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Australia’s deputy leader fined for not wearing a mask in violation of COVID-19 rules


SYDNEY, June 29 (Reuters) – Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister has been fined for failing to wear a mask at a gas station in violation of COVID-19 prevention orders, authorities said on Tuesday. most powerful person in the country to deal with compliance.

Barnaby Joyce, who returned as leader of the Nationals coalition partner a week earlier, was spotted on Monday by a member of the public paying for fuel without a mask in his electorate about 500 km (310 miles) north of Sydney , police said.

The person called Crime Stoppers, an emergency hotline, and officers went to the gas station where “investigations revealed that a 54-year-old man was not wearing a face mask in the store,” said New South Wales State Police in a statement.

Joyce, who was not identified in the police statement, was fined AU $ 200 (AU $ 151) for violating a public health order by not wearing a “tight-fitting face covering when” it was inside a commercial / commercial premises ”.

A spokesperson for Joyce was not immediately available for comment, but the outspoken member country confirmed the incident in an interview Monday with News Corp-owned cable broadcaster Sky News.

He said he was on his way to the airport, realized he forgot to buy fuel for his partner, “refueled the car, walked in, 30 seconds later it cost me $ 200 because I wasn’t wearing one (a mask), “he told the broadcaster, according to a News Corp. newspaper article.

“That’s life,” Joyce added.

The fine adds to a list of powerful public figures who have been fined for breaking virus containment rules.

In April 2020, the New South Wales Minister of the Arts resigned after being fined AU $ 1,000 for violating stay-at-home orders in the early days of the country’s anti-coronavirus response .

($ 1 = AU $ 1.3240)

Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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