There have also been anti-lockdown protests happening in New South Wales today.
Earlier in the day, police arrested three people at an unauthorised protest in Sydney’s Hyde Park.
Two men, aged 44 and 54, were arrested for allegedly assaulting police, while a woman was arrested for failing to comply with a move on direction.
Eighteen penalty infringement notices were also issued for people failing to comply with the public health order in place for Covid-19. A 16-year-old boy was issued with a youth caution.
That protest has concluded.
In Byron Bay, in the state’s north, eight people were arrested at an unauthorised anti-lockdown protest earlier on Saturday, with charges including assault of police officers. That protest has also wrapped up.
Currently, police are dispersing protesters at a third unauthorised anti-lockdown protest at Sydney’s Olympic Park. A police spokeswoman told the Guardian this protest was larger than the two earlier gatherings.
She did not know if any arrests had been made.
Ahead of Victoria’s premier, Daniel Andrews, unveiling the roadmap out of Covid-19 restrictions on Sunday, here is a report looking at what freedoms are expected to be introduced first, based on leaked drafts of the roadmap obtained by Guardian Australia.
In New South Wales, the state government has identified Bondi Bowling Club as “the worst venue to date” in terms of Covid-19 breaches.
The Sydney venue has been handed a double fine totalling $10,000 after Liquor & Gaming NSW inspectors visited the club on 29 August and identified multiple breaches, including serious physical distancing and hygiene issues such as:
- Multiple group bookings of more than 10 people.
- Patrons mingling and walking around drinking alcohol.
- A complete lack of social distancing in queues to the bar.
- Dirty cups and plates left on tables.
- Inadequate sign-in processes with staff unable or unwilling to enforce the mandatory Covid safety measures.
Dimitri Argeres, the director of compliance at Liquor & Gaming NSW, said “while we came across Bondi Bowling Club’s breaches during a routine visit, we also use information and feedback from the public along with other sources of intelligence to focus our inspections on venues posing a higher risk”.
We are still on a cliff edge, but you wouldn’t know it if you went to Bondi Bowling Club on 29 August. The venue was operating as though the Covid safety measures were optional.
This presented a pretty grim picture of patrons and staff who are simply ignoring the restrictions everyone else has to live with and putting the entire community at risk.
He urged members of the public to report breaches to the government’s safety feedback portal at www.nsw.gov.au.
The NSW government issued 11 new Covid-related fines over the past week, bringing the total number of venues fined to 105 and the total fine amounts to $469,000.
This report from AAP on the protests in Victoria:
Unmasked anti-lockdown protesters have been arrested by police during violent scuffles in Melbourne.
Officers were punched by one man at the city’s Shrine of Remembrance on Saturday before being fitted with a mask and handcuffs.
He was one of more than 20 people arrested at the scene, an AAP photographer reported.
Up to 300 people gathered at the shrine where the mood was described as tense.
Police on horses pushed the mob towards the shrine’s steps, before protesters started to disperse. Some of the group carried placards with anti-government sentiments and at one stage were singing the Australian anthem.
Police are on standby for a number of protest rallies across Victoria after plans were aired to challenge the state’s strict lockdown rules, which include an 8pm to 5am curfew and limited travel and time away from home.
Ahead of Saturday, police confirmed they had arrested four men in connection with the planned Freedom Day rally.
Those arrests followed the well-publicised arrest of a pregnant Ballarat woman over allegations of a separate rally planned there for Saturday.
The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, sent a general message to those protesting during his daily press conference.
“It is not smart, it is not safe, it is not lawful, in fact it is absolutely selfish to be out there protesting,” he said.
“The only fight we should be engaged in is against this virus.”
As scrutiny of Australia’s handling of Covid-19 across aged care homes intensifies, here is a report from my colleagues Ben Butler and Melissa Davey about growing demands for aged care providers to reveal how they use taxpayer dollars.
Guardian Australia analysis of the 10 aged care homes worst affected by coronavirus in Victoria shows that three are controlled by two large companies, which between them received more than $1.45bn in government funding over the past two years and paid out dividends to their shareholders totalling $77m.
Australia’s opposition Labor party is continuing to get stuck into the government over one of its Liberal MPs, Craig Kelly.
Kelly was heavily criticised over his recent promotion of hydroxychloroquine – both via social media and a speech in parliament – to treat Covid-19.
This week, he compared Victorian police’s arrest of a Ballarat woman for anti-lockdown incitement on social media to Nazi Germany.
Of the arrest, Kelly said “this is what you’d see expect (sic) in Nazi Germany” and “No it’s not Nazi Germany it’s happening in Australia in 2020”, later saying he makes “no apology for using the Nazi Germany analogy”.
Today, Labor’s health spokesman, Chris Bowen, and MP Josh Burns called on the prime minister, Scott Morrison, to take action over Kelly’s comments.
Scott Morrison personally intervened in Craig Kelly’s preselection but has failed to stop the dangerous and offensive behaviour of the Member for Hughes.
In just 48 hours, Craig Kelly has made three offensive and ignorant comments comparing the Victorian authorities to Hitler’s Nazi regime.
Mr Kelly’s comments on Hydroxychloroquine are especially dangerous during a medical pandemic as Hydroxychloroquine has potentially fatal side effects if not administered properly.
His comments on Nazi Germany are an insult to the many Jewish and other Australians who lost family members in the Holocaust, and all of the Australian soldiers who fought Hitler’s Nazi regime.
Yet Scott Morrison remains a bystander on Craig Kelly’s dangerous and offensive behaviour.
I’m going to hand you over to my colleague Elias Visontay, who will take you through the afternoon.
Police arrest anti-lockdown protesters in Melbourne
Things are heating up at the anti-lockdown protest at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. These videos come via Aneeka Simonis at the Herald Sun.