The CPA Central Committee expresses its sympathy to the many working people and the broader community suffering in the wake of the COVID Delta strain which is gaining ascendency across large parts of the country and the world. We share our sincere condolences to the families and friends of innocent and needless victims of the COVID-19. It has been consistently demonstrated that capitalism has been unable to deal with the health crisis in the interest of the people.
It is clear from the identified paths of transmission that a large part of the Delta spread is related to conditions at work for working people and the need for essential services to continue, and the corporate profits that flow from them. This link to profits has obscured who and what jobs are essential.
It has become apparent that vaccinating the vast majority of the population, including children, is one of the most effective ways of dealing with the impact of this virus. The nature and spread of this virus strain demonstrate that working people and the way they work needs serious attention regardless of each worker’s vaccination status.
The current situation requires a significant and planned workplace response that deals with all aspects of social distancing, hygiene and guaranteed provision of full PPE as well as individual workplace controls to mitigate spread of the virus. Unions must be allowed to play a leading social role in this area and be given the legal rights to fully represent workers under what is a workplace health and safety issue. The best and most effective outcomes should be mandated across the community and enforced through national and state safety regulators.
One of the main issues for workers during the pandemic is paid leave while sick. The CPA demands workers affected by the virus receive their full wage. This should be mandated through a legislated COVID Sick leave scheme underwritten by government for all workers impacted by COVID including casual workers. This would include testing, isolation, illness, quarantine and recovery.
The CPA puts forward the following policy positions as the basis of more effectively managing the crisis without the brunt being worn by working people and the community.
A legislated COVID sick leave scheme underwritten by government for all workers impacted by COVID including casual workers. This would include:
- Testing, isolation, illness, quarantine and recovery.
- Social security for all unemployed workers, stood down workers and social welfare recipients. Increase the dole to $800 per week and minimum wages accordingly.
- Abolition of social security debt recovery.
- A Nationwide moratorium on housing evictions, rent, mortgage and any loan repayments. There should be no profit-making during the pandemic.
- A National moratorium on utilities, internet payments and disconnections.
- Redirect funding from the military budget and private healthcare system towards the public health system.
- Public hospitals and construction of fully equipped COVID hospitals and quarantine centres. Private hospitals to be converted to the public system.
Australia must support the removal of vaccine patents and allow technology transfer to massively increase cheaper and more accessible vaccines to poorer countries. We denounce the hoarding of vaccines by rich nations.
Australia should immediately move to nationalise vital medical science and technology including the CSL so we can produce enough vaccines for Australia and regional countries.
The Communist Party of Australia strongly opposes the employer drive for compulsory vaccination as an industrial weapon. We condemn the attempt to distract from the need for vaccine choice and immediate vaccination rights for all with more choice of vaccines made available from the international market.