Jacqui Lambie has issued an emotional plea to the Black Lives Matter protesters, urging them not to join a rally again this weekend.
“I find this really heartbreaking,” she said on Today. “Not only have Australians gone through the bushfires for what seemed like months on end, we’ve been through COVID-19. People are really not dealing with this, and after six or eight months of this sort of stuff, they are a little agitated and concerned about being outside.
“They’re concerned about having to go back into lockdown because of their mental health, and quite frankly, I’ll call it out today. I just find this really, really reckless, and if black lives matter so much then why are you putting them at risk and doing this? This is agitating people out there. This is not good for the cause. Please don’t do this. There are other ways around doing this. This is not good. For the sake of the cause, don’t do this.
“I am emotional and I think people need to wake up,” she continued. “This is not the way to do things. Like I said, a lot of people out there have been months on end between bushfires and the COVID-19, people have been in lockdown.
“The last thing we want to be doing is going back into lockdown. The economy is really struggling. Jobs are really going to be hard to get and to put lives at risk again through recklessness. What is wrong with you people? It is so bloody un-Australian.”
Ms Lambie went on to heap praise on police officers, saying the majority are “good hardworking people”.
“For those people that criticise our men and women in blue uniform, seriously, you go and spend a day in their shoes, because on a daily basis they are abused,” she said. “The stuff they put up with, like ice addicts out there – they are punched at, they are kicked at. There are many out there suffering with their own mental health, but still go to work every day to make sure we keep peace on our streets.
“For a couple of bad eggs, this is just unacceptable. Everybody in society has bad eggs but to blame everybody for that action, that’s not on and that’s once again un-Australian. What these people do, and the courage that they show and the honour they show year in year out in that blue uniform, I praise them for that and good on them for having the courage to be in and stay in that blue uniform.”
It comes as organisers in some states are planning to run a second round of protests this weekend.
In Perth, protesters have organised a second rally to go ahead this Saturday in Langley Park, to protest the number of Indigenous deaths in custody.
The WA Police Force said officers will take a “measured approach to the circumstances” on Saturday, with “the ultimate aim being the safety of the community”.
Rally organisers have urged protesters to bring their own water, face masks and hand sanitiser, and stand 1.5m apart if they are from different households.
Organisers of a second Black Lives Matter rally in Adelaide have cancelled the event but have vowed to return to the streets in the future. After the first rally last weekend attracted more than 5000 people, SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens declared a second protest on Saturday would not get the same exemption from COVID-19 restrictions.