Gold Coast rallies as small business revolts against Palaszczuk’s ‘mandate’
By TONY MOBILIFONITIS
SE Queensland small business operators who refuse to discriminate are being harrassed and bullied by the Palaszczuk regime cops, dictatorial bureaucrats with the Murdoch media crowd cheering them on, but the businesses and the people are fighting back.
Just two days before Christmas and people were out on the street demonstrating in suburban Ormeau between Brisbane and the Gold Coast in support of a popular coffee and food outlet called NoEgo.
The business own Dan Salter advertises his cafe as open to all, as do a growing number other service businesses who are part of two campaigns called Undivided Gold Coast and Gold Coast Businesses Who Welcome All.
Palaszczuk and her cronies are desperately trying to make an example of a business defying the state’s ban on unvaccinated access to certain designated businesses, but they picked on the wrong guy in Salter, who was visited by two uniformed cops last week and again by cops accompanied by officers from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation who aggressively questioned him.
After the first visit, word quickly got out and NoEgo was flooded by customers, many of whom had to wait two hours for their orders. It didn’t matter. The people are voting with their wallets and the dictators are losing. On Thursday the flood of supporters forced NoEgo to run out of stock by 1pm – an hour before closing.
Salter questions the government’s use of the term “mandate”, which implies a contract requiring consent. “A mandate is a contract by which a lawful business is committed to the management of another, and by him undertaken to be performed gratuitously,” Black’s Law Dictionary states.
Salter told police he supplied all the necessary information to those who wanted to check in and asked that they show him the law in regard to enforcing the so-called mandate. The Liquor and Gaming officers returned to issue a fine.
The harrassment spread up to Mt Tamborine on Thursday as well, where the outdoor-indoor Monkey Tree Restaurant had a visit from the police. Locals turned up in force almost immediately.
Other venues have been visited by the cops including Artichoke at Sanctuary Cove, which has been ordered to close for refusing the mandate. They are getting legal advice and local people have also been supportive. Ms Claude’s Crepes at Westfield Coomera has had to adapt to the situation after feeling the intimidation. They have gone to take-away only while making clear their anti-discrimination stance.
Locals are now well aware of the harrassment, based upon Salter and others’ stand against discrimination and have been coming out to support his business. Murdoch media headlines about “shocking” numbers of businesses not checking vaccination status is merely fueling the fightback.
Businesses are quite happy to make QR code check-ins available but draw the line on asking for medical status, which is actually prohibited under the Federal Privacy Act but claimed to be some sort of required performance under chief health officer orders.
Gold Coast Businesses Who Welcome All is advertising work wanted with excellent reponses. Could it be the beginning of a truly free market throwing off the shackles of bureaucratic control of small business as practised by government, councils and corporate industry groups?
Late in November Undivided Gold Coast gathered a crowd of some 1000 at a night-time protest meeting on the Gold Coast. They offered businesses a choice of notices, the first for people willing to take a stand and boldly display that they “will not discriminate”.
The group’s other sign protects owners to an extent as it shows compliance with the mandate by asking for vaccination status, while also signalling to customers that they won’t be kicked out. Grace Harrison from Undivided Gold Coast says she understands that business operators are fearful of fines but whether these fines will even upheld in court is questionable.
As previously reported by Cairns News, Victoria’s fines for individuals and businesses disobeying the orders of the chief health officer were essentially intimidation and not upheld by the courts when challenged.
Ms Harrison says the wording of the government’s mandate makes it clear that they expect business owners to “take reasonable steps to enforce restrictions”, but there is no forceful mandate stating that owners must ensure that no unvaccinated people enter.
“To demonstrate that they have taken reasonable steps, they can ensure they have a QR code visible and ask for vaccination status, while also affirming that the customer can legally refuse to show this,” she said.
Ms Harrison is organising dozens of volunteers across the city to approach the restricted access venues. She says it’s imperative to reach out to as many restricted businesses as possible, to extend the group’s support and “encourage them to choose inclusivity”.
“I believe many business are pro-choice, but are fearful that they will be alone in their stance. Undivided Gold Coast is here, with the force of the community, to say we have their back,” she wrote on the group’s social media page.
The group has provided a guide for the volunteers on how to address the affected business owners who run restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs, bars and the like. Retail or essential service businesses are not included. Business owners will be asked if they are against the discrimination being mandated in the state, and whether they would like to let their customers know.