News Coronavirus VicPol warns protesters they’ll pay a steep price for today’s anti-lockdown protest
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VicPol warns protesters they’ll pay a steep price for today’s anti-lockdown protest

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Protesters have been warned they face two separate fines if they attend an anti-lockdown rally at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance.

Apart from breaches of health directions, Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius said protesters also could fall foul of legislation governing behaviour at the Shrine.

The protest is planned for 2pm on Friday at the Shrine, with a Facebook post and makeshift signs hung above major Melbourne roads advertising the rally.

Mr Cornelius said the RSL and the Shrine have made it clear that any protest on the site is disrespectful to the memory of people who have served their country.

He said the Shrine legislation covered behaviour and how people are dressed, adding that anyone who refuse to obey police could be fined around $300.

While lockdown rules have been eased this week, Melburnians can still travel no more than 25km from their homes.

They also can be fined if they gather in groups of more than 10 from more than two households, and must wear masks as well as social distance.

Mr Cornelius said everyone, regardless if they are protesting, going for a jog or having a picnic, could be subjected to police questioning to test each guideline.

“Whether you’re protesting down at your local park, whether you’re protesting at the Shrine, you must comply with the CHO directions about public gatherings,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“Because if you don’t, and we observe you in breach, we will hold you to account.”

There were scuffles and several arrests last month as police broke up a protest at the Shrine.

Border war

There’s no sign of an armistice between the warring NSW and Queensland premiers, and now WA Premier Mark McGowan has joined in.

With Queensland’s Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk barely a week from election day and NSW Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian under pressure over her relationship with disgraced former MP Daryl Maguire, neither is feeling conciliatory.

Ms Berejiklian fired the first shot on Thursday – about Queensland’s hard border closure and an outstanding debt for accommodating the Sunshine State’s returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.

She says Queensland owes NSW more than $35 million for “welcoming back their citizens” and she wants them to pay up.

NSW has been accommodating up to 2500 international travellers every week in Sydney quarantine hotels – many of them from other states.

“It’s about time Queensland in particular coughed up – they’ve closed their border to us without reason,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters.

She also wants to collect from another state that has slammed shut its border, saying WA owed NSW “around $7 or $8 million as well”.
Mr McGowan said his state was currently taking the most returned overseas travellers per capita.

“Clearly what the NSW government is doing is outside the national agreement that was agreed at national cabinet,” he said.

“If I was unkind I’d say maybe we should send a bill to the NSW government for the Ruby Princess and all the trauma that caused other states.

“Maybe we should send a bill to the NSW government for the billions upon billions of dollars we give them in GST over the course of the last decade. Or maybe this is just a diversion by the NSW government from the serious corruption that has been exposed at senior levels there.”

Ms Palaszczuk said she was “not going to be lectured by the premier of NSW”.

“I don’t think Gladys Berejikilian should be criticising anyone. Quite frankly she’s got enough of her own internal problems,” she said.

“What happened to all working together? I mean that’s what we do, we go into that national cabinet and we want to work together.”