6 min 11 mths

The don of CFMMEU Victoria, John Setka, has dismissed the worker uprising in Melbourne as a Nazi plot blaming anti-vaxxers and right-wing infiltrators for two days of protests.

Hundreds of construction workers stormed the CFMMEU HQ yesterday, protesting compulsory vaccination for the industry, rattling the union chief and Labor bosses. Riot police responded with rubber bullets and tear gas as the top Victorian unionist and his minders were showered in bottles and forced to retreat inside the building.

Today, thousands of ticked-off tradies again took to city streets to confront Setka, resulting in violent clashes with police. However, rather than acknowledging the grievances of its members, Setka claims that neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists are responsible for the chaos.

In a statement released yesterday, CFMMEU national secretary Dave Noonan said, “The CFMMEU condemns in the strongest possible terms the attack on the CFMEU Victorian Branch office and the mindless acts of violence perpetrated by members of the mob. This crowd was heavily infiltrated by neo-Nazis and other right wing [sic] extremist groups and it is clear that a minority of those who participated were actual union members.”

New Australian Bulletin today contacted CFMMEU representative John Kelly for comment. Specifically, we asked how the union made their determination.

“That’s just knowledge of who was there and who wasn’t there,” he said. When we questioned whether that meant they were aware of particular faces, he replied, “I’m not saying that.” He then refused to answer any more questions.

Despite the lack of clarity around the claims, in an echo of the liberal American media ascribing all evils to white supremacists and Trump supporters, national media are repeating union claims without substantiation.

Construction workers are aggrieved that the union has buckled to pressure from the State Government to enforce vaccine passports in a no-jab no-job regime on construction sites. The bans on non-vaccinated workers will extend to tea rooms and assembly areas.

Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday reacted tempestuously by shutting down the construction industry for a fortnight. Australia First President, Jim Saleam, described the move as akin to imposing martial law on the workers. The shutdown has endangered the welfare of blue-collar workers already reeling from the frenzy of lockdowns unleashed by the authoritarian leader. The federal government has accused the workers of causing the shutdown and demanded Labor refuse donations from the militant union chiefs.

The vexed question of compulsory vaccine passports has triggered a wave of protests around the country, with Melbourne witnessing the fiercest scenes. On Saturday, ordinary Melburnians protested in their thousands, again clashing with riot police.

Following the uprising yesterday, that number of defiant tradies turned out, sending a loud message to the union chiefs and the Premier. Protesters lit flares and threw bottles, one hitting a 7 News reporter. They chanted “fuck Dan Andrews” and “fuck the jab” as Police tensely shadowed the demonstrators with their shields and CS super soakers. The confrontation continued over several hours as protestors roamed the city in a loop before returning to the CFMMEU HQ. At one point, the aggrieved workers scaled the West Gate Bridge, shutting down traffic.

Premier Andrews and Police Chief Shane Patton continued to blame the construction workers for the civil unrest, disregarding the overstated government response to the virus and the bullying tactics used by the police to enforce its relentless lockdowns. Meanwhile, the media is intent on ministering the politics of COVID-19 rather than its science. The media is labelling protesters as ‘anti-vax tradies’ and other derogatory terms instead of recognising them as taxpaying citizens.

The tone-deafness appears to be everywhere except the common folk [sic]. Politicians, media, and inner-city elites are united in a Woke alliance, trusting the assessment by the government of the virus and its hardnosed response. They willingly submit to vaccines, processing and the limitations on their freedom.

The Left especially has reacted viciously to the protesters but more so to the construction workers. They seem pleased the country is dividing between the vaxxed and unvaxxed. Their antipathy for the unvaxxed has culminated in a puritan rage against the tradies. It is as though the workers have betrayed them.

Federal Labor leader, Bill Shorten, told Today that the protesting workers are, “…a network of hard-right man-baby Nazis. Just people who just want to cause trouble, these man-babies, they want to complain about the vaccination, and it’s just – they deserve to get the full force of everything that’s coming their way.”

The blithe refusal of the elites to heed the dissatisfaction of so many is akin to imperiousness. The denial by Setka and the Federal Labor leader of their historic constituents is baffling. How could they not hear the bell that tolls for them?

The workers are awake to the union leadership and how they allow members to be the useful idiots of the Labor party. With such an impact that compulsory vaccinations would cause, it is as though Setka already agreed to visa labour.

We talked to a fully vaccinated construction worker from Melbourne who did not attend the protests. We were interested in his view since he is not affected by the jab.

“I agree with the principle,” Doug said. “But like most tradies, I hate the union and think they are a bunch of thieving parasites who pretend to have power when they have none.”