NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian reveals freedoms will be extended only for vaccinated people. Video / Sky News Australia
Tony Abbott has complained that it should not be part of the Australian character to “dob people in” after he copped a $500 fine for not wearing a mask at Manly.
The former Prime Minister found himself on the wrong end of the long arm of the law on Friday night after a furious beachgoer whipped out her mobile phone and fired off several images of him earlier in the week.
Earlier today, Abbott told reporters that he did not believe he had broken the law, but that he would not challenge the fine.
“I just want to say two things. First, I believe that I was well within the law, reasonably interpreted,” he said.
“But I am not going to challenge the fine because I am not going to waste police time.
“Second, I never thought dobbing and snitching was part of the Australian character.
“I think as soon as we can leave this health police state mindset behind us, the better for everyone.”
But the woman who dobbed Abbott in to police told news.com.au that his claims she was unAustralian for reporting the incident were laughable.
“Absolute hypocrisy. Under Tony Abbott’s reign he continuously called on Australians to dob in people,” she said.
When he was PM, he launched a hotline literally called “dob in a dealer” https://t.co/lKvBoBBisR https://t.co/96etZ7hSn1
— Josh Taylor (@joshgnosis) September 11, 2021
“Now that Tones has been ‘dobbed in’ he’s calling members of his community Stasi-like? Don’t the rules apply to him?”
Abbott previously complained about the readiness of people to “dob and snitch” on those who didn’t wear masks just weeks before copping his own fine.
“There are aspects of contemporary Australia, which I personally find a little bit unsettling,” he told the Institute of Public Affairs.
“The readiness of people to dob and snitch on their neighbours worries me a lot, frankly.”
Abbott then compared people who dobbed in fellow citizens with the reviled East German secret police.
Former Aussie PM Tony Abbott was spotted in Manly without his mask. Photo / Supplied”If you’re walking down the street and you see someone come out of his house without a mask and you call the police, well, frankly, that’s just Stasi-like behaviour,” he said.
But while declining to comment on individual cases, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard today suggested he should cop it sweet.
“It does not matter who you are, whatever station you have in life, there are orders, nobody likes to have these orders but it is to keep everybody safe and I hope people will comply with the orders,” he said
NSW Police slapped Abbott with the $500 fine after he was snapped chatting with a friend at the beach by a concerned bystander who promptly took photographs and reported him to police.
The woman made a statement to Manly police on Friday morning and also supplied photographs of the alleged breach.
“A 63-year-old man was issued a $500 Penalty Infringement Notice on Friday (September 10, 2021), for failure to comply with wearing face covering directive,” the NSW police said in a statement.
“Police will allege the man did not wear a face mask while in public at Fairy Bower, Manly Beach, on the morning of Wednesday, September 8, 2021.”
News.com.au has contacted Abbott for comment on the fine and whether he will dispute the infringement notice.
It’s not the first time he’s been dobbed into police over alleged breaches. In December, he was cleared by police after residents spotted him on a bike ride that appeared to be outside his zone of residence on the northern beaches. At the time, NSW police investigated but said he was not in breach of any health orders at that time.
Earlier this week, Abbott argued he was not in breach of the mask rule because he had originally attended the beach to go surfing and catch some “magic waves” which he noted “is exercise”.
He was then overheard apologising to his friend as he realised his error.
“S**t I don’t have my mask,” the former PM was overheard saying.
But Abbott told news.com.au that he believed he was completely within the rules even under the current “oppressive regime”.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott arrives at Auckland Airport on his first official visit to New Zealand. Photo / Dean Purcell”I went out for a surf on the beautiful Bower. Caught a couple of magic waves,” he said.
“And yeah, it’s a perfect day in Sydney. Just a pity we’re all bloody suffering lockdown conditions.
“Apart from that, it’s as good as it can be.
“Look, I regard myself as having been at all times within the rules. I was surfing. That’s exercise. I was with one other person. That’s permitted. I then walked briskly to the coffee shop, that’s permitted.
“I didn’t have a mask on while I was drinking coffee. That’s permitted. So, all ridgy didge even under the current rather oppressive regime.”
There is currently a $500 fine for adults in NSW that fail to comply with a direction to wear or carry a mask.
The person who took the photograph of Abbott told news.com.au that Abbott was still chatting without his mask after they returned from a dip in the ocean around 9am.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity she confirmed she would make a statement to police.
“Nothing says mockdown more than an ex-PM flaunting around without a mask,” she said.
“It’s okay for him, but what about everyone else who has been fined by the police? What about all the kids that can’t be vaccinated?
“When the Premier says ‘people should use their judgment’, this shows that even a former leader of this country can’t even be trusted to use his judgment.”
Abbott is the latest in a long line of politicians papped maskless by concerned citizens in recent months.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was fined $200 for failing to wear a mask in breach of covid orders in June.
Local constituents dobbed him into the police after he was spotted in a petrol station in Armidale without a mask.