OPINION: Lawrence Gordon Petersen, 63, and Edith van Dommelen, 68, leaving the Richlands Magistrates Court after being charged with fraud and failing to comply with border directions. Picture: Tara Croser.
OPINION: Lawrence Gordon Petersen, 63, and Edith van Dommelen, 68, leaving the Richlands Magistrates Court after being charged with fraud and failing to comply with border directions. Picture: Tara Croser.

OPINION: Why alleged border dodgers should be named

THIS week two people charged over alleged border dodging had their day in Richlands Magistrate Court, with their faces plastered across news sites across the country.

Pet sitters Lawrence Gordon Peterson, 63, and Edith van Dommelen, 68, originally from Perth, had been found in Nanango after police alleged they falsely declared they had not travelled to a COVID-19 hotspot.

It’s alleged they had both crossed the border at Goondiwindi on July 27.

In the past several weeks we’ve seen several alleged people flee from quarantine or confirmed interstate hot spots being named in the media.

Olivia Winne Muranga and Diana Lasu, both 19, were identified after they travelled together from Melbourne via Sydney to Brisbane, with multiple health warnings issued the week after they contracted the virus.

Olivia Muranga and Diana Lasu travelled to Melbourne and have become the state's first positive cases outside of quarantine since May.
Olivia Muranga and Diana Lasu travelled to Melbourne and have become the state's first positive cases outside of quarantine since May.

Toowoomba man Aaron Sydney Green then fled mandatory 14-day quarantine on August 10, before being apprehended by police and subsequently fined.

He had also travelled from a declared coronavirus hotspot.

There has been extensive ethical debates surrounding with naming and shaming people who continually flout laws during this pandemic.

The height of these debates occurred when the Melbourne teenagers featured on the front page of the Courier Mail on July 20.

We’ve weathered so much of the coronavirus storm, yet we’re still encountering individuals who are putting their own needs ahead of those in the country.

Lawrence Gordon Petersen, 63, and Edith van Dommelen, 68, leaving the Richlands Magistrates Court after being charged with fraud and failing to comply with border directions. Pics Tara Croser.
Lawrence Gordon Petersen, 63, and Edith van Dommelen, 68, leaving the Richlands Magistrates Court after being charged with fraud and failing to comply with border directions. Pics Tara Croser.

The simple process of writing truthful information on some documents appears to be too hard for dozens of people, with similar incidences appearing each week.

Since March, Australia has been bombarded with ad campaigns, police threats of huge fines, and educational messages about the need for social distancing, and knowing the coronavirus symptoms.

Now with our borders closed to NSW, VIC, and ACT, there has been extensive messaging around what those coming back to Queensland need to do.

The fact we’ve had multiple scares throughout the state because of alleged breaches is appalling.

We’re still lucky in Queensland we haven’t been hit by a second wave which was also caused by alleged negligence in July.

READ MORE:

Why accused border dodged avoided full quarantine

Qld COVID teens threw ‘illegal’ party in Victoria

Where Toowoomba man went after quarantine escape

If Australians still aren’t getting the message from government and police messages, then perhaps brandishing their name across media sites can be used as a deterrent.

Since its inception, newspapers have worked to hold those responsible for alleged crimes accountable, why should those allegedly flouting travel restrictions be treated any differently?


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