Truck drivers across Australia are gearing up to block major highways and disrupt food supplies to protest against Covid-19 lockdowns and vaccine mandates.
The demonstration, to be held on Monday morning at a secret location south of Brisbane, has been organised by furious truckies promising to bring the roadways in the River City to a standstill.
Tony Fulton, a popular Australian truck driver who has legions of fans for his Tones Truckin Stories social media page, has become the latest in the industry to post a video vowing to take part in the protest.
The vaccine sceptic denied the event is a ‘fruitcake rally’ before telling his followers he’s ‘more scared’ of the life-saving vaccine than the virus – which has so far claimed the lives of 4.5 million people across the globe.
‘I’m someone that does a bit of research,’ Mr Fulton claimed.
‘From what I’ve seen from my research with credible scientists and doctors and stuff, I do not want to get this vaccine.
‘I am more scared of the vaccine than the virus. Honestly it scares the living hell out of me.’
Fears about the vaccine have been noticeably absent among those who have issued heartfelt pleas from their hospital beds after being struck down by Covid while unvaccinated.
Of the 126 people with the virus in intensive care in hospitals across New South Wales, only one is fully-vaccinated.
But tensions have flared within the industry over some jurisdictions ordering vaccination requirements for authorised workers who cross state borders.
The divisive issue has reached fever pitch in the transport sector with a growing number of drivers declaring they’re in it for the long haul and will continue the fight even if Monday and Tuesday’s demonstrations fail.
Anti-vax truck driver Tony Fulton (pictured) says he’s ‘more scared’ of the life-saving vaccine than the virus – which has so far claimed the lives of 4.5 million people across the globe
WHY VACCINES ARE IMPORTANT
Immunisation is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases before they come into contact with them.
Immunisation not only protects individuals, but also others in the community, by reducing the spread of preventable diseases.
Research and testing is an essential part of developing safe and effective vaccines.
In Australia, vaccines must pass strict safety testing before the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will register them for use. Approval of vaccines can take up to 10 years.
Before vaccines become available to the public, large clinical trials test them on thousands of people.
High-quality studies over many years have compared the health of large numbers of vaccinated and unvaccinated children. Medical information from nearly 1.5 million children around the world have confirmed that vaccination does not cause autism.
People first became concerned about autism and immunisation after the medical journal The Lancet published a paper in 1998. This paper claimed there was a link between the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. Since then, scientists have completely discredited this paper. The Lancet withdrew it in 2010 and printed an apology. The UK’s General Medical Council struck the author off the medical register for misconduct and dishonesty.
Source: Australian Department of Health
‘I don’t believe that businesses or states and governments should be allowed to force this on you,’ Mr Fulton said of the vaccine.
‘Customers contacted the transport company I work for to say if drivers are not vaccinated they will not be allowed on site.
‘So it actually doesn’t come down to whether you need to be vaccinated to get over the border, it’s actually to load.
‘I will not be getting that vaccine and unfortunately the way that transport works I don’t know what I’m going to do.’
Organisers say controversial One Nation Senators Pauline Hanson’s and Malcolm Roberts will also take part in the protest.
It comes as a separate day of action is also planned for Tuesday with a GoFundMe page set up to financially support truckies when they strike by ‘blocking every highway entering into every state at the same time’ on August 31.
Outraged Australians blasted the ‘selfish’ plot which could leave millions of families in Covid lockdowns across the country without vital goods.
‘How long before the good people of Australia turn against truck drivers for starving their families? Stupid anarchy and terrorism – domestic terrorism,’ one tweeted.
‘How incredibly f**king selfish. Have the disadvantaged, elderly and our farmers not suffered enough over the past few years?’ another wrote.
‘Now a bunch of truck drivers want to strike and cause even more suffering to those who can’t stock up on everything they need.’
Truck drivers across Australia have shared a series of videos (one pictured) warning they plan to ‘shut down the country’ in protest of Covid lockdowns
‘Causing panic buying and food shortages because some bloke is upset by the government? How is that going to help?’ a third added.
‘So the truck driver protest supposedly happening this week is against lockdowns and vaccinations, by and industry that kept their jobs, grown in the last 18 months, and are essential workers who are exempt from lockdown?’ a fourth wrote.
Meanwhile, other truck drivers from around the world praised the planned strike, with some sharing advice on how to carry out the protest smoothly.
In a video posted on Twitter, an America teamster suggested those participating in the rally remove tools from the vehicles to prevent them from being towed.
An American truck driver (pictured) has offered tips to Australian truck drivers on how to carry out the strike without their vehicles being towed
Furious Australians have slammed the plot to shut down logistics operations across the nation
One truck driver said he was happy to receive a Covid jab and would not be going on strike
One person described the plan as an act of ‘terrorism’ in a Twitter post
‘Hey to all my Australian truck drivers, this is just a quick tip,’ he said.
‘If you do want to leave your truck somewhere and you don’t want a wrecker driver to be able to remove it, make sure you go to your air chambers and take the caging bolts home with you.
‘Because there is no way the wrecker drivers that the government calls are going to have thousands of these, and with no supply line on the air chamber – no one is moving that f**king truck.’
From August 30, authorised workers from Covid hotspots cannot leave their LGA for work unless they have received one dose of the vaccine or have a medical certificate.
Similar rules apply for freight workers entering Queensland, while other strict Covid restrictions, such as mandatory testing, govern entry requirements to other states.
Overseas drivers were not the only ones backing the protest, with dozens of anti-lockdown supporters championing truck driver’s cause online.
Some wished them good luck, while others applauded their devotion to ‘freedom’ and rebellion against ‘tyranny’ and Covid vaccines.
An angry convoy of trucks and vans are seen moving over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, in a protest against lockdown in July 2021
But some Australian truck drivers who are against the coordinated demonstration pleaded with their colleagues to reconsider.
One man begged them to consider whether it was ‘hypocritical or heroic’ to protest against lockdowns by pushing their agenda to avoid vaccination.
‘I believe everybody has a choice and I understand your argument but denying your fellow Australians of their right to choose and to work and to eat defeats your whole argument…are you heroes or hypocrites?’ he said.
News of the rally broke on Monday after an Australian truck driver posted a video online warning truck drivers were ‘planning to shut down the country’ to ‘remove the s**t government’.
He said supply chains would soon be interrupted and urged Australians to stock up on groceries to get them through the next couple of weeks.
‘It’s on. The truckies are doing it. The truckies are going to shut down the country,’ the man said in the video.
‘What that means is you need to go shopping now, get what you can for the next week or two, load your fridge, freezers.
‘The truckies are coming and they are going to pull this country down and we are all going to do it together and remove this s**t government.’
The man did not reveal how many truck drivers were involved in the demonstration and the Australian Trucking Association declined to comment when contacted by Daily Mail Australia.
A GoFundMe campaign set up on Monday to raise money for striking truck drivers raised $10,000 of its $200,000 goal before it was deleted. Other similar fundraisers for the same cause have since emerged on the site.
NSW Police said the force was aware of the planned protest and ‘will continue to ensure compliance with the public health orders’.
Victoria Police confirmed they are also aware of the demonstrations and ‘will respond to ensure community safety and compliance of the CHO directions’.
Meanwhile, food and fuel supplies could be affected over the weekend as thousands of truck drivers pull the handbrake in a separate protest over pay conditions with a major employer.
The Transport Union said the dispute over a new enterprise agreement with logistics giant Toll Group will climax with a 24 hour strike on Friday involving as many as 7,000 truckies.
In a bid to compete with global giants like Amazon Flex, the Transport Workers’ Union said Toll was aiming to drive down costs ‘by scrapping overtime entitlements and engaging outside drivers’.
A GoFundMe page was launched to financially support truck drivers as they strike, but has since been deleted
Truck drivers are reportedly planning to ‘block every highway entering into every state’ from 9am on Tuesday
But Toll claimed it had the best EBA in the industry and would continue to do so once negotiations concluded
‘One thing we and the union do agree on, our employees deserve a pay rise,’ it said in a statement.
‘We’ve put a generous offer on the table and are committed to further discussion.’
Much like Uber, Amazon Flex describes it’s model as ‘you use your own vehicle to deliver packages… as a way of earning extra money’.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine had a much less rosy way of describing Amazon’s model, and Toll’s alleged moves to copy it.
‘It is an abomination that billionaire retailers like Amazon are smashing profit records while ripping off transport supply chains and crushing the jobs of the truck drivers who’ve risked the health of their families to deliver parcels and keep shelves stocked,’ he said.
‘Toll workers have been forced to take the last resort option to go on strike this week because their jobs are being smashed.’
In response, Toll said it was ‘disappointed the TWU is threatening industrial action in the middle of a global pandemic’.
‘As one of the country’s biggest transport companies, we are well used to managing disruptions to our operations, from bushfires to floods to a global pandemic,’ Alan Beacham, Global Express division president said.
‘We can assure customers their goods will be transported during any potential industrial action.’
The company said industrial activity risks disrupting medical supplies, but the union said it’s strike action ‘has never and will never disrupt medical supplies or vaccines’.
COVID-19: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
What is Covid-19?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections. These can range from the common cold to more serious diseases.
Covid-19 is a disease caused by a form of coronavirus.
Other coronaviruses include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of Covid-19 can range from mild illness to pneumonia.
Some people will recover easily, and others may get very sick very quickly.
People with coronavirus may experience symptoms such as:
– sore throat
– shortness of breath
Other symptoms can include runny nose, acute blocked nose (congestion), headache, muscle or joint pains, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, loss of sense of smell, altered sense of taste, loss of appetite and fatigue.
To stop the spread of Covid-19 people with even mild symptoms of respiratory infection should get tested.
Source: Department of Health