Calls to rip up and refund "hypocritical" COVID fines

A Queensland politician has launched a petition to have all coronavirus fines ripped up after a 30,000 strong protest breached mass gathering laws and escaped without punishment. 

As 30,000 people attended a Black Lives Matter rally in Brisbane’s CBD on the weekend, Queensland police said no fines had been issued despite the protestors defying the current COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings.

Katter’s Australian Party MP Nick Dametto started the parliamentary petition, saying that the Queensland Government’s rules were “hypocritical”.

"While the vast majority of Queenslanders have complied with the Government's restrictions as a matter of public health and safety in order to flatten the curve, the hypocrisy of allowing thousands of people to congregate during the protests has infuriated many, including those who have received fines for relatively minor breaches of the COVID-19 rules in place," the petition said.

"Your petitioners, therefore, request the House do all within its power to revoke or refund fines handed to Queenslanders who breached COVID-19 rules as a matter of principle."

As hundreds of Queenslanders had been hit with fines in excess of $1,300, Mr Dametto said that the treatment of protestors showed double standards, according to the ABC.

"I was talking to a small business the other day, which was shut down for a week because they had 11 people in their business instead of the allowed 10," he said.

"But then we're going to somehow allow 30,000 people together?

"By not getting out there and fining some people gives a very dark message: you're allowed to break the rules if you have enough people breaking the rules at the same time."

However, Tourism Minister Kate Jones has defended the actions of the Queensland government.

"I didn't let 30,000 protesters protest in Brisbane [and] neither did the Government," she said.

"The Premier said very clearly do not go to the protest. The Police Commissioner said do not go to the protest.

"Some people — the majority of them young — chose to ignore that health advice.”

This article originally appeared on Over60.