‘Fake unions’: New associations ride jab mandate fears to get members

  • Published October 1, 2021

Sydney Morning Herald, October 1 2021

A set of “fake unions” with links to current and former Liberal and National party figures are capitalising on anti-vaccination fears to recruit doctors, teachers and nurses and exploit dissent within the labour movement about mandatory vaccinations.

Queensland-based Red Union claims nurses from Victoria and NSW are flocking to join its associations, which it says are adding more than 200 members a day amid fears of vaccination orders. In NSW, Liberal Party member John Larter is setting up three workers’ associations to compete with established unions for allied health, policing and paramedics.

Mr Larter, a paramedic who was suspended from work after expressing views on vaccination and the pandemic, argues existing unions have abandoned their members by not fighting against public health vaccination orders designed to keep Australians safe from the coronavirus.

None of the new associations challenging vaccination rates are registered as traditional trade unions, which means they lack the same powers to represent workers but they avoid strict oversight from industrial regulators.
The Queensland associations, which operate under the umbrella organisation Red Union Support Hub, began with the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland in 2014. Several of its leaders have previously held positions within the LNP or been members of the party.

Two of the associations, for nurses and doctors, have started a fundraiser online to fund legal challenges to vaccine mandates that has taken in more than $26,000 in donations.

“We are opposed to the mandate for the COVID-19 vaccinations and believe that nurses are medical professionals and are far more capable than politicians, bureaucrats, and so-called public health officials of making informed medical decisions relating to their own bodies and how they will protect their patients,” the Red Union-run fundraiser says.