A woman who breached Bunnings policy by refusing to wear a mask has filmed herself berating workers and threatening to sue the hardware chain over the rule.
The outburst is believe to have occurred at the Narre Warren Bunnings store in Melbourne’s south east on Friday, a day after the state government made face masks mandatory for residents in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire while out in public.
The video of the extraordinary rant was posted on Facebook on Sunday as Victoria recorded 459 new coronavirus cases and ten deaths, prompting Daniel Andrews to slam a disturbing wave of ‘selfish’ residents who are refusing to wear masks.
Additional videos showed the shopper in a heated debate with police outside the store.
The footage began with the woman filming as she briskly walks through the store while an employee can be heard tailing behind her.
‘Excuse me,’ the worker called out, trying to get her attention.
‘Excuse me, you need a mask on.’
The woman turned around and stormed toward the Bunnings staff member.
‘I beg your pardon?’ she said in hostile manner, drawing the camera up towards the employee’s face.
‘It’s alright,’ the worker said calmly, trying to diffuse the situation.
‘I was just asking if you have a mask.’
The woman retorted: ‘Well it is clear I don’t, and you are not authorised to ask me or question me about it.’
The worker asked the woman if she would like to discuss the issue with her manager, before guiding her to speak with her boss.
When the manager informed the woman she must have a medical certificate to be permitted in the store without a mask, the woman unleashed a tirade about how the store’s policy is illegal and she is being discriminated against.
‘Actually I don’t need a medical certificate,’ she said, as the manager politely requested she stops filming.
‘No. I am allowed to do this and your discriminating against me.’
‘We are not discriminating against you, we are just all trying to be in this together,’ the manager replied. ‘And we all just need to wear a mask.’
‘All in what together? You are not authorised by the Australian government to even question me about it,’ she claimed.
A male member of staff chimed in to tell the woman it is a condition of entry to their store, prompting the woman to bizarrely claim the company’s rule is sexist.
‘Well then that is discrimination and I can have you sued personally for discriminating against me as a woman,’ she said.
‘We are not discriminating against anyone, it is a condition of entry to all Bunnings store, we require everyone to wear a mask,’ he said.
‘You are,’ she continued, ‘it is an unlawful condition of entry.’
‘Therefore that exposes you personally and Bunnings to being sued for discrimination because it is in breach of the 1948 Charter of Human rights to discriminate men and women.’
The male employee then calmly asked her to stop filming multiple times, all of which she refuses, citing the necessity of the recording as vital evidence of the ‘discrimination’ against her.
The woman then told the man she will be proceed to shop in the store and there is nothing they could do to stop her because the regulation is ‘illegal’.
Other videos posted on Facebook show the woman later being arrested by two police officers outside in the Lauderdale Road car park.
After being handcuffed, the woman handed over a medical certificate to show she has an exemption from wearing a face mask.
When more officers arrived at the scene, the woman had her handcuffs taken off but launched into a debate with officers as to why her arrest was unlawful.
She claimed legislation in place allowing police to arrest her was not voted upon by Australians or approved by the monarch.
‘You’re talking about legislation that hasn’t been presented to parliament three times, we the people haven’t given our consent to act under it, and it hasn’t been consented by the queen,’ she said.
‘That legislation is fraudulent. It doesn’t apply to me.’
‘Legislation and acts can’t apply to living humans. They only apply to dead people.’
Growing impatient, the sergeant said he was not going to argue over her ‘opinion’ about the law.
‘That’s your personal belief, but that is not the law we work under,’ he said.
‘I am not going enter into an argument about what you believe the law is. That is a conversation between you and the judicial system.’
Police told the woman she is free to leave, and she asked for each officer’s details before they departed.
Bunnings announced earlier in the week that face masks would be required for customers in the Melbourne and Mitchell Shire stores as Victoria battles to contain a horror second wave of COVID-19.
The regulation coincided with the state government’s order that made masks mandatory for residents in those areas to wear while in a public places from Thursday.
Rick Sarre, the Adjunct Professor of Law and Criminal Justice at the University of South Australia, says Australian businesses have the right to require customers to wear face masks.
‘Australian law, quite simply, says that private landowners or occupiers can take reasonable steps to protect themselves, their employees and people on their property,’ he wrote in The Conversation.
‘So it would be legal for businesses – including cafes and supermarkets – to make it a condition of entry that customers wear a mask and sanitise their hands.’
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews had a scathing message for residents wasting police resources by debating about face masks.
‘If it was a genuine error, a sense of any confusion – police use good judgement,’ he said.
‘They are trying to be fair as they possibly can be, but if you are just making a selfish choice that your alleged personal liberty, quoting some, I don’t know, something you’ve read on some website – this is not about human rights.
‘There are 10 families that are going to be burying someone in the next few days. Wear a mask! It’s not too much to ask.
‘What’s more, the nurse who will be treating you or a loved one, they will be wearing a mask, so you wear one to prevent that nurse from having to treat more patients.
‘It can’t get any more serious than that. 10 families are currently planning funerals. And the youngest among them, this he have’ lost someone in their 40s.’
The video has since gone viral, racking up more than 1400 comments and over 600 reactions.
Australians flocked to the comments section to praise the stoic reaction of the Bunnings workers and slam the woman’s behaviour.
‘Well done to all the Bunnings staff for staying calm and professional through this!’ one person wrote.
‘This woman is a prime example of a really rubbish human being. She’d rather win an argument by bullying someone than think about how she’s making other people feel and putting them at risk.’
Another added: ‘She should show her own face if she thinks she is innocent. These staff did Bunnings proud. I hope they get recommended for it! We all don’t like wearing a mask but if it means we can get back to normal then so be it!’
The incident joins a growing list of videos circulating online from around the globe of people rebelling against COVID-19 regulations.
On Saturday, a Melbourne woman filmed an encounter she had with police who requested her details after she was found in public without face protection.
When she declined to hand over her identification, the officers told her she was under arrest and being taken back to the station.
‘I do not consent to that and I will be suing you personally. Not your department. You will be personally sued for $60,000 each,’ she said.
‘If you do arrest us we will be suing you for armed kidnapping.’
The videos uploaded onto the woman’s personal Facebook drew widespread criticism from the public.
In two other Melbourne altercations last week, a man filmed his incredible 22 minute argument with police after refusing to wear a face mask while a woman filmed herself driving past an officer at a police barricade.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Victoria Police for comment.