What appalling scenes we’ve witnessed recently in Melbourne: its streets engulfed by protestors marching to who knows where, or why. Do they?
The Westgate Freeway, the major arterial to the Western suburbs, was blocked and traffic disrupted by marchers plodding to the other side. Then where? Who knows what their purpose was?
What precipitated all this? Lockdowns, bans on the unvaccinated working in some situations, no option to decline vaccination, no possibility of refusing the wearing of masks even when mandated, punitive moves against the construction industry, and who knows what else. Whatever the reason though, it was hijacked by extremists hellbent on causing mayhem. And in the process, sites sacred to so many people, notably the Shrine of Remembrance, were desecrated by the protestors, even to the extent of urinating on it.
The protesters are said to be angry because of a three-week prophylactic lockdown of the construction industry to limit the spread of COVID, but anti-vaccination advocates, right-wing extremists, fascists, and neo-Nazis hijacked the event. Union officials insisted that these people had nothing to do with the union movement, and that they were ‘blow-ins’ using the occasion to advance their right-wing agenda. Attacks on the CFMEU headquarters affirm this.
This is what Premier Dan Andrews actually said:
Due to continued concern about case numbers, transmission risk and reduced compliance, construction will shut down in metropolitan Melbourne and other Local Government Areas currently in lockdown for two weeks from 11.59pm, Monday 20 September.
Recently, we have seen multiple outbreaks linked to construction. Construction workers are a mobile workforce who may work across multiple sites and travel longer distances to work than other permitted workers. Concerns have also been raised, and remain, about the sector’s compliance with public health measures and directions.
Also concerning is the transmission risk and geographic spread of construction cases, which led to a number of important public health measures including preventing workers crossing the regional/metropolitan border – but more action is required to stop the spread.
The immediate shut down action is being taken to reduce movement, minimise transmission and allow for the entire industry to appropriately adapt to the Chief Health Officer Directions, including increasing vaccination rates.
Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?
But reasonableness was not on the disrupters’ agenda. Fomenting fear and loathing was. Need I say any more?