Australia is experiencing one of the world’s fastest increases in COVID-19 cases with more infections in the first six days of 2022 than in the previous two years combined. There are well over 600,000 confirmed active cases, but with testing positivity rates exceeding 25 percent in most jurisdictions, the real number could already be in the millions.
The explosion of infections is a direct outcome of the profit-driven “herd immunity” policies implemented by state and federal governments, Labor and Liberal-National Coalition alike, who agreed last year to let the highly infectious Omicron variant rip through the community.
Electoral members of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) spoke to the WSWS voicing their outrage over the current outbreak in Australia and support for the Global Workers’ Inquest into the COVID-19 Pandemic. The inquest, which is already underway, will thoroughly investigate the origins, causes and consequences of the pandemic and expose the political and economic forces responsible for allowing COVID’s uncontrolled transmission.
The following interviews are part of the campaign launched by the SEP against anti-democratic electoral laws rushed through the Australian parliament on August 26, 2021. The laws threaten dozens of parties, including the SEP, with deregistration. Their purpose is to prevent mounting opposition to the major parties, including hostility to bipartisan reopening policies that put lives before profit, from finding a left-wing and socialist expression.
Support the SEP’s campaign against the legislation and sign up as an electoral member today.
Amanda, an educator from Melbourne, said: “The WSWS has, from the very beginning of the pandemic, accurately warned about and predicted the dangers presented by COVID-19 and the horrendous policies of governments across the world. It has consistently provided accurate data and analysis and provided an alternative to save lives, that is why I strongly support the global worker’s inquest into the pandemic.
“The WSWS is shining a light on the murderous policies of governments across the world which have resulted in unprecedented and unnecessary death and suffering. The inquest will also hear the voices of ordinary people who are suffering the most,” she said.
“Governments have deliberately concealed the truth about COVID and the true extent of what has happened in order to sell the very dangerous ‘herd immunity’ policy’ now adopted by most countries. We have hit the most dangerous point of the pandemic so far. The inquest will provide analysis and a way forward.
“We cannot sit back and follow the advice of our governments that have consistently shown over the past two years that their only focus is bolstering the wealth of a few as directed by big business. It is certainly not about the health and wellbeing of citizens,” she stated.
Colleen, an electoral member from Shepparton, a regional centre outside Melbourne, said: “The ruling elite have climbed a dangerous platform by clearly stating that the working class is expendable. It is deceitfully twisting and hiding data, intimating that the pandemic is over, and removing life-saving scientific measures, including essential masks.
“They refuse to acknowledge the virus is spread by aerosol, not droplet, to justify not providing adequate school and workplace ventilation. Governments are forcing parents to send their children in to contract a virus that maims and causes death for the sake of corporate profit even as cases soar, overwhelming our underfunded hospital systems.
“Scientists have stated that millions of past and future deaths could be prevented by a total world-wide shutdown of two to three months. They have warned that vaccines alone and herd-immunity policies will not work. This has been proven by countries and individual states that have followed policies of elimination. It can be done but it is ignored for the base reason of profit before life.
“I applaud the inquest initiated by the WSWS and the Socialist Equality Party which aims to establish the truth about what can only be described as corporate murder,” Colleen said.
Michael is an electoral member in New South Wales and a carer for a family member. “I think the rapid case rise has shattered any illusion that Australia is a world leader in handling the pandemic,” he said.
“The biggest thing [about the WSWS coverage] for me was hearing that the pandemic could have been stopped in 2020, if it had been handled properly. Instead, it’s been carried over into the third year. Whilst the official death toll is 5 million, it’s probably closer to 15 to 20 million. This shows that the capitalist system is literally incompatible with human welfare and human life.
“I want to commend the ICFI and SEP for the work they’re doing. The media blatantly lies that eradication is unfeasible. This is untrue. The ICFI and the SEP is the only organisation that is offering workers a way out of the pandemic.
“I’ve been an electoral member of the SEP for eight years, since 2014. During this time the SEP has never steered me or workers in the wrong direction regarding war or the pandemic. The SEP, which publishes the WSWS, tears apart the lies we see in the corporate media,” he said.
Alex, an electoral member and young worker, said, “The increase in case numbers in Sydney is terrifying. It’s completely overwhelming to see the numbers doubling every morning. It feels like you are completely on your own. A lot of us now know people personally, or from social media, who have caught COVID, so it’s much closer to home. Before it was rare to know someone who had been infected.
“People I know who have tested positive have been completely left alone. There was no support. They weren’t brought any groceries or supplies and didn’t even get a phone call from NSW Health for about four days,” he said.
“Two people we know of tested positive at my work alone. I say that because it took so long to get tested. A friend of mine on a contract told his employer that he didn’t feel comfortable going into the city with the latest outbreak and wanted to work from home, as he had done during the lockdown. They refused and fired him. His work is mostly admin based, so it’s entirely possible to be done at home,” Alex said.
“It’s eye-opening to see how China has dealt with this pandemic and how they have been able to contain it. NSW Health recently did a Facebook post asking, ‘Can we eradicate covid?’ and their answer was basically, ‘No, we can’t.’ This is an outright lie! We know we can, but they don’t want to, that is the difference.
“Ultimately the way to eradicate COVID is with people uniting and accepting the science now emerging from the studies being done and with China as an example, not as an ideal government system, but as part of cooperative effort. This is a virus and the way we fight viruses is with science,” Alex said.