Health Minister Greg Hunt has laid some of the blame for Melbourne's COVID-19 spike on the 6 June Black Lives Matter protests, despite only four protesters testing positive.
Asked at a press conference on Wednesday about government engagement with diverse communities during the pandemic, Mr Hunt took the opportunity to attack the demonstrations.
The 6 June event in Melbourne. Source: AAP
While coronavirus had not spread at the rallies, Mr Hunt said they undermined the government's messages to limit gatherings.
"Particularly since the protests, many Victorians and many Australians have said, 'if it is OK for 10,000 people to congregate and huddle together, surely it would be OK for 10 and my family'," he said.
"The message is, it was never OK for that protest to have gone ahead, not because of the subject matter - noble, powerful, important - but because of the fact that two and a half weeks later, we have had an outbreak in Victoria.
"We know that there are four cases directly linked with that protest, but we also believe that there has been a significant relaxation in parts of the public as a consequence of the double standard."
Minister for Health Greg Hunt. Source: AAP
Victoria has seen a spike in COVID-19 infections in the past week, .
Health authorities have
previously dismissed suggestions that the Black Lives Matter protests were behind the Melbourne spike.
"I don't think the Black Lives Matter protest has contributed. We're not seeing people who've clearly acquired it there," Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton said on Monday.
The nation's chief medical officer Brendan Murphy told reporters on Monday the protests had not resulted in community transmission.
"We probably were lucky to have not seen major transmission at any of these events," he said.
However, he did agree that the protests set a "bad example for others and maybe have contributed to people gathering in larger numbers".
"We don't know that for sure," he told ABC radio on Monday.
Tens of thousands of people gathered across Australia for the Black Lives Matter rallies earlier this month but there has not been a spike in cases similar to Melbourne in any other city.
It comes as the government is being accused .
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