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What You Think

User Opinion Story
Anthony The Koala
2 April 2020 - 6:16am
An update as at 2-4-2020
This is a continuation of the media coverage in NSW of the "reasonable excuses" for staying outside the "house" during the current pandemic.

Recall that the NSW Government gazetted 16 "reasonable excuses" on page 13 of Schedule 1, of the "Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 [NSW] ", source https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/_emergency/Public%20Health%20(COVID-19%20Restrictions%20on%20Gathering%20and%20Movement)%20Order%202020.pdf, gazetted 31-03-2020.

One of the reasonable excuses is no 1 which is "...obtaining food or other goods or services for the personal needs of the household or other household purposes (including for pets) and for vulnerable persons".

What was not listed were other essential services such as banking, paying the bills at the post office, filling the car with petrol and mechanical repairs.

The sub-term in "reasonable excuse" no 1 is "....other goods or services for the personal needs....and for vulnerable persons"

In regards to the SMH, for example, the main article did not address this issue and neither was it addressed in the moderated comments section. Fortunately comments are moderated to prevent any kind of 'sledging' between commenters.

Even when one commenter at the SMH site asked a question about banking and car repairs, the reply was not answered. Source https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/six-months-in-jail-11-000-fine-for-leaving-home-without-a-reasonable-excuse-20200330-p54fg8.html#comments

On Ben Fordham's program (2GB, 1500-1800), a lot of the time was spent on callers wanting to know whether going to a partner's house in another location from the caller was allowed. There was some levity on whether one could read a book in a park. The answer was "....provided you do one situp between turning the pages..."

Importantly, Ben raised the very important issue about discussing such issues to a Minister from the NSW Government. NOT ONE MINISTER RESPONDED.

One of the topics that was drummed into students at the UNSW School of Law is the concept of the RULE OF LAW. Paraphrasing the Oxford Dictionary definition of the RULE OF LAW, where all members of society are equally subject to publicly disclosed legal codes and processes.

The issue is that while the gazetted document is publicly disclosed, the terms are vague. The processes involved are the enforcement of the law by our Police. The issue then becomes that invidual officers have the discretion to determine whether a citizen is infringing or not infringing a law.

Consequently, there may be inconsistencies in decisions based on the discretion of the officers who may find favour for one citizen but not for another citizen for the same set of circumstances. For a citizen that the officer was not in favour could take the matter to court.

Importantly, a source of litigation whether in the civil or criminal jurisdiction has been based on the meaning of a vague term whether in contract or in criminal law. Litigation means taking the matter to court and that imposes extra time on the courts and expense and anxiety imposed on the citizen.

Currently the courts are slowing down the number of hearings and are adapting to the methods of conducting hearings during this pandemic, source, https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/local-court-postpones-raft-of-sentences-in-response-to-covid-19-pandemic-20200325-p54dnl.html

As a result, the citizen wanting to litigate for an unjust decision by the officer, the wait will be longer and the anxiety increase.

If the Minister of Health could provide a more comprehensive list of reasonable excuses through to the Minister of Police then through the Commissioner and inform the rest of the Police Force that would reduce the risk of inconsistent decisions made by officers for same given set of circumstances.

Otherwise when the Minister of Health or Police do not answer calls by 2GB's Ben Fordham or other media sources including the state government's site, to clarify the vague terms in the gazetted document will result in officers giving inconsistent decisions based on the same set of circumstances.

The effect of very vague terms is has the same effect of uncertainty and arbitrary decisions, a lack of the rule of law.

Finally, in order to seek clarification on non-listed essential services under Schedule 1 of the gazetted item, I also contacted my local member and 2GB's Ray Hadley.

I have written to my local member, a former 2HD breakfast co-presenter and have not yet received a reply in regards to the interpretation of "reasonable excuse" No.1.

I have also written to Ray Hadley (2GB, 0900-1200) at 0619, 1-4-2020 and received a very kind reply from him directly at 0632, 1-4-2020 and believed that my circumstances which includes caring for someone would apply.

The only person who gave frank and honest information was Ray Hadley. I thank him.

Thank you,
Anthony of relieved Belfield
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Peter Lewis
1 April 2020 - 10:38am
It is April 1st isn't it?

That's what it says on our calendar, - Ed.
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Anthony The Koala
31 March 2020 - 8:02pm
This is related to broadcasting the latest gazetted order from the NSW Minister of Health regarding reasonable excuses for being outside the house, under page 13 of Schedule 1, of the "Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 [NSW] ", source https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/_emergency/Public%20Health%20(COVID-19%20Restrictions%20on%20Gathering%20and%20Movement)%20Order%202020.pdf, gazetted 31-03-2020.

What was broadcast on Ben Fordham's 2GB program 1500-1800 was notice to listeners of the 16 "reasonable excuses" as per schedule. The reasonable excuses ARE NOT EXHAUSTIVE.

The program seemed to raise apprehensions in me in regards to what is not listed as a "reasonable excuse". Some callers wanted to know if that if a person was stopped by a police officer that if a particular essential service not listed in the "reasonable excuses" 16 point list, then the person would be UNJUSTLY fined $11000 as per Explanatory Note, bottom paragraph, of the document.

I too am concerned that, going to the petrol station or mechanic, the post office to pay bills and going to the bank are not listed as a "reasonable excuse", or whether "reasonable excuse" no. 1 covers this.

The no. 1 "reasonable excuse" is "...obtaining food or other goods or services for the personal needs of the household or other household purposes (including for pets) and for vulnerable persons".

Mr Fordham left listeners in the air by not contacting the the NSW Health Minister and asking whether going to the post office, bank, petrol station/mechanic comes under the "reasonable excuses's term "....other goods or services...."

If Ben had asked the Health Minister whether other essential services such as banking, post office, petrol and mechanic come under the ambit of "...other goods or services...", my fears would be allayed.

Then the Minister could pass this clarification to our Police, instead of Ben saying something on air like "....they'll (the police) eventually figure it out...."

But during the "figuring out time" you don't want to be an innocent person fined $11000 for going to the bank, post office, buying petrol or going to the mechanic which are essential services and then having to go to court and resolve this issue.

By the presenter or journalist not contacting the Health Minister I was left up in the air. Similarly, I could say the same issue for the report in the Daily Telegraph and SMH. The "comments" section in the Daily Telegraph left me none the wiser.

Journalists or radio presenters leaving other essential services "up in the air" without contacting the Health Minister and asking these questions leaves the listener and reader in a state of apprehension.

In conclusion: RADIO PRESENTERS AND JOURNALISTS. YOU HAVE THE DUTY TO ASK QUESTIONS AND NOT LEAVE PEOPLE IN THE AIR IN REGARDS TO ACCESSING ESSENTIAL SERVICES NOT ELABORATED IN THE "REASONABLE EXCUSES" LIST OF SCHEDULE 1 .

Thank you,
Anthony of apprehensive Belfield





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Good on you Grant Johnstone innovation in adversity! Regional Radio Innovation Works for Local Businesses
Steve Owens
31 March 2020 - 6:16am
What a great idea.
Thanks for the idea and I hope you don't mind if I and some friends in our local LIONS club continue it.
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Anthony The Koala
30 March 2020 - 1:18pm
A brief biography of Mr Stanley John Bancroft can be found at http://www.memorial.act.gov.au/search/person/bancroft-stanley-john.
This includes his DOB, DOD, his time serving Australia during WWII, the events in history while working at the ABC, and reference to the book by Dawn Coleman.

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting Belfield
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StJohn
30 March 2020 - 11:34am
Thanks for documenting radio history, it doesn't happen often.
It is available on Ebay and at the National Library https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/237560128?selectedversion=NBD66436957
Adventures of a Radio Technician
Darren Moss
30 March 2020 - 10:46am
You can find more information about where to get this book here:
https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/32507585?q&l-format=Book%2FIllustrated&sort=holdings+desc&_=1585525203162&versionId=177362965
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StJohn
29 March 2020 - 3:23pm
Anthony.
The Canadians had L band but terrestrial not satellite. The reason they used L band is that they and the USA use TV channels 7 -13 for TV which is DAB channels 5A - 10D in the VHF band 3 which is much more likely to get through buildings, terrain and trees that L Band cannot. It was also DAB and not DAB+.
Interesting that it took the ACMA 9 1/2 months to release their response on a Friday when Parliament will not meet until August. This is a tactic that the ABC used to switch off high frequency broadcasting in NT and WA.
The ACMA has ignored the availability of TV channels 0 - 2 which are not longer used for DRM where there is now a 6 channel modulator on successive transmission channels this will allow 18 audio programs to be transmitted using a single band 1 TV transmitter. On the other extreme most regional commercial stations have an AM and an FM transmitter which could be replaced by a single DRM+ transmitter, giving stereo to the AM program and better sound.
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Anthony The Koala
27 March 2020 - 9:13pm
One remark about use of the L band for DAB+ transmissions. This was already discussed on this site elsewhere.

While some DAB+ receivers such as Pure's Siesta clock radio and the Toyota Camry's infotainment allow reception of the L-band, satellite transmission of DAB+ has failed in Canada.

In addition Mr StJohn mentioned that when a satellite signal is obstructed by a tree or rain or a building, then the reception fails. This is especially so when a simple dipole antenna is used in clock radios and cars compared to a high gain dish with a tracking servo which is expensive.

Thank you,
Anthony of exciting Belfield
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