IF YOU continue to work – even safely – during the Victorian lockdown you are irresponsible, according to ABC journalists who continue to work during the lockdown.

Hosts of ABC News Breakfast, working from their Melbourne studio, this morning berated the founder of Jim’s Mowing for encouraging his Melbourne franchise operators to mow lawns.

Host Lisa Miller wanted to know why Jim Penman was encouraging his workers to “flout the rules” and to “go against the clear advice of the Premier”.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews had “made it very clear he does now want cleaning and mowing contractors at people’s houses”, she chastened.

“He (Premier Andrews) wants people off the roads. He doesn’t want anyone … having contact with others.”

The ABC hosts must have teleported to their Melbourne studio.

And – to avoid contact with others – they were presumably manning the sound, camera and lighting themselves.

Mr Penman, like a schoolboy explaining himself to a scolding headmistress, politely explained that the Premier’s comments in a recent press conference were at odds with the Government’s published guidelines which said businesses could continue to “maintain buildings and grounds”.

He said his business had closed all office and administrative functions but that there was no reason why, according to the guidelines, individuals could not mow lawns. He told the ABC:

“There is nothing that is more safe than going out and mowing lawns. You don’t have contact with the public. You’re not seeing people. You’re not near people. Mowing someone’s lawn – the risk of infection is effectively zero.”

But his ABC hosts, comfortable in their Government-funded jobs which are in no danger of being lost due to the harsh restrictions, were having none of it.

Miller shot back: “You could use that argument with a lot of jobs. The workers have to get to those places.”

Presumably like Miller and her co-host had to get to their workplace?

Miller concluded the interview by asking Mr Penman: “We’ve had people on the show, intensive care nurses on the show with faces bruised and blistered from having to wear their mask who have pleaded with people to stay home. What’s your message that you are sending?”

In other words, the government guidelines allow for yards to be mowed and we agree that the chances of spreading Covid-19 via the lawn mower are zero … but think of the nurses!

Mr Penman patiently explained that his business was obeying the published Government guidelines and would continue to do so.

For that he was turned into a pariah on social media where “Jim’s Mowing” immediately started trending.

Twitter went into apoplexy with Mr Penman being labelled “dangerous” and “selfish” as others called for police to “lock him up”. All this for the crime of trying to keep people safety employed, like, you know, ABC journalists.

One tweeter with more than 20,000 followers slammed Mr Penman as “an old white elite male who is so privileged he thinks equality (in this case rules) is oppression. I hope the Victoria Police throw the book at him.”

Funny that there is no record of the same Twitter user demanding police throw the book at Black Lives Matter protestors. Then again, BLM protesters weren’t trying to work.

James Macpherson is a sought after international speaker with a background in journalism at the Courier Mail and Daily Telegraph. He previously pastored a significant church in Australia and South Africa. James' weekly Good Sauce podcast comes out every Tuesday. He also writes regularly for The Spectator.

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