More than 50,000 Australians want Australian Govt. to stop blocking the TRIPS waiver


By SAT News Desk

SYDNEY, Ahead of the WTO TRIPS Council meeting, a group of civil society organizations including Amnesty International Australia, GetUp!, NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, AFTINET, Public Services International, and the Humanism Project gathered outside the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in Sydney today to hand over more than 50,000 signatures in support of fair access for vaccines for all.

The Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is an international treaty which regulates intellectual property rights.

In October 2020, India, South Africa, Kenya, and Eswatini proposed a temporary waiver on provisions of the TRIPS Agreement due to the ongoing COVID-19 emergency. This waiver would entail the removal of the hefty barriers to research, creation, and supply, which are large obstacles to the ‘prevention, containment, and treatment of COVID-19.

Addressing the gathering Tim O’Connor, Amnesty International Australia Campaigns Manager, said: “Amnesty International is calling on the Australian government to stop blocking the TRIPs waiver and not put big pharma ahead of people. Australia has a vital role to play in the equal access of vaccines, particularly in our region. We want Australia to be the good global citizen when it comes to promoting and defending human rights, especially in the time of COVID-19.”

Dr. Haroon Kasim from The Humanism Project said: “We urge the Australian government to recognize their human rights obligations, recognize the right to health and life for all, stop blocking a consensus decision on TRIPS waiver and support developing states to more readily protect themselves and their citizens from this raging pandemic. The right to health and life should be the most important consideration in these decisions.”


Paul Oosting, GetUp National Director, said: “It’s abhorrent that Australia is one of twelve member states blocking this lifesaving proposal. Over 50,000 people have signed petitions to demand the Morrison Government stand with people and not profits for big pharmaceutical companies. The COVID-19 vaccine waiver is more than just intellectual property – it’s a matter of life and death.”

Others who addressed those gathered were Kate Lee, APHEDA EO, Michael Whaites, Manager – Public Health Organising Team, NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, and Dr. Patricia Ranald, convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network.

Today’s action was supported by Amnesty International Australia, Getup, The Humanist Project, ACTU, AFTINET, PSI, and the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network.

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Unions, Vic. Govt. welcome minimum wage boost, retailers body calls it ‘unsustainable’

ACTU Secy.Sally McManus: 2.3 million workers to get a pay increase because of unions.

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 1 June: The Fair Work Commission to increase the minimum wage by 3.5 percent, increasing the hourly rate to $18.93 has been welcomed by the Victoria Government and unions. But the Master Grocers Australia (MGA), has called the wage increase ‘unsustainable’.

Minister for Industrial Relations Natalie Hutchins says, “I welcome today’s Fair Work Commission decision. Victorians who rely on minimum and award wages deserve a
pay rise – it’s as simple as that.”

“This would be a better outcome if the Liberal Party had not supported cutting penalty rates for vulnerable workers – those workers are still falling behind.”

Australian Council of Trade Unions Secretary Sally McManus says more needs to be done to support the nation’s lowest-paid workers.
The ACTU boss says while it is a good result, the outcome is still far short of a living wage.

“2.3 million workers to get a pay increase because of unions,” Sally says.

The wage boost gives the workers a $24.30-a-week pay rise with the national minimum wage increasing to $719.20 a week.

An MGA statement says, “The decision by the Fair Work Commission today to increase the award rates by 3.5% will, according to Jos de Bruin CEO of Master Grocers Australia, be a serious setback to the sustainability of thousands of family enterprises and private businesses in the retail industry.”

Mr. Jos de Bruin said, “This increase comes at a time when competition continues to impact on the ability of small businesses to survive and the cost of doing business continues to escalate. Now it’s going to cost more to employ staff, so where is the incentive to provide more jobs?”

“Higher wages mean that less people will be employed in the retail industry. Retailers will look to putting staff off rather than increasing job opportunities. Many retailers are losing confidence in their ability to battle on and some will just close their doors.”

“MGA was hopeful that the increase would be lower after the 3.3% they had to cope with last year. An increase of this size will make life harder for family-run enterprises to survive at a time when profits are low, and margins are slimmer than ever.”