want to treat the virus as a flu”.
It becomes even more interesting for you: the virological figureheads of your camp, Fauci [American virologist, Ed.] and Drosten [German virologist, Ed.], are already turning coats. They are agreeing with those you insulted during these last two years. They tell you: The pandemic is coming to an end, and in the end it will be just another flu.
What does this mean in terms of evidence? – The virus is becoming less and less dangerous, the vaccine less and less effective, and you come at this precise moment with the proposal to introduce compulsory vaccination to Austria. (Applause from the benches of the FPÖ.) Yes, we have to think about it first, ladies and gentlemen. You consider it first: While everyone else is removing the measures, you want to syringe everyone, from 18-year-olds to great-grandmothers. What you are putting in place today is pure madness. (Applause from the FPÖ benches.)
Ladies and gentlemen, I would now like to address the Members of the various parliamentary groups: Dear Green MPs, Mrs Maurer, never say a word again, what am I saying a word, a syllable, in connection with data protection; the game is up for the Greens in this area! (Applause from the FPÖ benches.)
In the future, you should refrain from any criticism with regard to individual targeting under judicial order as part of the fight against isolated criminals or against organized crime, as today you give your consent to a gridding of the territory, in which millions of healthy people find themselves in the cross-hairs of the police and health authorities without any valid cause. I needn’t bother mentioning your position on genetic engineering, there too your credibility is in shambles. Some Greens are going to have another elementary experience today, when they see that they are in reality enemies of freedom and friends of totalitarianism. (Applause from the FPÖ benches.)
Dear SPÖ MPs, if I were you, I would once again think about whether argument to saying the government has failed everything in dealing with the coronavirus is a valid argument. That it has failed everywhere one could fail, and that is why you are now supporting these losers in their greatest failure, namely the establishment of compulsory vaccination! (Applause from the FPÖ benches).
What is this argument? I wouldn’t feel good about it, but it’s in line with your socialist leader in Vienna, who now wants unvaccinated people to lose their jobs. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is the new line of social democracy: the destruction of jobs and prosperity instead of the protection of this country’s workforce. People need to know.
To the [liberal] NEOS party: Mrs Meinl-Reisinger, your program says it all: “When in doubt, freedom” – beautifully formulated! Yes, have you no doubts? Do you have any doubts about everything that is being put in place? I am convinced otherwise. What I can believe is that you are willing to sacrifice freedom to please the powerful few. That I can believe. (Applause from the benches of the FPÖ. – MP Meinl-Reisinger puts her hands in front of her face and shakes her head).
One can do that, Mrs Meinl-Reisinger, we can also do that. But at the same time, pretending to be the president of a liberal party, that you can no longer do. That is no longer possible. (Applause from the benches of the FPÖ.) Read Sir Karl Popper [Austro-British philosopher, Ed.] on “The open society and its enemies”! I think it would be really enlightening for you. (MP Meinl-Reisinger: Exactly…!)
And with regard to the ÖVP MPs: perhaps you will consider once again your interpretation of the Christian principle to love thy neighbour (MP Wöginger: You cannot judge, you have no Christian love!) as you drive millions of people to despair, plunging them into worry and fear, criminalising them or making them second-class citizens, simply because some of your leaders want to keep dancing around the golden calf of control, money and power. Think on it in the time you have left!
(Applause from the FPÖ benches.)
I’m afraid it’s all for nothing. I’m afraid it’s all for naught, I’m afraid you’ll have a majority in this vote today. (MP Steinacker: Democracy is not to be feared!) “Success in this vote” – in quotation marks – will not, however, make you happy, I tell you. Simply because true satisfaction and happiness can never be when built on the suffering and lack of freedom of millions of people! A peek into history books will teach you that, and you will feel it yourself in your own flesh, I predict it to you today. (Cries on the benches of the ÖVP: what does that mean?)
We National Liberals remain in the minority here today, but only here, because outside in the meantime, among the people who are unhappy with your measures (MP Wöginger: Hitler once said something similar!), we have had the majority for a long time, and this majority increases every day. (Applause on the benches of the FPÖ – Interruptions on those of the ÖVP).
I must also tell you this: with these people – it is a promise that I am making here – we will in any case cause the downfall of the vaccination obligation (interjection of MP Wöginger), using your own bureaucracy – you will once again be astonished! We will bring it down by appealing to the courts of all instances, and not only in Austria! (MP Steinacker: It’s a democracy! It’s a rule of law!) And above all we will bring them down through democratic elections. (Deputy Wöginger: “Bring it down”?!) – Yes, as a the do-gooders of today, you will not escape your just punishment tomorrow, you will not succeed neither morally nor legally, nor politically, and you can believe me on one point: unlike you, I am used to keeping my promises – including, by the way, that of continuing not to be vaccinated, of course (laughter on the benches of the ÖVP, the Greens and the NEOS), even if you want to force it upon me, as you intend to do to millions of Austrians. (Long applause on the benches of the FPÖ. – Interruption by MP Wöginger).
Source: Austrian National Council.