NSW Police have slapped former Prime Minister Tony Abbott with a $500 fine after being photographed maskless in Manly.
NSW Police have slapped former Prime Minister Tony Abbott with a $500 fine after being photographed maskless in Manly on Wednesday.
The infringement notice was issued after he was snapped chatting with a friend at the beach by a concerned bystander who promptly took photographs and reported him to the police.
The woman made a statement to Manly police on Friday morning and supplied photographs of the alleged breach.
“A 63-year-old man was issued a $500 Penalty Infringement Notice on Friday (10 September 2021) for failure to comply with wearing a 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 8 September 2021”.
News.com.au has contacted Mr. Abbott for comment on the fine and whether he will dispute the infringement notice.
It’s not the first time he’s been dobbed in to 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.
Earlier this week, Mr. Abbott argued he was not in breach of the mask rule because he had initially attended the beach to go surfing and catch some “magic waves,” which he noted, “ is exercise”.
He was then overheard apologizing to his friend as he realized his error.
“S**t I don’t have my mask,” the former PM was overheard saying.
But Mr. Abbott told news.com.au that he believed he was entirely within the rules even under the current “oppressive regime”.
“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 allowed.
“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.”
Mr. Abbott’s fine comes just weeks after he complained about the readiness of people to “dob and snitch” on those who didn’t wear masks.
“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 neighbors worries me a lot, frankly.”
Mr. Abbott then compared people who dobbed in fellow citizens with the reviled East German secret police.
“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 behavior,’ he said.
There is 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 Mr. Abbott told news.com.au that Mr. 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 the police.
“Nothing says mock down more than an ex-PM flaunting around without a mask,” she said.
“It’s OK 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.”
In recent months, Mr. Abbott is the latest in a long line of politicians papped maskless by concerned citizens.
In June, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was fined $200 for failing to wear a mask in breach of covid orders.
Local constituents dobbed him in to the police after being spotted in a petrol station in Armidale without a mask.