Adjournment Matters No 1140
59 Parliament First Session
Asked: 18 February 2021


MR LIMBRICK — To ask the Minister for Training and Skills (for the Minister for Police and Emergency Services): My adjournment item is for the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. At a human rights rally outside Parliament House on Cup Day last year in November, the police used a tactic called kettling. They did this by surrounding around 400 people, including me and a number of bystanders, linking arms and squashing us all together, shoulder to shoulder, in a number of tight groups that could be likened to mosh pits. We were forced to stand tightly together for between 3½ and 4 hours. After 2 to 3 hours police filled buckets with water, dipped cups in the water—using hands they had used for handling people—and handed cups out to the protesters. Could the minister please provide details about what consultation has occurred between the Department of Health and Human Services and Victoria Police about these matters before or since this event on 3 November?
Answered: 16 March 2021

Mr PEARSON (Essendon—Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Regulatory Reform, Minister for Government Services, Minister for Creative Industries):

Hundreds of people attended the anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne on Tuesday 3 November 2020. At the time of the protest, Victoria was in the second step of restrictions and, as per the Chief Health Officer’s directions, public gatherings could consist of no more than 10 individuals. This protest was in breach of those directions.

Police arrested 404 people and issued 395 penalty notices for breaches of Chief Health Officer directions during the demonstration. The processing of arrested persons took considerable time during which police moved many to the shaded sides of the road and assisted those with needs in the first instance. Victoria Police handed out cups of water to arrested persons, as previously provided bottled water was being thrown at police and others.

Department of Health Authorised Officers were not present at the protest, which was consistent with the approach to protests throughout 2020. No further advice has been provided by the Department of Health on this matter.