“At Simonds we stand together with the rest of Victoria and remain committed to stopping the spread of COVID-19.”
Those words were posted on construction giant Simonds Group’s website at the start of stage four restrictions in Melbourne on August 2 – just a week before group executive director Mark Simonds set sail with members of his family for Queensland on his yacht the Lady Pamela. Also on board was Hannah Fox, whose father, Peter Fox – executive chairman of Linfox – had already made his way to the Sunshine State under a quarantine exemption for truck drivers.
When challenged, Mr Fox told reporters, “I am allowed to reside here. It’s completely official.” Yet while it may be that wealthy Australians have remained within the letter of the law when it comes to restrictions on movement, we believe the spirit of that law is being abused in ways that undermine governments’ message that, as a nation, we are all in this together. If the Simonds Group does “understand the key role we play in the state’s economy and the responsibility that comes with this for our customers, our staff and the wider community”, as its August 2 message put it, its boss has a funny way of showing his solidarity.
Late yesterday, the Queensland government revoked its decision to allow the Lady Pamela group a quarantine exemption, forcing them into a two-week lockdown.