Sydney radio shock jock Alan Jones has taken the New South Wales police minister, David Elliott, to task this morning over the enforcement of public health orders that ban people gathering in groups of more than two or for being outside of their homes without a “reasonable excuse”.
Breaching the orders is punishable in NSW by fines for individuals of up to $11,000 or six months in prison. We have reported today that a 21-year-old man eating a kebab on a bench in Newcastle and two people sitting in a stationary car without “a reasonable excuse not to be at home” are among those already fined.
Jones, who is often outraged but generally not known to be soft on law and order, told Elliott this morning he believed the laws were a “terrible, undemocratic mess” and read out a letter on air from a listener who compared them to Nazi Germany and the USSR.
“I’m talking about [fining] a 21-year-old man eating a kebab on a bench in Newcastle, I mean what the hell?” Jones said.
Elliott said the police commissioner, Mick Fuller, would be reviewing fines issued for breaching public health orders.
“Nobody likes these laws. Nobody wants to see the pubs and the clubs open more than me. Nobody wants our lifestyle returned more than me, which is why I’m thrilled and relieved this is a short term scenario,” Elliott said.
Jones repeatedly accused Elliott of being “alarmist” on the threat of coronavirus, and questioned why the government hadn’t been as “fastidious” in relation to the Ruby Princess cruise ship. He also prompted an admission from Elliott that “with hindsight I think we would have closed the borders a lot earlier”.
NSW records its 11th death
Victorian real estate agents are using the coronavirus crisis to push for delays to laws improving the lives of a lot of renters in the state.
Real Estate Institute of Victoria president Leah Calnan says landlords need to focus on dealing with the crisis and wants the start date of the new rules, which include a ban on rental bidding, more security for tenants and limits on rent increases, from 1 July to 1 January next year “at the earliest”.
Laws that make it easier for tenants to keep pets that are part of the package are already in place.
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