Aboriginal Tent Embassy leaders fear infection from anti-vaxxers’ camp next door at Old Parliament House | The Canberra Times


Elders in the Aboriginal community have accused the “anti-vax” camp set up alongside the long-standing Aboriginal Tent Embassy outside Old Parliament House of being a health risk to the whole of Canberra. They are angry that the ACT government has not acted to have the make-shift camp moved. “The ACT government is still not doing what they are supposed to be doing to protect the rest of the Australian Capital Territory. They are letting those anti-vaxxers camp there and there’s a whole ton of them,” Matilda House-Williams, one of the most respected members of the Aboriginal community said. She was named Canberra Citizen of the Year in 2006. When The Canberra Times asked people in the new camp whether they were a health risk to others and whether they were vaccinated, some said “no comment”. One man grabbed the camera and then grabbed a phone to stop the police being called. “Why isn’t the ACT government taking control of the situation of the anti-vaxxers who are camped outside the grounds of the Tent Embassy?” Dr House-Williams asked. She and her fellow elder Jenny Munro said they themselves were at heightened risk of being infected by unvaccinated people who are more prone to catching and spreading COVID. Both ladies are over 60. Dr House-Williams is double vaxxed with a booster. “There’s no protection here for us through the federal government or the ACT Chief Minister. So [Scott] Morrison, the Prime Minister, and the Chief Minister, here they are doing nothing to protect anyone in this vicinity or around the ACT when they let those anti-vaxxers camp down there,” Matilda House-Williams said. Jenny Munro added: “That presents a risk on an hourly, daily, minute-by-minute basis because they are there. They spread it amongst themselves. They’re moving around so they are at risk to anybody who is in close proximity.” “This government is not doing anything to protect the vulnerable people like me,” she said. They feel that the anti-vax camp has been allowed to grow because the occupants are mostly white people. The strong words from Aboriginal leaders comes as a fourth person is charged over the events leading up to the fire which destroyed part of the historic building last Thursday. One 30-year-old man from Victoria has been charged with the arson itself. Three others, one from Byron Bay, have been charged with other offences including assaulting the police. Video footage viewed by The Canberra Times reveals a strong presence of opponents of vaccination at the events leading up to the fire. It shows some Aboriginal participants trying to calm matters down. READ MORE: “As you can see, not one person wearing a mask, as there is no f—— virus,” one white participant in the events of the day says as he walks towards Old Parliament House. The person then starts to broadcast: “We’re going live. Old Parliament House. So you’ve all thought I’ve been crazy my whole f—— life. ‘Tin-foil hat man’, ‘No aliens’. “What’s going to happen here today is going to be remarkable. It’s going to be amazing. Keep watching. You’ll see what happens.” Some people at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy said that the kind of protest which took place was not their style. They were for non-violent protest. The fiftieth anniversary of the Tent Embassy happens in three weeks time. Four Aboriginal men planted an umbrella on the lawn outside what was then the active Parliament House. Our coverage of the health and safety aspects of this outbreak of COVID-19 in the ACT is free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support. You can also sign up for our newsletters for regular updates. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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