Terrifying footage shows the moment WA Premier Mark McGowan is mobbed by anti-vaxxers, as he lashes out in response.
Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan claims the recent pushback against his government’s wide-ranging vaccine mandate will only harden the state’s position.
The Premier was accosted by several protesters yesterday, who swarmed him as he entered his car. Mr McGowan was called a “f***ing coward” by the mob, who began banging on the vehicle’s windows.
“Aren’t you down here to convince us?” one woman yelled at the Premier.
“We will rise up,” another yelled as he sped off.
The pushback came after the state announced vaccination against Covid-19 will be compulsory for roughly 75 per cent of WA’s workforce, including in “high risk” jobs in teaching, hospitality and construction.
Mr McGowan said anyone who does not comply could face hefty fines of up to $100,000 for employers and up to $20,000 for individual workers.
Mr McGowan doubled down on his position on Thursday, asserting the recent opposition to the government was “extremist”.
“Some of this extremist behaviour is verging on urban terrorism,” the Premier said.
“It’s demented it’s deranged, it’s outrageous, it’s selfish. I just urge these people to stop harassing kids at their schools or shopping centres. It’s not the Australian way.
“It’s not going to change the government’s position on these things one jot. In fact, it’s making us harden our position. The more they do this, the more we’re going to ensure Western Australians will get vaccinated.”
Hundreds of people took to the streets to protest the WA Government’s announcement that most of the state’s work force will have to be vaccinated against Covid last month.
Protesters gathered outside the front of Perth’s Dumas House with a heavy police presence on hand.
The Premier urged the Prime Minister to “get on the same page” as WA and push Australians to get vaccinated.
He said the state’s policy was “proportionate and reasonable” and would prepare WA residents for the eventual community transmission of coronavirus when the state reopens its borders.
“There just should not be any weasel words here, there shouldn’t be any effort to dog whistle, there should be no walking on both sides of the fence,” Mr McGowan said.
“I just urge the Prime Minister to get on the same page as all of the premiers and chief ministers in trying to get people vaccinated.
“We can’t have anyone trying to score points with the anti-vaxxers or dog whistling to them. We just need to all be on the same page.”
The state has had the slowest vaccination uptake of any Australian jurisdiction after locking its borders tight to the rest of the nation. Health Minister Roger Cook said WA was in the “final phase” of the fight against the virus.
“In footy terms, we are deep into the final quarter,” he said last month.
“And as everyone knows, the final minutes of the game are the most dangerous. It’s the time when you make mistakes.
“Our enemy, the pandemic, never stops – it doesn’t fatigue … so we can’t keep our eye off the ball. We have to keep working hard.”