‘Arrogant’ former mayor's COVID breach boast


Police are investigating if former Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle breached COVID-19 restrictions by travelling to Anglesea at the weekend.

The Geelong Advertiser received multiple reports Mr Doyle, a woman and his son were at the Anglesea General Store on Saturday morning for an hour.

Former Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle was spotted in the Anglesea General Store on Saturday morning, despite the COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne.
Former Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle was spotted in the Anglesea General Store on Saturday morning, despite the COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne.

An observer labelled the former Victorian Liberal party leader "arrogant" after he told people at the store he was "cheating a little bit" by being in Anglesea.

The comment, the observer said, was a reference to strict lockdown rules that prevent people from Melbourne entering regional Victoria without a valid reason.

"It's really unfair for him to think that he has different privileges than the rest of us," the woman said.

The observer, with three others at the time, said she heard Mr Doyle say his son went to a school in South Melbourne.

Asked to explain why he was at the store on Saturday, Mr Doyle said: "Access visit to my son. COVID tested negative. Parasite."

The observer said Mr Doyle told a person in the store he was in Anglesea because his son returned to home school next week.

"He said to the woman that (his son) was going back to home school next week so we are 'cheating a little bit', were his words, by being down here.

"There was a real arrogance about him. A lot of people coming up to him. There was no social distancing whatsoever with anyone."

On Sunday night Victoria Police spokeswoman Natalie Dean confirmed the force had received reports of an alleged breach of the Chief Health Officer's directions in Anglesea on Saturday.

"Police are yet to confirm whether the breach occurred and the investigation remains ongoing," Leading Senior Constable Dean said.

Meanwhile the observer said Mr Doyle did not make his presence in the general store a secret.

"We were all pretty disappointed being in a small community. It makes us vulnerable now.

"His presence was felt in the whole general store; the way he was talking with people. He was moving around a lot. He wasn't making it a secret."

"He should be fined and held accountable. We all need to stay at home, that's the only way we are going to stop this virus spreading."

At the weekend Premier Daniel Andrews urged Victorians to stay at home.

"We can't ignore the reality we face. Nor can we be finding reasons, inventing reasons to travel a long way from home. Stay at home means stay at home, that's how we will get this lockdown over sooner," Mr Andrews said.

"It's how we will protect those in the community who are susceptible. It's not only those frail, aged Victorians."

Mr Doyle is a former Geelong College student and teacher, and later state Liberal leader.

He spent 10 years as Melbourne Lord Mayor before resigning in 2018 amid allegations of sexual harassment.

Earlier this month a report commissioned by the City of Melbourne found he acted in a "sleazy" and "sexually inappropriate way" towards a woman while in the city's top job.

Originally published as 'Arrogant' Doyle's COVID breach boast on Surf Coast