COVID LIES: Victorian Minister repeats VicPols's COVID advice

Victorian Police Minister has been repeating VicPol LRD’s Covid lie…

COVID LIES: Victorian Minister repeats VicPol’s COVID advice

27 September 2020|Coronavirus, Victorian Government

VICTORIA’S POLICE MINISTER, Lisa Neville, has given evidence at the state’s Hotel Quarantine Inquiry that showed her unfortunate lack of awareness about the Victorian hotel quarantine program disaster.

Now she has provided a written response to a question on notice in Parliament that shows a similar lack of awareness about what her firearms registry is doing.

We have already told you how a senior LRD officer has been telling firearm groups that the NSC’s information that LRD has been suspending shooters licences just for receiving a COVID 19 Fine is not true.

Some shooting organisations have reposted the LRD’s claim. Now we have proof that the LRD has been misleading its own Minister.

Victorian Police Minister

On the 4thSeptember 2020, Tim Quilty MP, raised the issue of LRD suspending licences for COVID fines in Parliament again.

Tim finished by asking “ when will the Minister reign in and reform the out of control LRD?”

A video of Tim’s question can be seen on Facebook by clicking here .

The response that Tim received from Minister Neville said, in part:

“ I have been advised that a single breach of a COVID 19 directions will not result in the suspension of a firearms licence, but may lead to a warning, as one of several factors that are assessed to determine whether an individual is suitable to hold a licence.”

The Minister has repeated the message that getting a COVID 19 fine won’t result in licences being suspended. That is not true. You will remember the story of young Riley. We helped him get this licence back but not until after Victoria Police suspended his licence for a single COVID fine

Here is an excerpt from his Notice of Suspension.

Here is an excerpt from the email he received advising his licence will be reinstated:

This is just a quick notification that your submission has been reviewed and licence reinstated. You should receive a letter and plastic licence shortly. Our records indicate that you were issued a COVID breach infringement on the 1stof August 2020 by xxxxxxxxxx from xxxxxxxxxx Police. The incident has been assessed as low level and your overall good character is acknowledged.

We also posted a screenshot from a ‘ warning’ letter that the Victorian Registry gave another shooter “P”, after they withdrew a fine that they had issued in error. Here’s that one again:

What is interesting though, is that the Minister’s advice does point to the prospect of a licence warning for a simple COVID breach. Victoria Police had earlier said warnings would be given where the conduct is ‘blatant’ and ‘deliberate’, so the fact warnings may now be given where that is not the case does seem to be a change in position.

How many Victorian shooters have been affected?

Whilst the Victorian Registry is hardly likely to tell us numbers, the NSC understands the number of COVID breach fines issued to shooters is “substantial and in the hundreds”.

We have again written to the chair of the Victorian Firearms Consultative Committee, Mr Paul Edbrooke MP, who is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Police and Emergency services.

We have asked him to ask Victoria Police to reissue the earlier advice they circulated on August 28 advising them of their COVID policy but this time acknowledging “the basis on which they have been suspending licences and reprimanding shooters and an explanation for their actions.”

It will be interesting to see if they do this – and if their language changes.

While it is easy to attack Ministers, we see the real problem here as being registry officers who are telling firearm shooting groups that they aren’t targeting shooters over mere COVID breaches but are doing just that. All safe in the knowledge they can hide behind their badges and without the accountability that MPs have to face.

That said, once a minister is aware of a problem, they no longer have any excuses.

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