Australia Health News & Commentary

Mask Exempt Abuse Victims Must Now Provide Police With “Evidence” of Trauma On Request

Have you been gagged, raped, beaten? If mask-wearing is a trigger for a prior traumatic experience, you must now carry proof of that trauma with you at all times in the form of a medical letter "confirming" your condition.
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Australians in New South Wales who are unable to wear a face mask for physical or psychological reasons have been told they must now carry “evidence” signed by their doctor “confirming their illness, condition, or disability,” and that this evidence must be handed to police at request.

During a press conference yesterday, NSW Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, announced an amendment to the health orders that would require mask exempt individuals to carry medical proof at all times.

“From here on in, if you’re required to wear a mask, if you don’t wear a mask, for what you say is a medical reason, you will be required to have on your body, in your possession, a letter or other evidence from a registered medical practitioner, explaining that that is actually a true situation,” Hazzard said.

According to the Public Health (COVID-19 Temporary Movement and Gathering Restrictions) Amendment (No 13) Order 2021, individuals with a medical mask exemption must:

  • (a) carry —
    • (i) relevant evidence that the person has the physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability, that makes wearing a fitted face covering unsuitable, and
    • (ii) evidence of the person’s name and address of the person’s place of residence, and
  • (b) produce the relevant evidence for inspection by, and give a copy of the relevant evidence to, a police officer if requested to do so by the police officer, and
  • (c) produce the evidence of the person’s name and the address of the person’s place of residence to a police officer for inspection if requested to do so by the police officer.

The “relevant evidence” that an individual with a medical exemption must provide includes:

  • (a) a medical certificate or other written evidence signed by a registered health practitioner or a registered NDIS provider confirming–
    • (i) the person has the physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability, and
    • (ii) the physical or mental health illness or condition, or disability, makes wearing a fitted face covering unsuitable.

Do you have a personal and private medical condition? Too bad. If the authorities ask, you need to tell them about it. You have to prove it!

But more than that, what this essentially means is that victims of all sorts are now being forced to justify their trauma to complete strangers. Have you been gagged, raped, beaten? If mask-wearing is a trigger for a prior traumatic experience, you must now carry proof of that trauma with you at all times in the form of a medical letter “confirming” your condition. When questioned, you must be prepared to hand a copy of that proof over to any officer that demands it.

Lake Illawarra Police District says “evidence… confirming the illness, condition or disability” must be provided.

Following Hazzard’s announcement, a mask exempt victim of abuse told Caldron Pool that the amendment has left her terrified of leaving the house lest she has to relive her ordeal.

“I feel like I’m on trial now,” she said. “I don’t want to be reminded of that experience every time an officer decides to question me. I’ve gone from being a victim of a serious violent attack to being treated like I’m potentially the dangerous one, unless I disclose private medical details that I’m not even ready to share with my friends.”


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