Vic premier fined $400 over maskless walks
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been fined $400 for breaching coronavirus restrictions after he failed to wear a mask as he arrived at parliament on two occasions this week.
Police on Friday confirmed they had issued two $200 infringement notices after footage emerged of Mr Andrews walking without a face mask as he arrived at parliament on Wednesday and Thursday.
On both days, Mr Andrews wore a mask as he was driven to parliament but took it off before he walked through the car park to awaiting media.
A government spokeswoman has confirmed the premier immediately paid the fines.
In a statement, Mr Andrews said before he approached two news conferences this week, he removed his mask "after leaving the car, before I walked to the back doors" (of parliament).
"I expect Victoria Police to assess this and if they choose to issue a fine, of course I will pay it," he said.
"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."
Under the chief health officer's directions, Melburnians aged over 12 must wear a fitted face mask whenever they leave their home, indoors or outdoors, unless a lawful exception applies, such as for broadcasting purposes.
Those caught breaking the direction face a fine of $200.
Treasurer Tim Pallas defended the premier, who he said had been "pretty diligent in terms of his behaviour" throughout the pandemic.
"I had a brief look at the footage and it looks like he is approaching a camera for the purpose of doing a piece to camera. You are allowed to not wear a mask for that," he told reporters at the daily COVID-19 briefing on Friday.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said most Victorians had "momentarily forgotten a mask" but noted Mr Andrews walked "some distance" without wearing his.
"He's done it in front of media, which is probably a bit silly but I will leave that to police," he said.
© AAP 2021