News, Culture & Society

Defiant WA Premier McGowan blames online vaccine conspiracies after his home is targeted

A defiant Mark McGowan has said he will not resile from pushing ahead with vaccine mandates after a security threat at his own home and mounting anger toward him from opponents of compulsory jabs.

The WA Premier’s house was put under heavy police guard after the incident on Saturday night that saw him suddenly rushed home from a wedding – but speaking on Sunday the 54-year-old said the event would not deter him from ‘keeping the community safe’. 

He declined to reveal details about the incident except to say his mobile phone number and address were leaked to online groups. 

WA Premier Mark McGowan (pictured with wife Sarah) was attending a function in Perth on Saturday evening when he abruptly left following a security breach at his home

‘I just urge everyone to be respectful and understand that the government is doing what we have to do,’ Mr McGowan said. 

‘We’re not going to stop, we’re not going to give in. If you want to protest, protest but be respectful.’ 

He added he was taking the security breach as ‘a sign of the online world’. 

‘Where people get wound up by conspiracy theorists and misleading information and people who basically promote witch doctor solutions to medical problems.’

Mr McGowan was attending a reception at the Vasto Club in the northern Perth suburb of Balcatta about 6.30pm when he was abruptly ushered into a car. 

The premier was then swiftly driven across the city back to his home in the southern suburb of Rockingham were police had identified a major security breach, reports The West Australian. 

His security detail has been upped in recent days after threats were made toward him when he mandated that 75 per cent of WA workforce will need to be fully-vaccinated for Covid or risk getting the sack. 

The 54-year-old was attending a reception at the Vasto Club (pictured) in Perth's northern suburbs about 6.30pm when he was whisked into a car

The 54-year-old was attending a reception at the Vasto Club (pictured) in Perth’s northern suburbs about 6.30pm when he was whisked into a car 

WA Premier Mark McGowan (pictured with his wife Sarah in September) said the incident at his Rockingham home happened after his address was leaked online

WA Premier Mark McGowan (pictured with his wife Sarah in September) said the incident at his Rockingham home happened after his address was leaked online 

Thousands are expected to lose their jobs even if WA achieves very high vaccination rates – enraging anti-vaccine proponents and even leading to one man being charged with threatening to kill the premier. 

Perth man Jamon Allan Hartzer, 42, fronted Armadale Magistrate’s Court on Friday following his arrest on Thursday night. 

The father-of-two had made death threats to Mr McGowan and also hostile posts towards Victorian Premier Dan Andrews, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and multiple police officers over the vaccine rules. 

Australian Counter-Terrorism Group officers found four high powered rifles at his house, with a police prosecutor telling the court they were ‘unsecured’ and least one was loaded. 

Mr Hartzer, who the court heard has bipolar disorder, was supported by his wife and parents at court and was refused bail, with the magistrate noting a ‘term of imprisonment’ would be likely. 

He is charged with threatening to kill, failed to comply with firearm or ammunition storage requirements and making a statement/giving information which was known to be false which indicated a threat.

In a separate incident a 49-year-old man was issued a move-on order after he kicked in the front door to Mr McGowan’s electorate office in Rockingham. 

The Premier’s office has also been inundated with aggressive calls over the vaccine rules. 

‘What I’m doing and what the government is doing is what is necessary to keep people safe and keep our state safe, and we’re not going to be deterred from that,’ Mr McGowan said on Thursday.

Perth man Jamon Harzter

Mr Hartzer was arrested on Thursday night

Perth man Jamon Allan Hartzer (pictured) was arrested on Thursday after making threats toward the WA Premier over his vaccine mandates 

On Saturday a protest was held outside Mr McGowan’s house – promoted in a since-deleted Facebook post – but had resulted in a dismal turnout of about a dozen people. 

Mr McGowan’s son was seen glancing out a second storey window at the group. 

One protester told the newspaper they would have reconsidered turning up if they had known Mr McGowan’s children were at home. 

Another protester said they believed the vaccine mandates were illegal. 

‘It’s Mark McGowan making these mandates. I’ve caught him every day this week. I’ve sent emails. He’s not giving out to anyone. It’s just a hard line of ‘get it or else’.

‘My career is on the line. I’ve got three girls and a wife to support, a mortgage to pay so it’s very worrying for me. I’m between a rock and a hard place.’

Police maintained a heavy presence near the premier’s address throughout the day in the lead up to him being bundled away from the event in the evening. 

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk