Following Rebel News’ earlier article, the first of two planned truckie protests against Covid health orders went ahead this morning.
Several trucks blocked the southbound side of the M1 in the area near Reedy, Creek South of Brisbane, at 6am on Monday morning.
Frustrated truck drivers decided to stage the unsanctioned protest in response to demands by the Queensland government to mandate vaccination for all drivers crossing the border.
Some reports have incorrectly labelled the Australian truckies involved as ‘anti-vaxxers’. A large banner held up at the protest read, ‘Pro choice, not anti-vax’ reflecting the view of those organising the protest that Covid vaccination must be voluntary.
The truckies made it clear that they are protesting mandatory vaccination and vaccine passports. They believe that truck drivers deserve genuine free choice when it comes to vaccination and should not lose their job if they decline. Others want their kids to go back to school and have the lockdowns lifted.
Truck drivers gathered with a group of supporters, including One Nation senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts.
Support on the ground was strong for the #IStandWithTruckies protest, with cars tooting in sympathy for their plight, even though they had been caught up in the protest.
Senator Malcolm Roberts spoke to Rebel News this morning.
“There’s nothing that hasn’t been on a truck in or society. Trucks are vital and truckies achieved their objective today in showing that the country needs truckies to be working freely for our society to function. We support the truckies – they made their point,” said Senator Malcolm Roberts.
Police asked the drivers to move on. Tow trucks were called, but the protest disbanded when it was discovered that a horse trailer was caught up in the blockade. By 7:30am, the highway was clear.
When the Federal Minister for Employment, Stuart Robert, was asked if he had any sympathy for truck drivers taking a stand against mandatory vaccination, vaccine passports, and lockdowns, he appeared hesitant.
“Yeah, a little bit,” said Robert, “but this is not the way we pour it out. I get the issue where public good meets personal liberty, however, truckies are important. If you want to make a point – great – make that point but don’t inconvenience thousands and thousands of people.”
Mandatory vaccination has long been considered the sticking point for truck drivers. The industry has endured heavy regulation through the pandemic without complaint, but many draw the line at forced vaccination.
According to those in the trucking industry, vaccine take-up rates are lower within the trucking community than other industries. Demands made by state governments are likely to upset a lot of drivers, even those who have not been financially impacted by the lockdowns.
Despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison insisting at the beginning of August that a ‘no-jab-no-job’ policy will not be pursued, state governments have threatened those who fail to comply with vaccination with the loss of their jobs.
The Covid health orders for truck drivers attempting to come into Queensland are clear; no-jab-no-drive.
Australians have put up with nearly two years of Covid health orders which have shocked the world with their severity and duration.
A second protest is planned for tomorrow which promises to be bigger than the first, according to a message posted in the Road Warrior News.
Australia’s “Truckies” (slang for truckers) are organizing an illegal wildcat strike for Tuesday, August 31st to protest COVID lockdown measures, police brutality and governance which is appalling in their view. Reports from organizers on the ground supported by video postings indicate that the Truckies will be joined by thousands of ANZACs,” claims Road Warrior News.
The original reason the Truckies organized the August 31 protest was because Australian public health officials demanded highway truck stops be closed as a COVID-19 measure. Truckies were not allowed to stop for food, fuel, or to use washrooms or showers. Police rescinded this measure relatively quickly and the highway stops have been re-opened for Truckies only (members of the public are not allowed). However, momentum for the August 31 protest has continued to build and the protests have morphed into anti-COVID lockdown, anti-police brutality, and anti-government events.
Meanwhile, the government has inconvenienced millions of Australians with Covid health orders which have seen them locked in their homes for months, living under curfews, and forced to allow the government to follow their movement via tracing apps.
Independent protests within the trucking community are difficult to stage. The large protest last Friday was a Union-sanctioned protest over a pay dispute with Toll that went ahead without the media attacking them for ‘acts of selfishness’.
When truck drivers who have lost their business and autonomy over their body stage a protest on their own, they are shouted down by the industry and left without Union support.
While it is true that some sections of the industry increased their profits and workloads during the pandemic, many small and independent drivers have lost everything. It is a similar situation to the retail landscape where Coles and Woolworths thrive in their status as essential services, but small businesses fall into bankruptcy.