Coronavirus

Left opposition to pandemic powers needed to undermine right-wing ‘freedom’ protests

The right-wing “freedom rallies” last weekend are a worrying development. But counter-demonstrations that simply label the protesters as fascists are counter-productive.

Nurse speaks out: ‘Hospital staff are sick of working understaffed’

Damien Davis-Frank works as a nurse in the emergency department at St Vincent’s hospital in Sydney and is the Vice-President of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association branch there. He spoke to Solidarity about the impact on hospitals of Sydney’s recent COVID outbreak and why the strain on the health system is not over.

Effort to vaccinate the world failing with rich countries still hoarding doses

As rich countries begin delivering booster shots, 98 per cent of people living in poor countries remain unvaccinated against COVID-19.

Stop Andrews’ pandemic power grab

The Victorian government has proposed legislation to cover the management of pandemics. It would enshrine the authoritarian response that has characterised the state’s handling of COVID-19.

‘People should be taken through the journey and educated about vaccination’

Celeste Liddle is an Arrente woman, a union activist, social commentator and The Greens candidate for the federal seat of Cooper in Melbourne. She spoke to David Glanz for Solidarity’s podcast The Sound of Solidarity recently. Here is a part of that interview.

Greek health workers strike to defend jobs against vaccine mandate

Health workers in Greece are fighting government efforts to sack unvaccinated workers due to a mandatory vaccination rule in hospitals.

‘Don’t scab, get the jab’—a slogan no unionist should use

Unions have rightly been encouraging members to get vaccinated. But the idea that people unsure about getting a jab are all “anti-union” or “scabs” is wrong.

Vilifying CFMEU protesters will only build the right

The leadership of the Victorian CFMEU and the ACTU, along with most of the left, have condemned the protesters at the Victorian CFMEU office last week as everything from “drunken morons” to “right-wing extremists” and “neo-Nazis”.

NTEU committee pushes back on employer vaccine mandate

The branch committee of the National Tertiary Education Union at the University of Melbourne yesterday called on their employer to hold off on a vaccine mandate and to discuss COVID safety with union members.

Protest at CFMEU office shows why vaccine mandates are a disaster

The anger from workers at yesterday’s protest over mandatory vaccination outside the CFMEU Melbourne offices has shocked and bewildered many unionists.

Editorial: Reopening can’t mean return to business as usual—fight for safe workplaces and hospitals...

Both Melbourne and Sydney have announced that lockdowns will end when 70 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated—predicted to be 18 October for NSW, and 26 October for Victoria.

Stopwork action shows how to fight for COVID safety

As NSW begins to ease COVID-19 restrictions, workplace transmission remains a significant threat. But recent stopwork actions provide a glimpse of the type of fight we need for safety at work.

Racism and neglect drives COVID outbreak in Wilcannia

Paddy Gibson from Solidarity spoke with Monica Kerwin, a Barkindji woman and community spokesperson, and Lizzie Jarrett, a Gumbaynggirr, Bundjalung and Dunghutti activist based in Sydney.

Urgent call for prison releases after COVID outbreaks in NSW

Advocates are calling for the release of low-risk inmates from prisons following COVID outbreaks in three NSW jails.

Residents speak out against punitive policing under lockdown from Camperdown to western Sydney

A meeting on the politics of lockdown on Thursday night heard a series of first hand accounts from residents facing authoritarian police controls used as part of Sydney's COVID restrictions.

NSW reopening plan fails on health and workplace safety

The NSW government has released a "roadmap to freedom" for when it reaches the 70 per cent “double-dose” COVID vaccination target.

More action needed to ensure COVID safe return-to-school plan in NSW

The NSW government has announced a staggered return to school from 25 October for those areas of the state in lockdown.

Lockdowns, Delta and a new stage in the pandemic

Sydney's Delta outbreak has dramatically changed the situation with the pandemic in Australia.

Financial support and workplace safety still missing as Delta heads out of control

The Delta outbreak has now infected thousands in Sydney, leaking into rural NSW, Victoria, the Northern Territory and New Zealand.

Poverty, police powers and life under lockdown in Western Sydney

Solidarity spoke to residents of Western Sydney about the police targeting of the area to impose stay at home orders and how people are struggling under lockdown

Vaccine inequality produces surge in deaths across Africa and Asia

With so few vaccinated in the Global South, countries are seeing an appalling—and largely unnecessary—surge of deaths.
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Vaccinations need to be encouraged, not compulsory

Vaccinations save lives. But should employers be able to make vaccinations compulsory for their workers? We argue, No.

Stopwork at Coles warehouse shows companies can’t be trusted to stop COVID’s spread

Companies are still risking workers’ lives by cutting corners over COVID safety through Sydney’s lockdown.

Police crackdown targets unionists’ convoy demanding income support through Sydney lockdown

Police have launched a crackdown against a car and bike protest convoy in Sydney demanding adequate income support payments and improved safety at work.

‘Freedom rallies’ no answer to lockdown woes

The rallies of thousands against lockdown in Sydney, Melbourne and other cities on Saturday show how the pandemic and governments’ responses are driving many people to breaking point.

Morrison’s failures leave workers exposed as new COVID outbreaks spread

Morrison’s failure on support for workers and the vaccine have left Australia dangerously exposed in the face of the new more contagious Delta variant of COVID.

Lack of government support in Sydney lockdown leaves workers desperate

As Sydney’s lockdown stretches into a third week, workers are struggling due to inadequate government support.

Cops swarm Western Sydney as migrant communities scapegoated for virus’ spread

A major police operation is underway in south-west Sydney, as the NSW government looks to scapegoat and punish workers and migrant communities for the current COVID-19 outbreak.

More border controls not the answer to Morrison’s COVID failures

Renewed lockdowns in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and the Northern Territory show that the pandemic is still far from under control.

Liberals’ COVID contempt puts workers’ lives at risk

The fourth Victorian lockdown has highlighted how the Morrison government’s incompetence and negligence is putting millions at greater risk from the COVID pandemic.

Big pharma’s vaccine profits create eight new billionaires

With governments around the world bankrolling the development of COVID vaccines, Big Pharma is expecting big profits this year. But millions of people around the world still can’t get a jab.

Victorian lockdown highlights gaps in public health system

The snap Victorian lockdown in response to a COVID cluster at the Holiday Inn at Melbourne airport marks a further failure of the state’s under-resourced public health system.

Calls for Sydney lockdown ring hollow as outbreak contained

The COVID-19 cluster on Sydney’s Northern Beaches (which spread to Melbourne) and the “leak” of the virus from a Brisbane quarantine hotel is a reminder that the pandemic continues to be a very real threat.

Vaccine hoarding and profiteering compromise rollout

The development of working COVID-19 vaccines within just ten months shows medical research can achieve when there is significant state investment and scientific focus. Previous vaccines have taken ten years on average to develop.

Invasion day protests are right to challenge COVID anti-protest rules

Mass protests planned for Invasion Day on 26 January are shaping up to be a more serious confrontation with anti-protest COVID-19 regulations.

Lessons from Melbourne’s 112-day lockdown

There is now talk of Melbourne’s lockdown as a model for the rest of the world. But this is the wrong lesson.

Right to protest win as hypocritical ban beaten in NSW

In NSW, groups of 500 protesters can now gather outdoors, in a victory for the right to protest.

Unemployment crisis just beginning as economy slumps

Australia is in our worst economic crisis since the 1930s. But the situation is set to get worse.

Race for a vaccine fuels imperialist power play

Across the globe a race is on to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, with the major powers scrambling to ensure supply to get their economies back on track.

Protester facing jail under COVID rules after police attack anti-cuts protest at Sydney Uni

Students and staff protested against plans for massive jobs cuts at the University of Sydney on Wednesday—only to again face a draconian and hypocritical police operation to disrupt and disperse them.

Melbourne needs more support for workers and the health system, not authoritarian controls

Melbourne faces months more of authoritarian lockdown measures, following Daniel Andrews' announcement yesterday

Don’t cheersquad for lockdown—governments and the health failure over COVID-19

We should not promote lockdowns as a response to COVID-19. If governments had taken adequate health measures, they would not be necessary

Aged care disaster exposes understaffing and corporate greed

The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a harsh spotlight on the state of aged care, revealing a system that all too often delivers suffering, isolation and humiliation to the elderly.

Hypocrisy as protests targeted and banned under COVID rules

There has been a concerted attack on the right to protest under the cover of the coronavirus. The Liberals and the Murdoch media have set out to scapegoat protests as somehow responsible for the virus’s spread.

Hand-picked corporate advisers shaping COVID recovery

Scott Morrison has appointed an unelected and secretive group of fossil fuel bosses to advise the government on how to ensure any economic recovery from the pandemic will prioritise profits.

Fighting the second wave—can COVID be kept under control?

Many countries worldwide are facing either a second wave, or a resurgence in infections. Even countries that managed to control the virus initially, such as South Korea, New Zealand and Vietnam, have seen new outbreaks.

Walkouts demand safe workplaces amid Melbourne’s COVID surge

Workers have been forced to take safety into their own hands at a series of workplaces across Melbourne, after their employers refused to take COVID-19 infections on site seriously.

Inspired by Thatcher, Liberals want workers to pay for the COVID crisis

The Liberals want workers to pay for economic recovery through attacks on workplace rights and poverty level payments for the unemployed.

Andrews’ failures produced Melbourne outbreak, not distancing slip-ups

The new wave of infections in Melbourne is the first large-scale community spread of coronavirus Australia has seen.

Trump desperate and dangerous as his COVID death toll grows

Donald Trump is growing desperate as his hopes for re-election fade, following his chaotic blundering over the COVID-19 crisis. He has fallen 15 per...

Authoritarian display in racist lockdown of Melbourne towers

The lockdown imposed on public housing residents in Melbourne is a piece of racist authoritarianism that has to end.

COVID-19 crisis shows childcare should be a public service

The COVID-19 crisis initially threatened the sector with collapse. Government funding for free childcare will end on 12 July, with the sector due to “snap back” to the previous arrangements.

Conspiracy theories don’t explain society’s problems

Recent anti-lockdown protests have given voice to a range of conspiracy theories—the belief that secret networks of powerful individuals rule the world.

Eyewitness from LA: Burning rage engulfs the US in rebellion against racism

The combination of the public health crisis, with the pandemic killing people of colour at the highest rates, the economic misery many face due to lockdowns, and Trump’s catastrophic leadership have created a tinderbox which Floyd’s execution set aflame.

Rebellion against racist cops and a racist system sweeps the US

Night after night of mass protests and riots have swept the US following the brutal murder of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

Higher ed day of action builds confidence to fight

A higher education National Day of Action on 21 May saw university workers mobilise demanding the Morrison government fund the $4.5 billion shortfall across the sector.

The NTEU Framework Agreement is dead—Now we fight the cuts

The withdrawal of the NTEU executive’s proposed National Jobs Protection Framework (NJPF) is very good news.

Marx, ecology and industrial agriculture

British climate activist and socialist Martin Empson writes on why the fight against climate change must be a fight for system change and for socialism

Luck, not Morrison’s management, explains Australia’s control on coronavirus

Australia has avoided a similar coronavirus catastrophe to elsewhere mostly because of geography and luck

Tenants organise to resist landlords and the Liberals in Sydney

Tenants and the newly formed Housing Defence Coalition in Sydney have shown how to fight back.

Editorial: No return to the thirties—fan the flames of resistance

Government and employer demands for pay cuts and sacrifices from workers will only create more misery and deepen the economic crisis.

Mental health crisis but solidarity protests can free the refugees

Just as surely as it happened on Manus and Nauru, the attempted suicides and self-harm incidents are escalating in the hotels and detention centres here.

Why taking wage cuts won’t save jobs

The calls to accept wage cuts or forego wage rises won’t save jobs, they will simply encourage bosses to demand even more concessions, argues David Glanz

Poverty and unemployment surges as coronavirus sweeps Indonesia

Alang, a member of Socialist Unification and the union Sentral Gerakan Buruh Nasional in Indonesia explains the impact of the coronavirus and the economic crisis it has triggered.

Vote No to the NTEU national framework agreement—defend every condition, fight for every job

There needs to be a strong no vote rejecting the national framework the NTEU leadership has announced.

May 1 convoy protest says no to job cuts and attacks on wages through...

Over 150 cars and bikes people joined the May 1 convoy in Sydney today, calling for an end to the efforts to make workers pay the costs of the coronavirus crisis.

Morrison and Trump fuel racism in opportunistic attack on China over COVID-19

Scott Morrison has joined Donald Trump in fuelling anti-Chinese racism, with escalating attacks on China over the COVID-19 outbreak.

Teachers pay the price as COVID-19 exposes school inequality and workload crisis

There can be no talk of a return to “normal” in schools. The COVID-19 crisis has exposed pre-existing inequalities in education.

Editorial: Even amid health crisis, business profits at centre of Morrison’s concerns

Morrison keeps claiming that “We are all in this together”—but he has made it clear that, “business is at the centre of the economy.”

Coronavirus spending—How can governments suddenly fund everything?

The scale of the government spending announced in recent weeks is staggering. Scott Morrison has revealed three huge spending packages totalling $320 billion.

Warehouse walkouts force bosses to put safety before profits

Workers in a number of warehouse distribution centres have won increased safety measures against coronavirus after walking off the job.

Refugees step up detention protests for freedom from infection risk

Refugees in detention centres across the country are continuing their resistance, calling for their immediate release amid the threat of COVID-19 infection.

Pressure builds for action as uni staff face savage cuts

Momentum is growing at universities to take collective action to defend our jobs and conditions.

Virus exposes class inequality of US capitalism

The United States, the world’s richest nation, is struggling to deal with the coronavirus due to decades of government cutbacks and a dysfunctional political system headed by Donald Trump.

Hungary’s government seizes autocratic control

Hungary's government has effectively declared itself a dictatorship under the guise of combating the coronavirus.

Coronavirus and capitalism—Big Pharma’s addiction to profit

As the coronavirus spreads around the world, David Glanz looks at how capitalism and the corporate control of medicine means profit comes before public health

Strikes in a time of pandemic: The 1919 seafarers’ strike

Almost exactly 101 years ago, the first great pandemic of the twentieth century struck Australia. But 1919 was also the year of the biggest strike wave in Australia’s history.

Hutchison wharfies win COVID-19 safety measures

After a ten-day standoff with Hutchison, Sydney wharfies returned to work on Sunday 12 April after winning dramatic safety improvements to manage the risk of coronavirus at work.

Saving capitalism from itself: lessons from Rudd’s GFC stimulus

With the world facing the sharpest economic downturn in the history of capitalism, governments are again turning overnight from neo-liberal budget-balancers to Keynesians on steroids.

Crackdown on protest as refugee activist arrested and others fined over Melbourne cavalcade

On Friday Solidarity's Chris Breen was arrested and charged with "incitement" for helping to organise a car cavalcade protest past the Mantra Hotel in Preston, Melbourne.

Uni staff shouldn’t accept wage cuts for management promises on jobs

Union members at Sydney University have sent a strong message to the NTEU leadership to reject the strategy of accepting cuts to wages and conditions in return for promises of jobs.

Car convoy protests demand wage support for all—#NoWorkerLeftBehind

Unions have pledged to keep fighting for income support for all, holding car convoy protests in Sydney and Melbourne demanding #NoWorkerLeftBehind.

Shocking Hutchison Covid-19 cover-up puts profits before safety on the waterfront

Profits are being put before safety and lives at Hutchison Ports’ Sydney terminal, where two employees have now tested positive for COVID-19.

Coronavirus─the myth that we’re ‘all in it together’

“There are no more unions or bosses. There are just Australians now.” So said Scott Morrison last week.

Protests across Sydney fight for workers’ rights through the COVID-19 crisis

Trade unionists and students took action across Sydney today to defend the livelihoods and health of workers and the community through the COVID-19 crisis.

Editorial: Morrison’s failure to stop the virus the result of a sick system

The coronavirus pandemic could see 150,000 people in Australia die in a “worst case scenario” if it spreads unchecked.

Testing shortage and state of hospitals show Morrison’s failure

Scott Morrison is losing control of the coronavirus outbreak due to lack of testing—and has failed to deliver the enormous expansion in healthcare services needed.

Big pharma’s thirst for profit has held back vaccine research

One reason for the vaccine delay is that the big pharmaceutical companies have been disinterested in developing virus treatments, fearing they won’t be profitable.

Big powers put imperialist rivalries before human lives

Instead of co-operating in the face of humanitarian crisis, Donald Trump and other world leaders are using the coronavirus outbreak to advance their own power and imperialist interests.

Detention is a coronavirus danger—free the refugees now

As the coronavirus spreads, calls are growing louder to free immigration detainees from the detention centres and hotels.

Morrison spends big to bail out business not protect workers

The coronavirus pandemic means the world is facing a major recession. Morrison has announced $189 billion in economic measures—but his focus is overwhelmingly on bailouts for business, not workers.

It’s Morrison to blame for spreading the virus

Morrison and the national cabinet have announced what he called “stage one restrictions” closing cafés, restaurants, pubs, churches and cinemas.

Morrison fails on coronavirus: expand testing, medical services and sick pay now

The spread of the coronavirus has created a global health crisis and precipitated a global economic crisis. Australia’s economy was already stalling and is now almost certainly in recession.

Morrison’s coronavirus travel ban fuels anti-Chinese racism

Following Donald Trump, Scott Morrison’s travel ban on everyone from China who is not an Australian citizen or permanent resident has fuelled the racist response here.

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