Waleed Aly unleashes ‘privileged’ traditions wreaking havoc at Melbourne anti-vaxx protests – as he questions unions who insist ‘neo-azi’ rioters aren’t really in the construction business
Waleed Aly has resisted claims that Melbourne’s runaway anti-vaxxer protests are mostly ‘fake traditions’, saying union bosses aren’t telling the ‘whole story’ about the ‘privileged and recalcitrant’ construction industry.
Violent demonstrations erupted in the streets of Victoria’s capital for two days, with up to 2,000 angry construction workers marching through the CBD, where protesters clashed with police, damaged property and attacked reporters.
Union bosses have repeatedly stated that the vast majority taking part in the chaotic demonstrations to oppose mandatory Covid vaccinations in workplaces are “far-right extremists and conspiracy theorists” who have little to do with the construction industry.
The project’s host asked the secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Sally McManus, if there is a deeper problem within the construction industry, which has largely been allowed to continue operating during lockdowns while other industries have been forced to close.
Violent demonstrations erupted in the streets of Victoria’s capital for two days, with up to 2,000 angry construction workers marching through the CBD, where protesters clashed with police, damaged property and attacked reporters
Union bosses have repeatedly stated that the vast majority taking part in the chaotic demonstrations to oppose mandatory Covid vaccinations in workplaces are “far-right extremists and conspiracy theorists” who have little to do with the construction industry
“The whole attitude seems weird,” Aly commented.
“You’ve got this protest that comes out of nowhere because tea rooms are closing, which don’t seem to recognize that the construction industry has enjoyed a huge privilege of just being allowed to stay open.”
Ms. McManus acknowledged that union leaders had been “concerned” about the issue of anti-vaxx conspiracy theories since the beginning of the year, with an estimated 10 percent of the workforce hesitant to get vaccinated.
“There has been an active attack on unions (by conspiracy theory groups) and what that has done is increase the number of people who are hesitant about the vaccine,” she said.
“We really focused on those people. We don’t want them to catch up with the anti-vaxxers and expose themselves to this deadly virus.”
Federal member of Maribyrnong and former Australian Workers’ Union boss Bill Shorten told the Today show that the group is a “Nazi rent-a-crowd” who received a $2 hi-viz hoody from the ” Reject Shop’.
Waleed Aly (left) has backed off ACTU Secretary Sally McManus (right) claims that Melbourne’s runaway anti-vaxxer protests are mostly ‘fake traditions’
CFMEU boss John Setka also labeled the majority of protesters as “man-baby Nazis.”
Aly said it’s clear there has been some infiltration, “but it’s equally clear that’s not the whole story.”
Of the state’s 6,000 active Covid cases, 403 have been directly linked to 186 construction sites – with health officials fearing the industry is not taking the deadly virus seriously.
‘There is something special about the construction industry,’ he asked.
“There are quite a few industries open with Covid safe plans, but the level of transmission and compliance issues identified by the Victorian Government are simply not identified in these other places.
‘What is it in particular that the construction industry reacts so recalcitrantly to this?’
Ms. McManus shrugged off the question by noting that many other workplaces, such as warehouses and aged care facilities, have also had high rates of contamination.
“I also think that the further you move away from healthcare facilities, the more people can turn themselves off or not face the reality that this virus is a dangerous, deadly one and maybe that has a bit of an impact too,” she says. said.
The union leader also explained why a recent ban on tea rooms, in an effort to stop the spread of the virus in workplaces, has been received so furiously.
‘Culturally speaking for the construction sector, they had to fight for centuries to get lunchrooms and then one day you suddenly find yourself standing and you can’t use your lunchroom.
“They’re already at 25 percent capacity (under Covid restrictions), already have social distancing, and so on and so forth.”