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Waleed Aly unleashes at ‘privileged’ tradies causing chaos in Melbourne anti-vaxx protests

Waleed Aly has pushed back against claims that Melbourne’s out-of-control anti-vaxxer protests are mostly ‘fake tradies’, saying union bosses are not telling the ‘whole story’ about the ‘privileged and recalcitrant’ construction sector. 

For two days violent demonstrations have erupted on the streets of Victoria’s capital with up to 2000 angry building workers marching through the CBD where protesters clashed with police, damaged property and assaulted reporters.

Union bosses have repeatedly stated the vast majority taking part in the chaotic rallies to oppose mandatory Covid vaccinations on work sites are ‘far-right extremists and conspiracy theorists’ who have little to do with the construction industry.

The Project host asked Australian Council of Trade Unions Secretary Sally McManus if there’s a deeper problem within the within the building sector, which has largely been allowed to keep operating during lockdowns while other industries were forced to close.

For two days violent demonstrations have erupted on the streets of Victoria’s capital with up to 2000 angry building workers marching through the CBD where protesters clashed with police, damaged property and assaulted reporters

Union bosses have repeatedly stated the vast majority taking part in the chaotic rallies to oppose mandatory Covid vaccinations on work sites are 'far-right extremists and conspiracy theorists' who have little to do with the construction industry

Union bosses have repeatedly stated the vast majority taking part in the chaotic rallies to oppose mandatory Covid vaccinations on work sites are ‘far-right extremists and conspiracy theorists’ who have little to do with the construction industry

‘The whole attitude seems weird,’ Aly remarked.

‘You have this protest that emerges out of nowhere because tea rooms are being shut down which doesn’t seem to acknowledge that there is a huge amount of privilege that the construction industry has enjoyed just by being allowed to stay open.’ 

Ms McManus acknowledged that the union leaders had been ‘worried’ about the issue of anti-vaxx conspiracy theories since the beginning of the year, estimating about 10 per cent of the work force are vaccine hesitant.

‘There’s been an active targeting of unions (by conspiracy theory groups) and what that has done is increased the number of people who are hesitant about the vaccine,’ she said.

‘We have been really focused on those people. We do not want them caught up with the anti-vaxxers and as a result leaving themselves exposed to this deadly virus.’

Federal member for Maribyrnong and former Australian Workers’ Union boss Bill Shorten told the Today show the rowdy mob is just a ‘Nazi rent-a-crowd’ who got themselves a $2 hi-viz hoody from the ‘Reject Shop’.

Waleed Aly (left) has pushed back against ACTU Secretary Sally McManus' (right) claims that Melbourne 's out-of-control anti-vaxxer protests are mostly 'fake tradies'

Waleed Aly (left) has pushed back against ACTU Secretary Sally McManus’ (right) claims that Melbourne ‘s out-of-control anti-vaxxer protests are mostly ‘fake tradies’

Ms McManus acknowledged that the union leaders had been 'worried' about the issue of anti-vaxx conspiracy theories since the beginning of the year, estimating about 10 per cent of the work force is vaccine hesitant

Ms McManus acknowledged that the union leaders had been ‘worried’ about the issue of anti-vaxx conspiracy theories since the beginning of the year, estimating about 10 per cent of the work force is vaccine hesitant

Pictured: Police line up on the West Gate Bridge as violent anti-vaxx protesters approach

Pictured: Police line up on the West Gate Bridge as violent anti-vaxx protesters approach

CFMEU boss John Setka also labelled the majority of protesters ‘man-baby Nazis’.  

Aly said it’s clear there has been some infiltration, ‘but it’s equally clearly that’s not the whole story.’ 

Of the state’s 6000 active Covid cases, 403 are directly linked to 186 construction sites – with health officials fearing the industry is not taking the deadly virus seriously. 

‘We (the entertainment industry) are an industry that is allowed to stay open, but the attitude in a place like this seems totally different to the things we are seeing in the construction industry,’ Aly said. 

‘There are quite a lot of industries open with Covid-safe plans but the level of transmission and the compliance issues that the Victorian Government have identified simply aren’t being identified in these other places.

‘What is it particularly that makes the construction industry so recalcitrant on this?’

CFMEU boss John Setka also labelled the majority of protesters 'man-baby Nazis'

CFMEU boss John Setka also labelled the majority of protesters ‘man-baby Nazis’

Ms McManus fended off the question by noting many other workplaces like Warehouses and aged-care facilities have also seen high rates of infection. 

‘I think, too, the further you get away from health care settings the more people can switch themselves off or not confront the reality that this virus is a dangerous, deadly one and maybe that has a bit of an impact as well,’ she said.

The union boss also explained why a recent ban on tea rooms, in an attempt to stop the virus spreading on worksites has been met with such fury. 

‘Culturally for the construction industry, they had to fight for ages to get lunch rooms and then all of a sudden you turn up one day and you can’t use your lunch room. 

‘They are already at 25 per cent capacity (under Covid restrictions), already have the social distancing, et cetera, et cetera.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk