End the Public Housing Lockdown – Healthcare Not Racist Policing
Stand Together Against Racism opposes the Andrews government's “hard lockdown” of public housing residents in nine public housing estates.

In a move reminiscent of authoritarian regimes, over 500 police have been deployed to lock down around 3000 residents, with police to be stationed on every floor. Residents are not allowed to leave for any reason. They can not go to work, school, or the shops. There was no warning of this imprisonment. This is policing of poverty, not healthcare. It is also a racist measure. The majority of affected residents have migrant or refugee backgrounds, and many residents confront systemic racial profiling and the unwarranted criminalisation by police.

Policing is not the way to address the health crisis. Victoria has had three times as many fines as any other state, yet it now has the worst growth in COVID-19 cases. The Black Lives Matter protests have exposed that police are not a neutral force in Indigenous and marginalised communities.

We need more healthcare, services and social support, not more racist policing.

Acting national Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has called the housing towers ‘vertical cruise ships’, but ‘hard lockdown’ risks creating exactly the cruise-liner like conditions the Victorian government claims to be addressing. COVID-19 has spread rapidly amongst trapped passengers, now residents will be trapped at close quarters in exactly the same way. With proper testing and contact tracing, this kind of lockdown is unnecessary.

As of 5/7/2020, 23 residents across the nine public housing estates have tested positive for COVID-19, with more people likely exposed to the virus. [update 6/7/2020: incredibly the government has now admitted that some towers have no Covid-19 cases but are locked down anyway, making the discrimination of the lockdown even more stark].

The health of the residents, and the wider community, has been put at risk by the failure of the Andrews government to provide a COVID safe environment for public housing residents.

The government has long known that social distancing is difficult in the flats, and yet families have been left cramped into tiny units, and lifts often don’t work. Hand sanitizer was installed but only on the ground floor of towers, and in some ran out within a week and was not replaced.

The Andrews government is spending $2 billion on a new private prison, and there has been a $3 billion funding boost for police, but there is no money to keep public housing residents safe.

Unfortunately some organisations, for example the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) have made concessions to this draconian response by supporting the lockdown.

But the lockdown risks making the situation worse. Elderly and immunocompromised people have no way out, and police have a track record of harassment of these communities. We need rapid testing, tracing and isolation of known cases. That requires hundreds of health workers, not hundreds of police. It shouldn't take five days to test all residents.

As one resident Tekeste Hailu told the ABC: "many people would have willingly been tested and stayed at home if they had been asked instead of just bombarding us with 500 police at once and locking us down” …By late on Saturday night, Mr Hailu said he was yet to see any professional health workers, social workers or interpreters to support the hundreds of residents in his building… "Especially with what's happening in the current situation with the police and the African background, all the youths are very terrified of the police," Mr Hailu said.

The attack on public housing residents goes hand in hand with the Andrews' government's approach of blaming ordinary people for the outbreak. The talk of COVID-19 being spread at large family gatherings has been code for migrant communities. Andrews has also blamed security guards for sharing cigarette lighters, rather than taking responsibility for their lack of training and the lack of PPE for the privatized, poorly paid guards of the quarantine hotels.

Insecure work contributed to the spread of COVID-19, and is a compounding of the anxiety of public housing tenants, many of whom have insecure frontline work and will be cut off from income by the lockdown. The leaking of COVID-19 from the quarantine hotels has caused the upsurge in Victorian cases, and now public housing residents are paying the price.

The pandemic has exposed racism and brutal inequalities in our society, we must mobilise to turn them around.

Stand Together Against Racism calls for:
- No hard lockdown - police off the estates
- Mass testing with test results returned in 24 hrs
- No to racism; culturally sensitive healthcare, not policing
- Free sanitizer, and PPE for all public housing residents
- Job guarantees and Covid-19 leave for all residents
- Extend the rent-freeze for public housing residents
- State government guarantee to improve and expand current public housing stock

Endorsed by

Stand Together Against Racism

Jews For Refugees

Save Public Housing Collective

Housing Defence Coalition

NTEU Monash Branch

NTEU University of Melbourne Branch

Unionists for Refugees

AID/WATCH

National Higher Education Casuals Network (contact Anastasia via email address above)

Refugee Action Collective Victoria

Refugee Action Coalition Sydney

Northsiders With Refugees

Malaysian Progressives in Australia (MPOZ)

Clairty Health Care - mental health treatment

UWA NTEU Fightback Group

Australian Unemployed Workers Union

Solidarity

Vixen Collective

Allies Decolonising

Australian Communist Party

Community Union Defence League Melbourne

Trans Action Narrm/Melbourne

Collective Action

Mohamed Mohideen, ICV

Emma Demarchi - School strike 4 Climate

Frances Evans- Hume Climate action Network

Lachlan Marshall, ASU HSR

Robin, United Workers Union

Veronica Backhouse, (Secondary Teacher, member of UWU)

Rosie Barron, NTEU member

Padraic Gibson, NTEU member

Miro Sandev NTEU member

Apsara Sabaratnam, NTEU member, Multicultural Greens Victoria member

Shan Windscript, University of Melbourne, NTEU member

Nick Riemer, NTEU

Alex Haschek NTEU

Michael Foster - Greens / AEU

Ji Young Song (Australian Greens, NTEU)

Marcus Banks NTEU

Anastasia Kanjere, NTEU

Vivian Honan, member of NSW Teachers Federation

Lucy Honan, Australian Education Union Vic Branch Councillor

Chris Breen AEU state councillor and sub branch president

David Glanz, honorary MEAA member

Emma Torzillo, Royal Australian College of Physicians

Tom Fiebig - SDA member

Emi Martin, Australian Greens Victoria

Paul Kusmanoff, CPSU member

Robert Stainsby, CPSU member

Rain Schatz - Aus Unemployed Worker's Union (not an official representative)

Ruby Partland, Greens member

Sylvie Leber, Fair Go For Pensioners

Jordan, Independent Education Union, Industrial Workers of the World

Linda Kennedy - ISJA, USU

Jean Parker NTEU

Dylan Goldsworthy, ASU VIC/TAS

Victor Komarovsky, member of Australian Services Union

Asad Kasim-Khan, UMSU, Muslim Legal Network

Jaqueline Snell- ASU

Tom Orsag CFMMEU member

Tim Sullivan - ASU Delegate & Bendigo Trades Hall Exec Member

Matilda Fay, NTEU member

Steven Kwon, CPSU

Beth Muldoon, NTEU

Brianna Hoff, ASU

Annette Pritchard. ASU member, AASW registered social worker

Olivia Hittmann ASU Member

Kynan Tan, NTEU member

Jeff, We Are Change Melbourne

Belle Ferman - Greens member

Chris McPherson, NTEU

Adam Fernandes, NTEU

Caitlin Doyle-Markwick, MEAA and Workers for Climate Action member

Caitlin Mullen, AEU member

Sophia Colling, ASU

Annette Herrera, NTEU

Esther Kennedy, ASU and Greens member

Hahn Rose, Trans Action Narrm/Melbourne

William Ward, NTEU

Rohan Irvine PA , AUWU

Elizabeth Stary - ASU

Tara Cartwright, NTEU member

Patrick Weyland-Smith MEAA, RAFFWU and AUWU

Janine D'Souza ASU member

Roz Pearson, AEU XR

Hillel Chaim Freedman, ASU Member, Greens member

Jessica Gerrard, NTEU member

Rufaro George Kanjere, AUWU & Victorian Socialists candidate for Darebin

Hannah Clarke AEU

Henry Wang - Wildlife Conservation Society

Maneesha Todd, ASU Member

Jason Wong - Australian Education Union

Inez (Student La Trobe Uni, volunteer Orygen and Victorian Transcultural Mental Health)

Carolyn Jackson (AEU member) Victoria

Esha Suhrou (ASU member)

Daryl Croke, AEU Member

Mary Merkenich Australian Education Union Branch Councillor

Bess Davey AEU

Vaughan Sanderson, AEU

Matilda Houlihan, NTEU

Millicent Kavenagh (IEU Member)

Mark Goudkamp, NSW Teachers Federation state councillor

Mary Lee, Greens member

Peter Robinson, USU member

Rosanne Bersten, Intertwine

Amber Karanikolas, NTEU Member

Geraldine Fela, NTEU University of Melbourne branch committee member and delegate

Edie Shepherd - ASU Private, Original Power

Claire Farrugia, NTEU

Ian Dudley, HWU delegate & HSR (personal capacity)

Yuya Sudo - ASU Member

Eddie Seymour Retired MUA Life Member

Ohad Kozminsky (AEU member)

Elisa Smith ( Greens member)

Vivian Praeger - Royal Australian College of GPs

Catherine McElhone, NTEU

Dylan Goldsworthy, ASU VIC/TAS

Polly Bennett (NTEU)

Sarah Lee-Johnston- IEU

Dom Westcott - MEAA

Bethany Patch (MEAA)

Ella Haber, HDC member

Jill Pope, UMSU member

Robert Close, AFAP member

Michelle Wood (ASU member)

Anthony Morris, UWU member

Dr Hannah McCann (NTEU)

Louise Walker, NTEU

Caroline Earley, NTEU member

Zachary Doney (UWU, RAHU)

Coleman Quinley Hospo Voice

Elliot Dolan-Evans NTEU

Alex McCallum Hospitality union

Kelsey Buchanan, UWU, NTEU

Sneha Challa (UMSU)

Hal L, UWU & CUDL

Paris Jeffcoat (NTEU)

Laurie Ormond, MEAA member

Rosie Isaac NTEU

William Jones, HDC member & UWU member

Louise Walker, NTEU

Zachary Doney (UWU, RAHU)

Elliot Dolan-Evans NTEU

Kelsey Buchanan, UWU, NTEU

Paris Jeffcoat (NTEU)

Rosie Isaac NTEU

Lonnie Mackertich, IEU member

Ashley Thomson, NTEU

Brooke Reid, NTEU

James Newbold (MEAA member, NUS NSW Education Vice-President)

Tammy Foreman, RAFFWU

Carrell Hambrick, CPSU

Betty Belay ASU private sector

Judy McVey, Solidarity

Paul Andrews

Isobel Caldwell

Brenda Hope Hawke

Alex Axford

Naomi Rahman

Joanna Bairamidis

Erica Hunt

Brooke Reid

Zachary Abdilla

Lauren Abineri

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Janine OKeeffe

Mark Burnside

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Maureen Mecca

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Eloise Anthony

Beatrice Rubio-Gabriel

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Anthony Gleeson -

Rachel Pont

Hilary Nykwest

Stuart Rich

Zolle Silk

Clare De Mayo

Laura Piggott

isobel jermieson

Kyle Barrington

Lauren Hyman

Fathiah Raihan

Caroline Scott

Matisse Laida

Lorelle Crawford

Kaliya Arumugam

Julia biasol

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Andrew McEwan

Emily Arenas Zarate

Amra Pajalic

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Scott Christie

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Rohit Wagh

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Brienna Allman

Andrew Milnes

Henry Osborne

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Ciara Monica Castillo

Colin Pont

Charlotte Waters

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Julian Petito

Bernard Peasley

Mashood Qureshi

Emma Jory

Paige Santelli

Melissa Brooks

Seamus Allan

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Serene Lorimer

Rachel Pont

Ivy Duncan

Mairead Murphy

Philip Ma

Olivia Reburn

Lulu Edwards

Kendra Smith

Darcy Wallis

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Emma Cooper

Thao Ly

Emily

Melanie Lazarow

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Tom Gilfillan

Chiara Ciulli

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Claudia Diaz

Phoebe Bacon

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Tegan Moore

Jaime Lee Brown

Yvette Knights

Helen Parker

Rosie Murray

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Vikki Surridge

Leon Hohl


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Eden Smith

Nina Laitala


Louise Harahap

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Ellen Cooper

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Sol Yoga

Jordan Pardoel

Morgan Graham

Richard Pietrus

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Robert Avaient

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Forth Sadler

Rebecca Burton

Olivia Maltby

Michael Walton

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Keely Macarow

Augustine Ang

Ellie Kallmier

Harrison Hall

Rachel Fitzpatrick

Kathleen Gaza

Catherine Ellis

Katie Farley

Ashley Burk

Elizabeth Serritelli

Ayuen Kuol Bol

Louis Debord

Sophie Lee

Jessica Dunn

Alana winters

Rhiannon Bruce

Melanie Lazarow

Kirti krishnan

Sarah Johnson

Sheridon Byrne

Tina Cornac

Jonny Coles

Hayim Dar

James Hamley

Genevieve Geehan

Izaak Jose Alvarez

Kathleen Granholm

Erin Nicolson

Rachael Roberts

Celis Cainne

Patrick Telfer

Cristina Serafy

Clementine Girard-Foley

Caitlin Dear

Olivia Nazario

Anu Fox

Maeve Scannell

Danielle Divola

Siobhan Neyland

Sue Kelly

Haisu Sun

Michelle Smith

Quentin Bell

Garrett Richey

Guylord Dela Fuente

Natalie Wallace

Paul Abu-Elias

Aman Kapoor

Willow Legge

Elodiea Wilson

Karen Jennings

Raul Haagensen

Anna Collis

Adele Perovic

Samantha Peatling

Ingrid Morton

Ciara Moroney

Ann Robinson

Adam Adelpour

Michael Fee

Rachel Gruner

Roxane Ingleton

Hayley Sestokas

Elliot Pouchaunt

Amber Sestokas

Maeve Scannell

Devon LaSalle

Kathleen Pryor

Avril Good

Freddie Vincent

Danielle Smith

Imogen Weisser

Louis Lua

Katherine Clark

Jinny-Jane

Bryan Andrew Cheong

Michelle reeves

William Ross

Matthew Harper-Gomm

Clarissa Miller-Stinchcombe

Emily Corcoran

Scarlet Daly

Dewani Harahap

Marco B

Loretta Gasparini

Xander Dobbyn

Suzanne Davis

Annika Sievert

Melissa Murphy

Leanne Wang

Paula Hernandez

Camille Clarke

Jordan Kettle

Bianca Haven

Sapphira Butler

Hugo Hall

Giacomo Romagnoli

Felicia Frangou

Kelly dingeldei

Alana Kelly

Roseanne Currie

Skye Hall

Cindy Zhou

Alexis Cato

Peter McDonald

Orlanda Alldridge

Bronwyn Lindsay

Megan Dunstone

Kelly Walker

Victoria Miller

Kimberley Henderson

Kelly Hopkins

Sebastian Van Sebille

Ineke Adamson

Elliott Maxwell

Erica Wild

Elspeth Blunt

Lara Keating

Naomi Rahman

Joanna Bairamidis

Thandiwe bethune

Luke Gay

Emily Greenwood (Houso)

Maigan Hounslow

Kathleen Galea, OHS rep, United Voice

Charlie Sam

Francesca Lai

Sofie Nicolson, Solidarity

Romaine McSweeney

Eve Mayes, NTEU member

Gemma Stubbs - UWU

Peter Farago RAC-Vic

Gemma Stubbs - UWU

Massimo Amerena, NTEU

Stephanie kennedy

Peta Malins NTEU

Judy Pile

Joni Meenagh, RMIT, NTEU

skye kennedy

Gemma E. Mahadeo

Ruby Newman

Aniela Pepe USU member

Tooba Farooqui

Samantha Clifton

Nathan Gardner NTEU

Karla Kai STANLEY / Social Worker

Michaela Ottone

Jess Kallergis

Madeline Smith

Sinem Ibrahim

Suzie cronin

Polixeni Marshall

Bilitis Smith

Mona Abdallah

Rahul Chauhan

Ruth Adams

Tasha Smith

Amie Byrne

Shahin Malak

Rob Watts RMIT and NTEU

Jess Kallergis

Sandy Matthews

Natalie Slade

Annabel Matthews

Achala Green

Laura Boehm


Brittany Pantano

Claire Kelly

Alison Tong

Freya Scott

Carly Fern Ellerbock - Greens Member

Matte Rochford PSA

Jackie matthews

Magdalena Sliwinska

Piroska Elizabeth

Effie Psarakis

Sarah Thorne, AWU member

Nazir yousufi

Timothy Haines AEU

Ned Rogers

Inez Winters (La Trobe Uni Student)

Georgette Thomas-Page

Julia Paterson

Percy Gurtler

Samantha Waite

Kendra Keller

Kate Stodart

Anton Cleaver-Wilkinson

Gemma Stubbs - UWU

allysha joy

Barbara Trauer

Clare De Mayo

Rhys Williams

Dr. Charlotte Farrell

Denique Peace

Lucinda Thomas-Keenan

Feiyi Zhang, ASU NSW member, homelessness subdivision

Nyssa Levings

Matt McCabe - AEU

Kimberly Summer

Adele Neale

Ella Francis

Sinem Ibrahim

Isabella Bertella

Elizabeth Pender (NTEU member)

Catherine Kalliopi Pwiti

Andrew Morrison, ASU, MGV & PASA

Jessie James

Jack Verdins (Friends of Public Housing Victoria, The Greens)

Olivia Koh

Samantha Dizon

Earl James IEU

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