Daniel Andrews has slammed conspiracy theorists who refuse to wear masks to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The Victoria Premier said the anti-mask campaigners were ‘appalling’ and their views have ‘no basis in science or fact or law.’
Over the weekend several Melbourne women posted videos of themselves entering shops without masks and arguing with staff when asked to leave.
The women falsely claim the public health order requiring masks was introduced to ‘control’ people rather than stop the spread of coronavirus.
‘The thing with conspiracy theorists, the more you engage in an argument with them, the more oxygen you are giving them,’ Mr Andrews said on Monday.
‘Ultimately, I think people can judge for themselves the credibility of people who are running those sort of keyboard warrior campaigns.’
Some of the women in the videos falsely claim they cannot be forced to wear a mask under human rights laws.
‘Seriously, one more comment about human rights – honestly. It is about human life,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘If we continue with this stuff, standing in the car park of Bunnings reading whatever nonsense you have pulled up from some obscure website…
‘The message that will save lives is not focusing on people whose behaviour is appalling.
‘Their views have no basis in science or fact or law. Don’t focus on them.’
It comes as Victoria records six deaths and 532 new coronavirus cases, its highest total ever.
Earlier on Monday Daily Mail Australia revealed that an ordained pagan exorcist is leading an army of ‘Bunnings Karens’ who are filming themselves arguing with vexed shop keepers across COVID-plagued Melbourne.
Psychic Elizabeth ‘Lizzy’ Rose is a self proclaimed high priestess witch who performs exorcisms for a living when not disrupting shopping aisles.
Ms Rose has emerged as one of the leaders of a group of Melburnians that have come to police attention since mandatory mask wearing laws were implemented last Thursday.
In videos of the exorcist posted on both her own Facebook page and that of the ‘army’, Ms Rose declares she will continue to travel through up to five Melbourne suburbs a day without wearing a mask.
Other videos show her burning face masks in a fire pit.
‘I will be walking the streets with no mask,’ she brags. ‘And I will be telling anyone who is interested to not consent. To not comply. To not put your life and your health at risk.’
In a long-winded rant posted on the day the bans kicked in, Ms Rose filmed herself walking down a street in Tullamarine – northwest of Melbourne – while not wearing a mask.
In the footage, she bizarrely claims the government actually hopes to kill Victorians by forcing them to wear masks.
‘This is about control, this is about submission, this is about compliance, this is about you doing what you’re told not about a killer virus,’ she said.
Another ‘Bunnings Karen’ filmed herself in a store in the Melbourne suburb of Narre Warren on Friday.
In a viral video, the woman accused staff at the store of abusing her human rights by politely asking her to wear a mask, and was briefly arrested after clashing with police outside.
New footage emerged on Sunday of the same woman ranting at a mask-wearing Australia Post worker.
‘I do not need a mask. If you could stamp that, it would be wonderful,’ the woman says as she approaches the Australia Post counter, her mobile phone camera already recording the startled employee.
The woman then berates the staff member, telling him he has no authority to ask her to wear a face mask while he quietly serves her.
‘I suggest you update yourself on what the Department of Human Services have put on with regards to masks and who needs to wear them,’ she says sternly.
‘And who also has the authorisation to actually ask for that evidence? Because it’s not you. Thank you.’