Aussie State Leader Dan Andrews Fined $400 for Not Wearing Face Mask

By Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson
Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia, with a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him at caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au
October 8, 2021 Updated: October 8, 2021

The premier of the Australian state of Victoria, Dan Andrews, whose capital city Melbourne drew international attention in September for its harsh police response to protests against COVID-19 restrictions, has been fined $400 by police for not wearing a face mask.

Victoria Police on Friday afternoon confirmed that Andrews had been fined $200 each time for breaching the state’s mask mandate on both Wednesday and Thursday this week. Both times he was caught without a mask as he approached his daily press conference.

“Victoria Police can confirm it has issued two infringement notices to Premier Daniel Andrews for breaching Chief Health Officer directions,” a statement read.

Andrews had earlier apologised after a video and photo emerged of him not wearing face masks, which prompted police to investigate.

In a statement to News.com.au, Andrews earlier said that he would pay any fine from police if he was found to have breached public health orders; otherwise, he would have donated the equivalent amount to a charity.

“I am aware that as I approached two press conferences at the back of Parliament House this week, I removed my mask after leaving the car, before I walked to the back doors,” he said.

“I expect Victoria Police to assess this, and if they choose to issue a fine, of course, I will pay it.

“If they do not issue a fine, I will donate the same value to a charity working to support people in this pandemic because whilst this was an oversight, oversights matter—everyone needs to follow the rules, and I am sorry it occurred,” he said prior to being fined.

Video by a local Seven News reporter caught the incident on Thursday, while a News Corp reporter snapped a photograph of the mask-less premier on Wednesday.

In Victoria, anyone 12 years and over must wear a fitted face mask whenever they leave their home, indoors or outdoors, unless a lawful exception applies, according to the state government.

Five million people in that state are subject to stay-at-home orders, that only permit them to leave their homes—while wearing a mask—for five reasons. Those reasons are shopping for necessary goods and services, care and caregiving, exercise, authorised work or permitted study, or to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Under orders from the state’s chief health officer, masks must also be worn while riding public transport or taking a taxi or rideshare services for one of the five permitted reasons.

People who do not wear a face mask when required to can be fined $200.

Caden Pearson is a reporter based in Australia, with a background in screenwriting and documentary. Contact him at caden.pearson@epochtimes.com.au