Analysis of a bunch of fines dished out during lockdown in Victoria and NSW shows they have disproportionately affected Indigenous and migrant communities. While plenty of people have been saying this for a while, we now have the data to prove it.
Out of the 6,000-odd fines handed out during Victoria’s first wave, South Sudanese, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were overrepresented in the data, according to Guardian Australia.
Melbourne’s South Sudanese community made up 5% of infringements despite being just 0.14% of the population. Meanwhile, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accounted for 4.7% of infringements despite being around 0.8% of the state’s population.
It’s a similar story in NSW, where people fined typically lived in areas with high migrant and Indigenous populations, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Analysing 1,427 penalty infringement notices issued between March and June, the Herald found the top five areas where people who were fined in NSW live are Mount Druitt, Liverpool, Green Valley, Blacktown and Redfern.
Mount Druitt was also the locality where the most fines were issued in the state, followed by Sydney’s CBD, where many people pass through but relatively few actually live.
For migrant communities in particular, the language barrier has made harder to explain why they’re out and about during lockdown, and why they’re not actually in breach of restrictions.
One example cited by Guardian Australia was four Tamil refugees in Victoria who just bumped into each other in the street. When police assumed they were from the same household, the four weren’t able to explain themselves due to language difficulties. Two of them were actually homeless.
Absent from the findings is any overrepresentation of white areas which were known to have abnormally high rates of community transmission and plenty of people flouting restrictions.
Melbourne’s anti-lockdown protests also appear to be overwhelmingly white, making the disproportionate representation of Indigenous people and migrants appear similarly disconnected from reality.
Police spokespeople from both states said the stats don’t necessarily tell the whole story.
However, what they do show is still pretty damning.