There are calls for harsher penalties to combat the spread of misinformation online, including huge $11,000 fines for posting on social media, amid reports of a second anti-protest rally being planned.
As Covid-19 case numbers continue to surge in NSW, the State Opposition wants tougher, targeted public health orders to crack down on anti-lockdown rally organisers and viral social media spruikers.
These include $11,000 fines for people sharing information on social media about illegal rallies and inciting others to illegally attend.
Under the plan, protest organisers would be slapped with whopping $20,000 fines.
Unlawful attendees would face fines of $5,500, an increase from the current $1000 penalty.
Shadow Police Minister Walt Secord said these fines would smash those who operate on the fringes through their anti-vaxxer and far right-wing networks.
“We should throw the book at these idiots who spread misinformation and lies along with the Delta variant,” Mr Secord said.
It comes after Police Commissioner Mick Fuller warned of “online chatter” on a possible second protest this Saturday. Commissioner Fuller described them as “anarchists” who would not respond to court injunctions.
NSW Government increases fines and police presence as second lockdown looms
Fines for not wearing a mask will more than double as part of a bolstered law enforcement response to the Covid-19 crisis in NSW.
Thousands of extra officers will hit the streets across Greater Sydney to enforce tighter controls, as authorities grapple to contain the growing outbreak.
Police have also been handed greater powers to close down business, construction sites and other premises not complying with health orders.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the time for warnings is over.
“I know 99 per cent of the population are furious with the minority who continue to disregard the health orders, and put the safety and livelihoods of families at risk,” Mr Elliott said.
“Crime Stoppers received more than 15,000 calls and reports providing information following last weekend’s illegal protest. Police made it clear from the start, they want to educate – not fine – members of the community but the 15,000 calls to Crime Stoppers is a clear message to the government that the community expects action.”
'Horse-hitter' at Sydney protest refuses Covid test
An alleged Sydney anti-lockdown protester accused of striking police horse Tobruk is stuck behind bars after refusing to get a COVID-19 test to appear in court.
Kristian Pulkownik, 33, is yet to formally apply for bail after he was arrested on Saturday following a march in Sydney's city centre where thousands defied coronavirus restrictions to attend.
He did not appear on screen for a second time this week at Sydney's Central Local Court on Thursday when his matter was mentioned.
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