Ex-minister to challenge COVID fine

Don Harwin, who was the New South Wales arts minister until April, is set to go head to head with police in court after he was fined for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.

It’s a dramatic move for a politician who was involved with the creation of the laws.

In April, the Liberal MP got an absolute shellacking from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian after The Daily Telegraph snapped him in his Central Coast home despite his principal place of residence being in Sydney.

At the time, the NSW Government said all non-essential travel to regional NSW towns should be cancelled.

Ms Berejiklian said she was “deeply disappointed” by his actions and she apologsied “on behalf of my team to the entire community”.

Liberal MP Don Harwin in his home on the Central Coast in April. Picture: Christian Gilles. Source:News Corp Australia

A close ally of the Premier, days later Mr Harwin resigned from his plum job after police fined him $1000 for the Central Coast sojourn.

But he’s not taking the fine lying down.

The Daily Telegraph has reported Mr Harwin has an October court date lined up in Gosford to contest the fine.

His defence is likely to hinge on whether the restrictions were in place when he was seen at the residence and whether he had extenuating circumstances that would have allowed him to leave Sydney.

The Australian has reported that the fine being overturned could see him returned to cabinet.

The majority of his portfolio was subsumed into the Premier’s role and could easily be handed back to Mr Harwin.

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