Australian and New Zealand workers defend Dr David Berger and oppose censorship of SEP Twitter

The WSWS continues to receive statements defending Dr David Berger and opposing censorship of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) Twitter page. @SEP_Australia was locked out on July 21 over a video in defence of Dr Berger and free speech. This blatantly political attack should be opposed by the broadest layers of workers, young people and professionals.

Dr Berger is an Australian physician and dedicated advocate of the elimination of COVID-19. He has been ordered by the Australia Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to undertake a special “education” program or be deregistered over his social media condemnations of the official “let it rip” coronavirus policies.

Since the publication of our first article on July 8, which called on scientists, health staff and other sections of workers to speak out in defence of Dr Berger, the WSWS has published twelve articles compiling statements of support.

We urge readers to write to @TwitterSupport on Twitter and demand an immediate reversal of the lock, and to continue to speak out in Dr Berger’s defence. Statements of support can be emailed here. Please indicate in the email how you would like to be identified in our next article, and if you want to include a photo, please attach one to the email.

Wendy, a bus driver in Wellington, New Zealand, signed and commented on a powerful open letter in support of Dr Berger. She shared her comments with the WSWS:

I value informed and evidence-based social media discussions about public health issues, especially fast-changing ones like our international COVID-19 pandemic. I want the best and most up to date, reliable health and safety info in order to be able to protect myself at work. I am exposed to COVID every day in my role as a public transport bus driver. I am not provided with adequate PPE.

My employer, local transport authority and the government say surgical masks are adequate protection for bus drivers. Yet international evidence recommends N95s/P2 respirators as the minimum for protection against aerosolised COVID. This demonstrates the unreliable nature of government-mediated health and safety info, compromised by political decision-making.

This is why it is vital that there are open forums like social media where doctors and scientists with good expertise around COVID can share their expertise directly, so we can make better informed decisions for protecting against COVID. We, the PUBLIC, rely on experts like Dr David Berger to help us stay safe. Please let him keep contributing to best PUBLIC health practices!

Bus drivers on strike in Wellington last year

Dr M, a medical scientist from Australia:

I would like to defend Dr David Berger by saying all government policies should be able to be questioned in a public forum without fear of reprisal from government watch dogs. 

This is particularly so in a pandemic, where the health advice given by our previous and current government is seriously lacking and has led to a situation where we now have one of the highest COVID infection rates in the world, the hospital system is overloaded with COVID patients, and more people are dying from the disease than ever before. 

Dr David Berger has been a voice of reason throughout the pandemic, offering practical science-backed advice to counteract the spread of the virus, rather than advocating for a situation where we just get on with things and “live with it.”

Clearly, this approach is not working. Dr Berger is exercising his duty to the Hippocratic Oath by voicing his disagreement with government policy and is being punished for it. We must not have a situation in this country where respected scientists, clinicians and practitioners are gagged for expressing data-backed opinions that differ from prevailing political opinions.

Martin Mantell, a retired teacher from Melbourne:

The campaign launched by AHPRA has all the political hallmarks of a witch-hunt. The complainants against him are “anonymous.” Dr Berger, we are told, has been “disparaging” of his “colleagues” and most sinister of all, he must undergo “re-education.”

All members of the medical profession, all workers, both white and blue collar, must come to Dr Berger’s defence. Not to do so would strengthen the forces of political reaction in this country. Those forces are the bought and paid for mouthpieces of the corporate oligarchy that lied to the Australian people about the COVID pandemic, like Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly’s description of Omicron as a “Christmas present”, the claims that “children don’t get COVID”, and that “we must learn to live with the virus” at the very moment thousands of Australians were and are dying from it! 

Martin Mantell

As a retired schoolteacher, I especially appeal to teachers to support Dr Berger because they may have had some experience similar to him. The disciplinary procedures imposed on teachers singled out for dismissal are not unlike those of AHPRA. The teacher fingered for dismissal is first deprived of any basic legal rights. They cannot even know or confront their accusers, they cannot seek support from their colleagues, and their teaching expertise and relationship with students is trashed.

As a result of the campaign waged in Dr. Berger’s defence, the Twitter account of the Socialist Equality Party in Australia has been “locked.” The faceless, nameless operatives who exercise such blatant acts of censorship have decreed that a “tweet” of support and showing photographs of Dr Berger; Lisa Diaz, an English mother who refused to send her immuno-compromised child into school amidst the raging COVID pandemic; Dave O’Sullivan, a London bus driver sacked for demanding safe working conditions during the pandemic, and Julian Assange, award-winning journalist and political prisoner who exposed the brutal and myriad war-crimes of the US military, is not allowed to be shown on social media. An assault of this magnitude cannot be allowed to stand! This dictatorial and blatant action demands that the campaign in support of Dr Berger be widened and accelerated.

For all people who value democratic rights, the way forward is clear: Against governmental and bureaucratic indifference, dishonesty, and corruption. For all medical practitioners who uphold the Hippocratic oath by putting the health and welfare of their patients first and who have the integrity and courage to speak out in the health interests of the population. Join the campaign to defend Dr. Berger and oppose the censorship of the SEP Twitter page.