Liberal MP wants weekend rally demonstrators stripped of welfare

Black Lives Matter protesters could be stripped of their welfare payments under new calls from the government

  • Liberal MP Andrew Laming wants weekend demonstrators stripped of welfare 
  • NSW Supreme Court has banned Sydney refugee rally planned for Saturday 
  • Came soon after Melbourne Black Lives Matter demonstrator caught COVID-19
  • Unemployment benefits have been temporarily doubled during coronavirus 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

A Liberal MP has called for Australians taking part in illegal demonstrations this weekend to be stripped of their welfare payments – with unemployment benefits now doubled.

Refugee activists are vowing to ignore a New South Wales Supreme Court order banning a Sydney rally planned for Saturday. 

A Melbourne man in his thirties was yesterday confirmed as testing positive to COVID-19 after joining thousands at last weekend’s Black Lives Matter demonstration.

Brisbane-based Liberal MP Andrew Laming said those who defied bans on mass demonstrations this weekend, during the coronavirus pandemic, deserved to lose their welfare payments, with the JobSeeker payment temporarily doubled to more than $1,100 a fortnight.

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A Liberal MP has called for Australians taking part in illegal demonstrations this weekend to be stripped of their welfare payments - with unemployment benefits now doubled. Pictured is the Brisbane Black Lives Matter rally on June 6, 2020

A Liberal MP has called for Australians taking part in illegal demonstrations this weekend to be stripped of their welfare payments – with unemployment benefits now doubled. Pictured is the Brisbane Black Lives Matter rally on June 6, 2020

Brisbane -based Liberal MP Andrew Laming said those who defied bans on mass demonstrations this weekend, during the coronavirus pandemic, deserved to lose their welfare payments, with JobSeeker payment temporarily doubled to more than $1,100 a fortnight

Brisbane -based Liberal MP Andrew Laming said those who defied bans on mass demonstrations this weekend, during the coronavirus pandemic, deserved to lose their welfare payments, with JobSeeker payment temporarily doubled to more than $1,100 a fortnight

‘I’m asking Australians to reflect on the fact we’re paying COVID and health-related payments to get through a crisis but here we have rallies where people are blatantly ignoring clear and unambiguous advice,’ the member for Bowman told Sky News on Friday.

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‘I’m challenging those protesters who are doing that to hand back those payments in advance. 

‘You can’t simply collect from the taxpayer with one hand and risk infecting them with the other.’

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who previously described the Black Lives Matter rallies as ‘self indulgent’, suggested it would be worth considering a docking of welfare payments if protesters defied bans on large public gatherings.

‘That is a conversation that would be worthwhile having,’ Senator Cormann told Sky News on Friday.

Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul, an organiser of tomorrow’s Sydney rally in defiance of a court order, described the calls from Liberal MPs to dock welfare an ‘authoritarian’. 

‘It’s the response of authoritarians – it’s very obvious they want to use the COVID crisis on the right to protest. That’s unacceptable,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

Mr Rintoul said he expected 150 people to turn up outside Sydney Town Hall on Saturday afternoon despite NSW Supreme Court justice Michael Walton on Thursday banning their demonstration.

‘We’re still planning to go ahead in exactly the same form, we’re still planning to have a rally tomorrow,’ he said. ‘We believe it’s quite possible to have a safe rally.’ 

The NSW Police have vowed to impose $1,000 fines on those who disobeyed coronavirus public health orders.  

A Melbourne man in his thirties was yesterday confirmed as testing positive to COVID-19 after joining thousands at last weekend's Black Lives Matter demonstration. Pictured is that demonstration

A Melbourne man in his thirties was yesterday confirmed as testing positive to COVID-19 after joining thousands at last weekend’s Black Lives Matter demonstration. Pictured is that demonstration

Australia’s chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy yesterday described large gatherings like rallies as ‘extremely ill advised’ – pointing to advice from the government’s Health Protection Principal Committee which includes state chief health officers.

‘Large gatherings, large mass gatherings such as a protest are extremely ill advised,’ he told the ABC’s 7.30 program.

‘We think that they present a significant risk of transmission and a very significant risk because you can’t, you don’t know who you’re contacting and so we feel that people should be discouraged from attending such events.

‘We understand the passion that people have for wanting to protest, but we think it’s a really bad idea at the moment.’

Australia's chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy yesterday described large gatherings like rallies as 'extremely ill advised' - pointing to advice from the government's Health Protection Principal Committee which includes state chief health officers

Australia’s chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy yesterday described large gatherings like rallies as ‘extremely ill advised’ – pointing to advice from the government’s Health Protection Principal Committee which includes state chief health officers

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called for those defying future protest bans, during the COVID-19 pandemic, to be charged.

He has also pleaded with Black Lives Matter organisers to put off holding mass events in coming weeks.

Since the end of April, his government has temporarily doubled unemployment benefits, adding a $550 coronavirus supplement to the existing $565.780 JobSeeker allowance. 

Until September, jobless Australians are receiving $1,115 a fortnight, as part of a $66billion stimulus.

Workers affected by the coronavirus shutdowns are also receiving $1,500 a fortnight in wage subsidies as part of the $70billion JobKeeper program. 

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