A dangerous wave of coronavirus deniers is organising to make life hell for police and shop workers trying to enforce mask wearing.
The loosely coordinated group provoked outrage with a series of stunts making a mockery of police checkpoints and mandatory mask laws.
Kerry Nash, the ‘Bunnings Karen’ who was briefly arrested outside the Melbourne store, is now one of Australia’s most reviled women – but just the tip of the iceberg.
Others have called masks the ‘mark of the beast’, bragged about talking their way past police blockades, and threatened officers checking they were self-isolating.
In earlier videos, a mother chucked a hissy fit because a playground was closed, and a hungry man compared a ban on dining-in at McDonald’s to Nazi Germany.
All the infuriating videos show the obnoxious troublemakers spouting suspiciously similar nonsense to back up their refusal to cooperate.
That is because they are all reading from the same script they believe will protect them from fines or prosecution, and even allow them to sue police for unlawful detention.
Some of the group members are also affiliated with the Church of United Kingdom of Australia, which is planning an illegal rally in Melbourne on Friday.
Why their arguments are nonsense
Groups opposing lockdowns, mask wearing, and police authority in general rely on a serious of dubious arguments that are easily discredited.
Rules are ‘directives’ not ‘laws’
A common theme to infuriating exchanges with police is that the public health orders are invalid because Parliament never approved them.
They claim such ‘directives’ can only be enforced by ‘consent’ and thus can be ignored at will.
However, the Public Health and Wellbeing Act of 2008 does gives state governments and their chief health officers power to impose restrictions.
Section 200 of the act explicitly states they can can restrict movement or ‘give any other direction that the authorised officer considers is reasonably necessary to protect public health’.
These powers kick in when a state of emergency is declared by the state government, which Premier Daniel Andrews did in Victoria on March 16.
Extra powers kick in when a state of emergency is declared by the state government, which Premier Daniel Andrews did in Victoria on March 16
Section 193 of the act allows for stay at home directions, which Deputy Chief Health Officer Finn Romanes enacted on July 22.
This directive also covers the wearing of face masks, as it states people can only leave their house while wearing one – exceptions notwithstanding.
Victoria also passed its own COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 to strengthen these emergency powers.
State of emergency is invalid
Some conspiracy theorists claim the state of emergency shouldn’t have been imposed in the first place.
They quote what they believe to be the conditions that must be established, including that a deadly pathogen must be present around the country.
As they deny the seriousness of covid-19, they declare there is ‘no deadly virus’ in Australia.
The 167 Australians who have died from coronavirus, and their families, would beg to differ.
Some conspiracy theorists, like Jacquie Dundee Muller in this video from Saturday, claim the state of emergency shouldn’t have been imposed in the first place
Police don’t have authority to enforce orders
Many of the video feature coronavirus deniers refusing to answer police questions or give their details.
They make bizarre appeals to common law overriding state legislation, which are discussed at the end of this article.
Again, the Public Health and Wellbeing Act of 2008 comes into plays as it empowers health officials to ask police for help enforcing directives.
Police officers can usually only ask for someone’s details if they are committing a crime or are reasonably believed to be about to be.
But the Act extends this to investigating, eliminating or reducing the risk to public health.
Police can also detain anyone deemed a ‘serious risk to public health’, so long as they are warned that refusal to comply would lead to their arrest.
‘We will not hesitate to issue fines to people who are obviously and blatantly showing a disregard for community safety by failing to wear a mask,’ Victorian Police said on July 26.
‘Police are working incredibly hard to keep the community safe and this type of behaviour is unacceptable and unnecessary.’
But my human rights!
‘Bunnings Karen’ and many of the other conspiracy theorists make frequent reference to the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This does not actually create any laws, it is just an undertaking to preserve and protect human rights around the world.
What rights citizens do have are in the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act.
This compels Parliament to balance any infringement on human rights, as laid down in the act, and produce a ‘statement of compatibility’.
This balancing act is known as ‘proportionality testing’ and weighs, in this case, forcing people to wear masks with the threat of illness and death.
Parliament took this into account when passing the Public Health and Wellbeing Act of 2008, and health officials have done the same this year.
Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton even explained on Tuesday that human rights laws enshrined the right to exercise during lockdown.
‘They are entitled to exercise within their home and their garden, ideally. People who have no garden and have no other option, have a right to exercise,’ he said.
‘The Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities is pretty clear that if you aren’t giving people an option to exercise then you are effectively putting them in prison and that’s not something that can be done for a case of coronavirus or for anyone else for that matter.’
Mr Andrews has very little time for human rights arguments, pointing out that not dying of coronavirus is a rather important right.
‘Seriously, one more comment about human rights – honestly. It is about human life,’ he said.
‘If we continue with this stuff, standing in the car park of Bunnings reading whatever nonsense you have pulled up from some obscure website…’
Mr Andrews later apologised for losing his cool, but reiterated that police were doing what needed to be done.
‘[Police] are trying to be as fair as they possibly can be,’ he said, ‘but if you’re just making a selfish choice based on your belief, your personal belief, quoting something you’ve read on some website, it’s not about human rights.’
Even Human Rights Law Centre executive director Hugh de Kretser isn’t giving the conspiracy theorists any cover.
‘Being required to wear a mask in public in Melbourne does not breach human rights,’ he said.
‘It’s a very small limit on personal freedom for a very good reason; saving lives and protecting public health. There are sensible exceptions set out in the rules.
‘Those who claim their rights are being breached are wrong.’
Businesses are discriminating by requiring masks before entry
Kerry Nash claimed Bunnings was in breach of anti-discrimination laws by saying she couldn’t come in without a mask.
Wesfarmers CEO Rob Scott said he stood behind the Bunnings workers in the video
The problem with this argument is that all the other regulations around mask wearing aren’t even relevant because businesses can refuse entry at will.
Rick Sarre, the Adjunct Professor of Law and Criminal Justice at the University of South Australia, says Australian businesses have the right to require customers to wear face masks.
‘Australian law, quite simply, says that private landowners or occupiers can take reasonable steps to protect themselves, their employees and people on their property,’ he wrote in The Conversation.
‘So it would be legal for businesses – including cafes and supermarkets – to make it a condition of entry that customers wear a mask and sanitise their hands.’
Ms Nash claims she has a medical exemption to wearing a mask, which she never specified.
If she had produced proof of this, the whole situation could have been avoided.
Why these people are dangerous
Associate Professor Luke Beck Monash University’s law faculty said the group appeared to be an offshoot of the sovereign citizen movement.
‘These people make these kinds of pseudo-legal arguments, usually to try and get out of parking fines or paying council rates or things like that,’ he told SBS.
‘Some of these people think if you utter particular words or emphasise particular ‘facts’, it will somehow get you out of things.’
This is problematic for functioning society at the best of times, but University of Melbourne law Associate Professor Jonathan Liberman said it was downright dangerous during a pandemic.
‘These people are trying to encourage others to do things that put people’s health at risk and that will ultimately lead to these restrictions being in place for a lot longer,’ he said.
‘They are also promoting a rejection of the rule of law and a rejection of a harmonious society.’
One of the chief proponents of the script and the legal fictions that go along with it is a civil engineering graduate turned kitchen designer.
Ms Cassar has not had a run-in with police during the coronavirus pandemic, but posts relentlessly about what others should do if they are.
She posts a widely-shared ‘checklist’ of materials including the step-by-step list of responses to police questions, the legal arguments behind it, and a schedule of ‘fees’ to charge police for ‘unlawful detention’.
Bernardette Cassar preaches anti-mask wearing, refusal to give details to police, and that 5G is the work of Satan
The documents are to be printed out and kept in your car at all times ready to be used if a follower is pulled over by police.
There is also a flowchart showing the process of ‘lawful dissent’ that makes demands for restitution if arrested or forced to do something by the state.
‘We will be living under a total dictatorship very soon! Exercise your rights before they are completely stripped always,’ she wrote in one post.
‘Will you EDUCATE yourself, learn that all is one big LIE, listen when someone wants to show you the TRUTH and following through with ACTIONS we provide?
‘Or stick your head in the SAND and continue to believe the FALSE evidence that those in POWER are using to take your RIGHTS away day by day?’
She posts a widely-shared ‘checklist’ of materials including the step-by-step list of responses to police questions, the legal arguments behind it, and a schedule of ‘fees’ to charge police for ‘unlawful detention’, which are kept in her car in case she is pulled over
There is also a flowchart showing the process of ‘lawful dissent’ that makes demands for restitution if arrested or forced to do something by the state
Ms Cassar also preaches that Australia is run by a corporation, and that women are being tracked by microchips in their Victoria’s Secret bras.
She partakes in many conspiracy theories, including running an anti-5G group that claims the technology is the work of Satan.
‘You guys need to turn off that stupid box and stop listening to the stupid media who has been bought by these people,’ she said.
‘We are allowing them to control us.’
Former MMA fighter Nick Patterson is one of the group’s ringleaders who hosts a weekly meeting of up to 50 followers in his Melbourne gym.
A photo from a meeting at 6pm on Sunday showed a tight circle of followers with Mr Patterson in the middle – even as gatherings of more than two were banned.
‘A great night together discussing the putrid conduct of the police, government and media lies. We are strong and won’t bow down to these oppressors,’ he wrote.
He also praised Eve Black, who was widely condemned for refusing to provide her details to officers as she left a coronavirus hotspot.
Former MMA fighter Nick Patterson (pictured with his wife Leirosa Mentha-Patterson) is one of the group’s ringleaders
He hosts a weekly meeting of up to 50 followers in his Melbourne gym. A photo from a meeting at 6pm on Sunday showed a tight circle of followers with Mr Patterson in the middle
‘Thank you for sharing your experience with us and how media created a work of fiction with their slanderous narrative to demonise you, a true libertarian. God bless the righteous and give them power to prevail,’ he said.
Ms Black replied: ‘Thank you for having me there. It was so amazing to be in a room full of people who support and celebrate me during this tough time.’
Mr Patterson’s website John 8 acts as a resource for anti-mask conspiracy theorists, including the script they read out to police, and the dubious legal argument behind it.
‘I want to help people learn the Truth so they can become strong, not just with knowledge, but with the mindset of a warrior,’ it reads
He also posts numerous videos on Facebook airing his views, including one where he went to a supermarket without a mask.
‘I went shopping earlier and I got heckled a little bit. So we’re going to go see how it looks when we go in again,’ he said on Friday.
‘The problem with communism is it bring everyone down to the lowest, most ignorant denomination (sic), so let’s have a look at the crazieness (sic).
Mr Patterson’s website John 8 acts as a resource for anti-mask conspiracy theorists, including the script they read out to police, and the dubious legal argument behind it
He also posts numerous videos on Facebook airing his views, including one where he went to a supermarket without a mask
‘Apparently there’s a law that means you have to wear a mask, but if you study law they need a declaration of override through the parliament, but parliament’s shut so they can’t get one.
‘But because the TV tell people that it’s a new law, people believe it.
Mr Patterson said Australia once had the Anzac spirit about fighting for your rights but ‘now people just roll over and let people put muzzles on them, restrict their breathing.’
Mr Patterson in other posts claims people who ‘are wearing their masks will easily accept a mark’.
‘If there is a moral reason for wearing a mask then I surely can’t see it. There is no legal powers to force healthy people to wear masks, so why are the police, government and media telling a big fat lie??’
The young Melbourne woman became a hero to her ’cause’ when she shared footage of herself driving past an officer at a COVID-19 police barricade in Melbourne.
When a police officer asked her where she was headed and why she was attempting to leave, Ms Black simply told him she didn’t need to share that information.
Instead of sharing her personal information, Ms Black asked the officer whether she’d ‘disturbed the peace’ by trying to leave her town.
‘No,’ the officer responded. ‘I just asked what your reason for leaving today is.’
Eve Black became a hero to her ’cause’ when she shared footage of herself driving past an officer at a COVID-19 police barricade
Ms Black responded: ‘I don’t need to tell you that. I don’t know you.’
Initially, the officer persisted. ‘Where have you come from,’ he asked again.
‘I don’t need to answer your questions. Have I committed a crime? Have I committed a crime?’ she asked twice.
Instead of answering her question, the officer waved Ms Black through the checkpoint.
‘Just keep going,’ he said as he let her and her passenger drive past.
Ms Black admitted she was ‘nervous as heck’ as she approached the checkpoint, but encouraged her friends and family to ‘know their rights’ during lockdown.
‘I just read from the sheet and he could obviously see it wasn’t worth the trouble,’ she explained.
Ms Black said she didn’t ‘regret’ sharing the video which has since been heavily criticised
Ms Black wiped most of her Facebook profile after the video went viral but still actively discusses refusing face masks and related issues on other profiles such as Mr Patterson’s.
‘I have privatised my acc (sic) because I have better things to do than be a punching bag for your fear,’ she wrote.
‘I regret nothing, I’m just tired of the abuse and threats. Wake up, sleeper.’
Mechanic ‘Mr Auto in Oz’ is another leader of coronavirus conspiracy theorists in Melbourne who holds and attends illegal meetings.
Mr Aitken was seen at Mr Patterson’s gym discussion on Sunday where he posed with other well-known fellow members.
‘A flesh&blood sovereign dejure I am that I am protecting our inalienable rights, in search of truth,’ his Facebook bio reads.
In a bizarre post on July 8, he claimed coronavirus tests poked so far down the nose they would insert diseases into the brain.
‘Consider that these Covid tests might be a way for the evil agenda folks to bypass this protective layer called the olfactory epithelium with a contaminated test and actually increase the risk of infected sickness,’ he wrote.
Matt Aitken is another leader of coronavirus conspiracy theorists in Melbourne who holds and attends illegal meetings
He was seen at Mr Patterson’s gym discussion on Sunday where he posed with other well-known fellow members
Last week he vented on Facebook in a video after being denied entry to Total Tools in Melbourne because he wasn’t wearing a mask.
He claimed he was ‘rudely and abruptly’ told to put one on, and was only there because the company asked him to pay an outstanding bill.
‘Shopping?? Well I tried to but your citizens-ship is sinking and you follow directives that have no basis in law,’ he wrote above the video.
‘Time to leave the ship!! The corporation pirates now are dictators… even though you spend your sweat equity dollars with them.’
Mr Aitken is also a member of the Church of United Kingdom of Australia, and on the weekend held a ‘swearing in’ ceremony in St Kilda.
Several other coronavirus conspiracy theorists are also affiliated with this ‘church’, shown by them posting the Red Ensign flag – the Australian flag with a red instead of blue background – on their Facebook profiles.
In a bizarre post on July 8, he claimed coronavirus tests poked so far down the nose they would insert diseases into the brain
Mr Aitken is also a member of the Church of United Kingdom of Australia, and on the weekend held a ‘swearing in’ ceremony in St Kilda
The group is planning a ‘historical tour and oath ceremony’ at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne on Friday.
‘Bring your 1901 Federal Red Ensign, honour our Forefathers and exercise a claim of freedom,’ the event page reads.
The event is called Commonwealth of Australia Day, which Mr Aitken also refers to as ‘the real Australia Day’ in dozens of posts.
Victorian Police vowed to crack down on the event as gatherings of more than two are banned.
‘There will be a highly visible police presence at the event and if people do attend, and are found to be in breach of the directions issued by the Chief Health Officer, they will be subject to enforcement action,’ it said.
‘Anyone found to be blatantly, deliberately or obviously breaching the Chief Health Officer directions can expect to receive a fine of $1,652.’
Jacquie Dundee Muller
Ms Muller refused to wear a mask outside a Melbourne Kmart, claiming the face covering were ‘against her religion’.
She bizarrely claimed masks were ‘the mark of the beast’, in reference to the Biblical apocalypse in the Book of Revelations.
Ms Muller and a friend approached the shop and were stopped by officers who asked if she had her mask with her.
‘It’s against my belief, it’s against my religion,’ Ms Muller told the stunned policeman who was trying to to enforce the mandatory mask order.
Jacquie Dundee Muller bizarrely claimed masks were ‘the mark of the beast’, in reference to the Biblical apocalypse in the Book of Revelations
‘Religion… OK can I get your details please,’ he responded – but she refused.
‘No, I don’t consent, I don’t have to give you my details. What crime have I committed?’ Ms Muller retorted.
When the officer told her she wasn’t wearing a mask in a public place, she demanded he write down HIS details.
He asked for paper but she insisted he had to provide it, while repeatedly asking what crime she had committed.
‘You’re the only person here not wearing a mask,’ the increasingly frustrated policeman said as he gestured around the shopping centre.
A female senior constable approached and told Ms Muller the public health order was authorised by a state of emergency.
‘It’s against my belief, it’s against my religion,’ Ms Muller told the stunned policeman who was trying to to enforce the mandatory mask order
‘We know the law and I’ve studied the law and there’s no state of emergency,’ Ms Muller said.
‘These aren’t laws, they are directives, they require consent. You are in breach of your oath, which is to protect the people.
‘This isn’t protecting the people, this is upholding directives.’
‘It’s against my belief, it’s against my religion, I will not wear a mask, it’s the mark of the beast – Revelations 13.’
The two officers at this point had enough and decided to let her off with a warning and walk away – but Ms Muller wasn’t done yet.
‘Please take them off sometimes to stop breathing carbon dioxide,’ she called after them.
Ms Muller (left) regularly meets with fellow conspiracy theorists Louise Munro (second from left), Maureen Wilson (third from left), and ‘Jodee’ (right) and make videos calling themselves the ‘Ladies of Lore’
Ms Muller regularly meets with fellow conspiracy theorists Louise Munro, Maureen Wilson, and ‘Jodie’ and make videos calling themselves the ‘Ladies of Lore’.
She was also photographed at Mr Patterson’s meeting on Sunday and is a member of the Church of United Kingdom of Australia with Mr Aitken.
‘I need to make a correction… a state of Emergency has been declared on no basis! No Foundation, No Evidence!’ she said in another solo video on Saturday.
She also shared a picture photoshopped to show Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews with a noose around his head held by two police officers.
The words ‘death penalty for traitors’ were placed over the top of the image.
In a video posted on Tuesday night in response to media coverage, Ms Muller claimed the state of emergency was invalid because COVID-19 was not a deadly virus.
‘Daniel Andrews couldn’t spit out the word credible without stumbling,’ she said.
Ms Muller in the same video with her friend Jodie claimed 5G was ‘a weapon that sucks the oxygen out of the air around you and the radiation presents in the form of flu-like symptoms’.
Glenn and Louise Munro
Ms Munro, a former nurse, is another of the ‘Ladies of Lore’ who meet to speak on conspiracy theories about coronavirus.
She in May threw her support behind former My Kitchen Rules host Pete Evans, who spews conspiracies about everything from vaccines to covid-19.
Her husband Glenn is not shy about his belief that coronavirus is nothing but a government scam to control citizens.
Louise Munro, a former nurse, is another of the ‘Ladies of Lore’ who meet to speak on conspiracy theories about coronavirus
Her husband Glenn is not shy about his belief that coronavirus is nothing but a government scam to control citizens
‘A virus has been used to declare a ‘State of Emergency’, which gives our authorities autonomous power to do pretty much whatever the hell they choose,’ he wrote.
‘We have bills and shady deals going on through all levels of governments right now under the guise of a ‘State of Emergency’ declared due to a global ‘pandemic’.
‘Yet vast amounts of evidence is being uncovered every day which points to the ‘pandemic’ being nothing more than a media and Governmental beat up over a flu.’
A third of the ‘Ladies of Lore’, Ms Wilson also claims to have a former medical background while she spouts conspiracy theories.
In one of the videos with her three friends, she claimed old people who died of other illnesses but had coronavirus at the time were falsely listed as victims of the pandemic.
On Tuesday she also shared an email from the Victorian Health Department doing the rounds among members of the group.
‘There is currently no test available that 100 per cent positively identifies COVID-19 in a living human beyond reasonable doubt, as all diagnostic tests have a margin of error,’ it read.
Maureen Wilson claims to have a former medical background while she spouts conspiracy theories
They claimed this was proof that COVID-19 tests don’t work and the pandemic is a scam, but the margin for error is actually extremely small and does not invalidate anything.
‘This is not about a virus but an evil agenda, she wrote in another post.
‘They shut down the borders, separating us from the rest of Australia… Dictator Dan committing crimes against innocent people… when’s the food going to be stopped coming into Victoria Dan?
‘Quarantine is for sick people, for healthy people it’s Tyranny…
‘Detention is for those who have done a crime, what crime have these detained people committed?
‘Wake up Australia! We are being taken down a very dark path.’
Ms Wilson is also against ‘chemtrails’ (which are not real), vaccines, and fluoride, which she claims to have not used on her teeth in 25 years.
Carlos Zapata and Shae Rawson
The couple were caught by police in Melbourne without face masks and tried the same script as other conspiracy nuts.
Mr Zapata filmed a small part of the interaction with police where he was informed he was being fined $1,600.
He also claimed Ms Rawson was being arrested, but whether this actually happened was not clear.
‘Don’t let them try to step over ya. Their directives suck s**t. LAW IS LAW,’ he wrote in a long rant following the popular, and wrong, stance that public health directives aren’t legally binding.
Carlos Zapata and Shae Rawson were caught by police in Melbourne without face masks and tried the same script as other conspiracy nuts
‘Be respectful. Let them know you know you are being recorded, record them, state you are a sovereign being. You know your rights and you know what they got are directives and not laws.
‘If they send you a fine. Return to sender. Victoria police is a company. All fines go to Washington.
‘Australia is a corporation. And you are a stock. They got paid 250000 for. Your name in capitals is FICTITIOUS. They can’t touch you. It would be HIGH TREASON.’
The former bodybuilder is a key figure in conspiracy theory circles, holding talks on many subjects and organising followers.
His frequent videos question whether coronavirus is infectious and call the pandemic a scam aimed at bringing about a cashless society.
Former bodybuilder James Bartolo is a key figure in conspiracy theory circles, holding talks on many subjects and organising followers
Mr Bartolo runs The Conscious Truth Network, a hardcore conspiracy Facebook group where Kerry Nash originally uploaded her Bunnings videos.
The page reveals he believes the Moon landing was faked, vaccines are harmful, and laundry list of more than 20 other bizarre beliefs.
Mr Bartolo made headlines earlier this month when he was pulled over at a lockdown checkpoint and argued with police for 20 minutes about the legality of the operation, using the infamous script.
He then claimed COVID-19 was not contagious and refused to hand over his licence.
James Bartolo shared footage of the altercation on Facebook on Sunday after he was pulled over at a routine checkpoint while travelling in an unregistered Mustang
Mr Bartolo runs The Conscious Truth Network, a hardcore conspiracy Facebook group that’s about page reveals he believes the Moon landing was faked, vaccines are harmful, and laundry list of more than 20 other bizarre beliefs
Mr Bartolo went on to begin ranting about the officers’ role in facilitating the COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria.
‘Do you know the virus isn’t actually contagious?’ he asked. ‘That has been scientifically proven.
‘This whole COVID-19 is a f**king hoax. It’s a scam.’
The belligerent truck driver blasted through the NSW-Queensland border before finally being stopped on the other side.
The tattooed truckie filmed himself interacting with a fed-up policeman and a short segment of the 50-minute video was posted online to mock him.
The cop told him he had failed to provide ID at the border stop, to which the driver insisted he was never asked.
The video snippets showed the cop telling the driver he needed to give his details, and then trying to drag him out of the cabin after we refused numerous times
When the policeman told him ‘well I’m asking for you [to] now’, a bizarre exchange followed as the cop got increasingly sick of the driver’s nonsense.
‘You work for the corporation known as the Queensland Police… Am I a man?’ the truckie asked.
‘Well, what do you identify as?’ the policeman responded.
‘No, it’s a yes or no question, am I a man?’
‘It’s 2020, mate. What do you identify as?’
A second snippet of the video jumped to the policeman attempting to drag the driver out of his cabin and place him under arrest.
‘For what crime?’ the driver demanded.
‘You’ve been told 20 times, I’m hanging off the side of a truck,’ the exasperated policeman responded as he wrestled with his arm through the window.
‘Yes, and I have not committed a crime. You’re acting as an armed civilian outside your authority,’ was the truckie’s bizarre response.
Adam Thurrowgood apparently blasted through the NSW-Queensland border before finally being stopped on the other side
Another policeman identifying himself as a senior constable showed up and coaxed the driver out of his truck
Soon after, another policeman identifying himself as a senior constable showed up and coaxed the driver out of his truck.
The first policeman explained that the driver failed to state his full and correct name several times and wouldn’t get out of the truck.
The second cop told him he was being detained for a possible traffic breach, failing to stop at the border, and failing to provide details.
Queensland’s border has been open to the rest of the country since July 17 after months of closure, but anyone entering must sign a border declaration.
The border declaration pass, which can be issued in advance or at the border, states that the traveller has not been to a coronavirus hotspot, and that if they develop symptoms they will report for testing immediately.
Queensland’s border has been open to the rest of the country since July 17 after months of closure, but anyone entering must sign a border declaration
The border declaration pass, which can be issued in advance or at the border, states that the traveller has not been to a coronavirus hotspot, and that if they develop symptoms they will report for testing immediately
Anyone who has been in a hotspot, which includes all of Victoria, in the previous 14 days can’t enter unless they have an exemption.
Truck drivers usually fall under an exemption as essential services, but still have to fill out the border declaration.
Ervin Sumarwata and Bec Powell
The couple accused a policeman of ‘unlawfully trespassing’ and threatened to ‘go after you personally’ while the officer was carrying out a routine self-isolation check.
Leading Senior Constable Alex Riley arrived at the home only to be confronted by Ervin Sumarwata, 36, and Bec Powell, 37, living there in Kiama Heights, half an hour south of Wollongong in NSW.
The couple did not open their security door and immediately began filming the officer, demanding his full name, badge number, business card and even his personal liability insurance.
They repeatedly accused him of ‘trespassing without consent’ but Senior Constable Riley calmly explained he had a ‘lawful reason’ to be there before eventually leaving.
NSW Police said the couple ‘refused to provide details or respond to COVID-compliance questions’.
Ervin Sumarwata and Bec Powell accused a policeman of ‘unlawfully trespassing’ and threatened to ‘go after you personally’ while the officer was carrying out a routine self-isolation check
The video, which was uploaded to Facebook, begins with Senior Constable Riley introducing himself and asking if police officers have attended before.
Mr Sumarwata, a DJ, said ‘I’m not sure’ before confirming they have ‘had officers here’ in relation to the coronavirus checks.
Next, he demanded the officer’s full name and business card, prompting Senior Constable Riley to say: ‘No, I don’t have a business card.’
Ms Powell then chimes in, demanding Senior Constable Riley’s ‘personal liability insurance’.
‘I can give you my name and address, which is the police station, which is what I’m required to do,’ Senior Constable Riley replied, before beginning to write it down.
But the couple quickly became more agitated and the woman accused Mr Riley of trespassing on their property.
Not satisfied with Senior Constable Riley’s name, uniform and police station, the couple refused to answer any of the officers’ questions before he met their demands.
‘We’re not going after NSW Police, we’re going after to you. Because you are the person who walked onto my lot, trespassing without consent,’ the man said
‘I want to complain to you and then I’m going to go after you personally. Not the NSW Police, you!’
Ms Powell demanded to see Senior Constable Riley’s ‘personal liability insurance’.
The couple did not open their security door and immediately began filming the officer, demanding his full name, badge number, business card and even his personal liability insurance
Tired of the conversation going in circles, Senior Constable Riley then walked away from the property but the man continued to film him as he walked away.
The man and Senior Constable Riley eventually reached the front of the property, where there was a trespassing notice under the mailbox.
‘Can you read the sign?’ the man asked, prompting Senior Constable Riley to say ‘trespass notice’.
‘Did you just admit you trespassed on my property?’ the man fired back.
‘No, I have a lawful reason to be on your property,’ Senior Constable Riley explained.
‘Unlawful reason! I did not consent to you coming onto my property, because of this, look at this sign. No trespassing!’ he said.
Senior Constable Riley then walks to his police car with the man warning ‘don’t come back’.
The man repeatedly accused Mr Riley (right) of ‘trespassing without consent’ but Senior Constable Riley calmly explained he had a ‘lawful reason’ to be there before eventually leaving
NSW Police said Senior Constable Riley was on the property to ‘conduct inquiries in relation to self-isolation requirements’ as part of ‘proactive compliance operations’.
‘The officer announced his office to the occupants of the home – a 36-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman – who refused to provide details or respond to COVID-compliance questions,’ the spokeswoman said.
‘After numerous failed attempts to obtain basic information, the officer left the home and reported the incident to his supervisor.
‘Police will continue to conduct proactive visits to homes and businesses throughout the Illawarra – and across the state – to ensure compliance with all orders under the Public Health Act.’
A woman who was arrested by police for failing to wear a face mask in Melbourne has returned to the police station to demand officers remove her name from their files.
Ms Watergate, who is asthmatic claimed she was arrested by police on Friday because she was not wearing a face mask.
Chantal (pictured), who is asthmatic, said she was arrested by police on Friday because she was not wearing a face mask
‘I was arrested for not wearing a mask,’ Ms Watergate told a Facebook livestream on Monday.
‘I was handcuffed and taken down to a holding area where they searched my bag, went through all my belongings until they found my identification.
‘They took my identification without my consent, so I am about to serve them some paperwork.’
Ms Watergate was joined by ‘pandemic’ lawyer Peter Little as she presented documents at Dandenong Police Station, in Melbourne’s south-east, on Monday.
Mr Little wore a balaclava while Ms Watergate used an animal print scarf to occasionally cover her mouth as she spoke.
‘I’m serving them with a statutory declaration on my chronological order of the events of the 45 minutes of where it all took place, followed up by a notice of prohibition,’ she said before entering the station.
‘I’m hoping to just get my name off their records, that’s the outcome I want today. I’m not interested in suing at this stage but maybe we can look at that later.’
In the 40-minute long livestream, Ms Watergate is seen waiting inside the police station before speaking with an officer.
Pictured: Chantal speaks to a police officer at Dandenong Police Station on Monday
Ms Watergate was joined by ‘pandemic’ lawyer Peter Little as she presented documents at Dandenong Police Station, in Melbourne’s south-east, on Monday
She told viewers that she had a medical certificate for her asthma but it was not connected to her inability to wear a face mask.
‘I have a black mold issue in my apartment and to get out of my lease I needed to go get a certificate from my GP to say that I have asthma,’ she said.
‘I had that documentation in my phone and it was not accepted because on the certificate it did not state that it was going to affect my ability to wear a mask.’
Ms Watergate said the police officer questioned the severity of her asthma.
‘He has no right to dictate what my medical condition is and what it allows me to do,’ she said.
Mr Little filmed Ms Watergate as she spoke to a police officer about filing her paperwork.
‘There was a couple of things that happened that I wasn’t very happy with, one being that I was detained under no law. I was detained because I did not provide my personal details,’ she said.
‘Which under this, I will read this out to you, is unlawful.’
Ms Watergate said she was serving police a ‘statutory declaration on my chronological order of the events of the 45 minutes’
Ms Watergate then referred to a ruling from Justice Stephen Kaye in the Melbourne Supreme Court in November 2011.
He said it was an ‘ancient principle of common law’ that a person under arrest has no obligation to stop for police or answer their questions.
‘I just wanted to read that out to you because I want to make sure my records are removed,’ she said.
‘I want to hand that over and make sure that my name is removed from your records.’
Ms Watergate said she was ‘shaking’ as she spoke to the officer but she felt ’empowered’ afterwards.
Mr Baker filmed himself clashing with police after being told he couldn’t sit down in the dining room of a Melbourne McDonald’s.
Police were called to the venue after reports of a potential COVID-19 breach after the man sitting in the closed seating area of the store refused to leave.
Jason Baker claimed to police (pictured) that coronavirus safety sanctions are not law and cannot be enforced
Mr Baker claims he was verbally abused by a McDonald’s manager for insisting that coronavirus restrictive measures have not been passed through government and cannot be enforced as law.
‘So you’re going to attempt to enforce something you haven’t even personally seen written out and you’re going to enforce it as though its law?’ he said.
‘I believe in respecting people in their fear, but I don’t believe that we should be controlled based on people’s fear which always comes from insufficient correct evidence.
‘Just because I do my research correctly and have the right information to know what’s going on out there, does not mean that when I come into a shop an employee who hasn’t bothered to do the research has the right to boss me around.’
Mr Baker acknowledges he was sitting in a closed section of the restaurant, before relating COVID-19 government sanctions to Nazi Germany.
‘I’m willing to take a stand because if people don’t understand the history then they wont understand why Nazi Germany got away with what it did,’ he said
The man filmed a broad conversation with police in a McDonald’s restaurant in Victoria, where he claimed police are breaking laws themselves through coronavirus restrictions
‘If we don’t stand up now and do things in a lawful manner in order to put a stop to it, we will walk into the same environment.
‘I’m not allowed to sit in a store without having police sent to me, that’s pretty Nazi like isn’t it?’
Mr Baker claimed law enforcement have been deceived into breaking laws themselves through coronavirus restrictions.
‘If we have people who are not informed correctly in uniforms running around and enforcing something they have been deceived into enforcing but are actually being the lawbreakers themselves, that is not a healthy and correct system to be living under,’ he said.
‘Police should be in a place where they only are to enforce the law that they are confident that they understand.’
The man left the store without giving his details or receiving a fine.
Jodee, whose last name is not known, was one of two mothers who accused Victoria Police of ‘harassing’ them by not allowing their children to use a playground.
She and her friend were confronted by two police officers, one male and one female, at Lilydale Lakes Park in northeast Melbourne.
The friend was approached by the officers after she let her two children, both aged under five, play in a playground, which she said had no signage to indicate it was closed.
It is illegal to use playgrounds and skate parks in Melbourne, and people can be fined up to $1,652 if they fail to comply.
In an argument filmed by the angry mums, they even present a laminated copy of Victoria’s Human Rights Act to the unimpressed officers.
Jodee and her friend (pictured left with her daughter) were confronted by two police officers (pictured right), one male and one female, at Lilydale Lakes Park in northeast Melbourne at 2:17pm on Tuesday
The row began when the officers asked for the mother’s details, but Jodee’s friend refused, prompting the male officer to reportedly say: ‘If you don’t give me your details, how about I arrest you in front of your children?’
Terrified, the mother texted Jodee, who had just left to go to her car, to come back to the park.
Jodee came back with a copy of Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights Act 2006 and challenged the officers, arguing they were practicing their human rights.
It’s at this point that Jodee started filming her conversation with the officers, a video that was later uploaded to Facebook on Tuesday.
The video begins with the female officer explaining to Jodee that she is speaking to her friend because her children were playing on equipment.
‘What law is she (the other mother) breaking?’ Jodee asked.
‘She’s breaking the Chief Health Officer’s public health directions,’ the officer replied.
‘No, they’re directives, they’re not actual laws,’ the Jodee replied, prompting the police officer to point out there is legislation.
‘That’s legislation, that’s not a law,’ Jodee argued, prompting the officer to say ‘legislation are laws to us’.
Legislation is a law or collection of laws, which are set by parliament.
The officers asked for the mother’s details but Jodee’s friend refused, prompting the male officer (pictured, left) to reportedly say: ‘If you don’t give me your details, how about I arrest you in front of your children?’
She then said the children are allowed to play in the playground under Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 and handed the officer a laminated document.
‘I understand the Charter of Human Rights,’ the officer replied, before the mother said: ‘Well, you understand no one is breaking the law right now.’
The Charter of Human Rights Act reads: ‘Every person lawfully within Victoria has the right to move freely within Victoria and to enter and leave it and has the freedom to choose where to live.’
The new COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 limited a number of human rights during the state of emergency.
The Victorian government has deemed these limitations as ‘necessary, justified and proportionate’ in its statement of compatibility with the Human Rights Charter.
Australia does not have a Bill of Rights like the US, which means the government can limit human rights in times of emergency.
The video ends with the mothers going back to their cars and the police officers going their separate ways.
Script and manifesto anti-mask group uses to ignore cops
What does the script say?
The script spells out in great detail, step by step, what to say if they are pulled over while driving – such as at a border crossing or checkpoint in and out of Melbourne.
Followers are told to never wind their window down more than three inches – just enough to talk to police (who it refers to as ’employees of private Vatican-owned corporation’) and hand them documents.
Instead of answering any of the reasonable questions police will ask them, like where they are going to to provide details, they ask a series of questions from the list over and over until they get an answer.
The first three questions ask if they have disturbed the peace, have committed a crime, or are under arrest.
When the officers say they are not under arrest, the script says to reply: ‘As I have not committed a crime, nor am I under arrest, therefore I am free to go. Have a nice day.’
Police will then say they are not free to go, as their question won’t be over, which the script has predicted.
‘This now changes the game completely as they are now acting unlawfully and require your consent. Now we bait the trap to gather evidence,’ it reads.
The questions get increasingly bizarre from this point, beginning with ‘did you take an oath to uphold the law?’ and ‘do you agree I am a living man/woman?’
A policeman in Queensland had a snappy retort to this line of questioning, telling a truck driver who tried this script at the border ‘it’s 2020, what do you identify as?’
From here the script moves into the strange belief that police forces are private corporations, asking if the officer is acting as an employee of ‘the capital lettered private corporation VICTORIA POLICE’.
Officers will inevitably say yes, which the group believes is enough to let them state: ‘I decline to do business with your corporation and I object to your attempt to coerce a contract’.
Part of their whole theory is that laws can only be enforced with the ‘consent’ of citizens and police are merely trying to enforce a ‘contract’ followers don’t consider themselves a party to.
This is why members of this group often say ‘I do not consent’ in response to lockdowns and mask wearing directives.
The next step is to ask for the officer’s name, rank, and police station. If they don’t do so immediately, the script says to get another officer to come over and arrest their colleague under Crimes Act 1958 Section 456 AA subsections (4) and (5).
This is actually accurate in that an officer does have to provide this information or face a fine, but neglects to mention the citizen also has to give their name and address if police ask them.
The script then says to demand, in verbose language, that the officers provide them with written proof that they are able to detain them ‘when I have not disturbed the peace, nor committed a crime’.
Not wearing a mask, failing to provide details at a border checkpoint or traffic stop, and so on are usually just on-the-spot fines, but are technically crimes – meaning this is an invalid argument.
Regardless of this nonsense, the script says to inform the officers they are unlawfully detaining them and claim that because the officers have weapons they are supposedly committing aggravated armed kidnapping.
The follower is then to hand the police a ‘Schedule of Fees for Unlawful Stop and/or Detention’ that claims they are owed $50,000 plus $200 for every minute they are ‘detained’.
There are various escalators this document claims on top of that, ranging from $2,000 for threat of arrest or being handcuffed, to $50,000 for being hauled before court and $100,000 per day behind bars.
An ‘invoice’ for all this accrues three per cent interest per day and is bizarrely supposed to be paid in the equivalent value of sterling silver rather than actual money.
This document was concocted by someone referring to himself as ‘Apollo, Galactic Emissary also known as the living being John Robert, of the family Smith’.
It claims followers are ‘not a citizen, nor an alien’, do not consent to police authority, and ‘rebut any and all presumptions of law’.
But this is not the end of the script by a longshot. Next it describes what to do if they are asked to provide a driver’s license – ask the officer to define to word ‘driver’.
‘A driver actual is a person employed to drive for the purposes of transfer of goods or people. You are a traveller, travelling,’ it claims with maddening and nonsensical pedantry.
Advice about what to do in other situations, such as being threatened with arrest for refusing to provide their details, is fairly repetitive and follows the same line as above.
If the driver is asked to get out of the car, they are to say they don’t feel safe doing so as the police are armed and supposedly have no authority (in their eyes).
The driver is only to get out of the car if police repeatedly say they will use force to remove them.
‘As you have clearly stated you intend to use force to unlawfully remove me from my car, and, as you are armed and I have seen many video clips of police shooting dead people in cars, therefore I feel threatened for my mortal life and am now under extreme duress, therefore I surrender hor (sic) de combat,’ the script reads.
Hors de combat is a term used in international law to describe military personnel who are unable to fight, such as if they are sick or have crashed their fighter jet, and are granted special protections under the rules of war.
The script says at this point they are to say nothing, go with the officers peacefully, and keep track of how long they were detained so they can ‘invoice’ them later.
The script also contains a list of coronavirus-specific questions, including demanding scientific proof it is an infectious virus and whether whoever issued the directive they are disputing has the authority to do so.
What legal basis does this group claim to have?
The group claims state police laws are invalid because the Australian Constitution states that state laws are overridden by federal ones and, in particular, common law.
They claim pulling someone over and asking them questions without suspicion they committed a crime – such as a random breath test – are inconsistent with common law.
A document written by Mike Holt, which followers are told to print out and hand to police, cherry-picks three cases they claim backs up this position.
The first is Northern Territory Supreme Court case Regina v Banner (1970) that ruled police have ‘no power whatever to arrest or detain a citizen for the purpose of questioning him or of facilitating their investigations’.
‘If the police do so act in purported exercise of such a power, their conduct is not only destructive of civil liberties but it is unlawful.’
The second was a controversial ruling by the Victorian Supreme Court in 2011 that cleared a man of any wrongdoing for running away when police tried to question him about an unpaid restuarant bill.
Andrew Hamilton allegedly fled a Taco Bill in Melbourne after an argument over a $136 bill.
Justice Stephen Kaye noted that police had the right to ask for a person’s details if they were suspected of committing a crime and the person must answer.
However, Mr Hamilton ran off before officers had the chance to do so and therefore hadn’t committed any offence.
‘It is an ancient principle of the Common Law that a person not under arrest has no obligation to stop for police or answer their questions. And there is no statute that removes that right,’ Justice Kaye said.
‘(The Crimes Act) does not contain any provision which expressly empowers police to detain a suspect, or take a suspect into custody, for the purposes of questioning the suspect.
‘The conferring of such a power on a police officer would be a substantial detraction from the fundamental freedoms which have been guaranteed to the citizen by the Common Law for centuries.’
The third case cited is a ruling in 2013 by Victorian Magistrate Duncan Reynolds that cast doubt on the legality of random police stops.
‘There is no common law power vested in police giving them the unfettered right to stop or detain a person and seek identification details. Nor, is s.59 of the (Road Safety) Act a statutory source of such power,’ he said.
The case was prompted by two African men being randomly stopped by police, and one being charged with assault when the situation escalated.
The man’s own lawyer conceded that the ruling didn’t apply to random breath tests as that power is explicitly spelled out in statute.
The big flaw in these arguments being applied to mandatory mask wearing and border checkpoints is that police would have a reasonable belief that anyone who didn’t comply had committed a crime, and could therefore be asked to provide details.