Liberal MP Craig Kelly has compared the Victorian Government with Nazi Germany after a pregnant woman was handcuffed and arrested over an anti-lockdown Facebook post in the family home.
Zoe Lee Buhler, 28, was dramatically arrested and handcuffed in her pyjamas on Wednesday over the social media post that she has now described as “a bimbo moment” and deleted.
The Ballarat woman live-streamed her own arrest in a viral video that has now been viewed by millions insisting she had no idea the Facebook posts were illegal.
“I didn’t actually realise I was not allowed to do that though,” she said on Thursday.
“I suppose I had a bit of a bimbo moment and didn’t realise it wasn’t okay.”
Mr Kelly revealed he’s now helped to arrange free legal representation for the Ballarat mum, who was arrested in front of her child.
“I think it’s one of the most disgraceful things I have seen,’’ the Sydney MP told news.com.au.
“She’s pregnant. You’ve got a four-year-old child hiding under bed, she’s handcuffed? It’s a Facebook post. What country are we living in?
“Come on, there’s no way that can be justified. It’s disgraceful and unwarranted. Everyone I have spoken to is absolutely horrified.”
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Earlier, Mr Kelly took to Facebook to slam Ms Lee’s arrest, comparing Victoria Police with the Nazis.
“In Victoria, calling for a peaceful protest against government policy via Facebook, will see the police enter into your home, hand-cuff (even if you are a pregnant woman) and arrest you, and confiscate every mobile phone and computer in your home,’’ he posted.
“No it’s not Nazi Germany it’s happening in Australia in 2020. In fact, because I’ve reposted Zoe Lee’s post, if I crossed the Murray, I would face arrest in Victoria.”
Mr Kelly also revealed the woman’s family had contacted him last night and he had worked with John Roskam, from the Institute of Public Affairs, to arrange legal counsel for the woman.
Her partner James Timmins, 21, told The Ballarat News the woman had missed an ultrasound appointment as a result of the police raid.
“Very scary and as they took her away, that’s all I could think of, I hope she’s OK, the stress, she could miscarry and it’s very scary,” he said.
“She could even go to jail, that’s crazy.”
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius defended the actions of the officers involved today but admitted the optics were “not good”.
“I would be the first to acknowledge the optics, for want of a better description, arresting a pregnant female, it’s never going to look good,” Mr Cornelius said on Thursday.
“The optics of arresting someone who is pregnant is terrible.
“I’ve seen the footage, and you know, in my assessment, the members have conducted themselves entirely reasonably.”
The Facebook post that triggered the furore was titled “Freedom Day Ballarat” and urged locals to turn up for a protest in the regional town.
“Anyone from Ballarat please join us in our fight for freedom and human rights!” she wrote on Sunday.
Under current lockdown rules it’s an offence to arrange a gathering of more than two people.
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews brushed off questions about the arrest claiming he had not seen the viral video.
“I don’t know what – I’m not sure any of us know what she was attempting to incite, allegedly,’’ he said.
“That’s very much an operational matter that Victoria Police, they may have made some decisions on the ground, as it were. But that’s not something I could speak to.”
“It is not my practice to be directing police on how to enforce the law. The key point here is, now is not the time to protest about anything. Because to do so is not safe.”
Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie also said there was no need to arrest the pregnant woman in front of young children.
“I’m usually one of the first to stand up for the police,” Ms Lambie said.