7 June 2024

'I was following instructions': Chief Minister apologises for parking in disabled spot at private event

| Claire Fenwicke
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Car in disabled parking spot

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has been called out for parking in a disabled bay (which had been reserved for him) at a private event in Canberra. Photo: Facebook / Supplied.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr has apologised for using a designated disability car parking space reserved for him at a private event.

Organisers of Geocaching MEGA invited Mr Barr to open the event in March and placed a sign in the disabled spot for his vehicle.

A member of the public snapped the sign and his car, later posting it on the ‘Australian Disability Parking Wall of Shame’ Facebook page.

“In Canberra for the Geocaching MEGA event, and this is how the Chief Minister treats disabled parking spaces,” the person wrote.

“There’s undercover parking nearby for a start, they would just have to go through a boom gate! Not on, no permit, and as per the ACT rules, the signs say display permit!

“So surely a sign does not give them an exemption? And even if it did, it’s shameful behaviour anyhow!”

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Mr Barr was questioned about this by the Canberra Liberals during Question Time on Thursday (6 June).

Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee noted his actions had been “blasted by some with a disability attending the event as shameful and inconsiderate” and questioned why he parked there in the first place.

“Chief Minister, why did you think you were entitled to park in a disability parking spot, depriving those with a disability who were attending the event from parking in accessible spots?” she asked.

reserved sign in disabled car park

Mr Barr said the car space had been reserved for him by the event organisers. Photo: Facebook / Supplied.

Mr Barr said he was simply “following the instructions” of the event organiser, and noted it was 7 pm on Good Friday at a private, invitation-only event.

“I apologise if the directions that were provided to me, and the sign that was put in that spot, meant that anyone else was not able to park there,” he said.

Mr Barr said he was parked in the spot for about 25 to 30 minutes and didn’t believe anyone else had been deprived of the space.

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It is unclear if a person with a disability needed the space while it was occupied by the Chief Minister, nor if there were able-bodied parking spots available at the time.

Mr Barr said he had instructed his office to inform event organisers to reserve an appropriate car space.

“Future instructions will be given to any organisation that invites me to attend an event that if they do intend to set aside a car park, that it be one that does not disrupt any other person from being able to park to attend the event,” he said.

Parking in a disabled parking spot without a permit is illegal in the ACT.

Mr Barr has not been issued a fine.

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this must be the only time the CM followed instructions.

he certainly isn’t listening to the voters who don’t want his toy tram set and the associated rate increases.

It’s obviously time for Barr to move on, as his arrogance has now reached such heights that he believes he is above both reproach and accountability.

Where are his political advisors? Surely in an election year, with the ever increasing ground swell for change and the entry of credible independents into the race, as soon as the story broke, someone should have said to Barr that the optics were not good and potentially damaging? Perhaps they did and Barr’s ego is bigger than his common sense.

This is the kind of stupidity one would expect from Steel or Gentleman, not ‘Teflon Andrew’.

optimusmaximus2:13 pm 12 Jun 24

Methinks he alreadt knows his days in the top job are numbered.

Tom McLuckie9:56 am 10 Jun 24

During the height of COVID, I drove myself to the Canberra Hospital as I was suffering from a severe kidney infection. I was admitted and put on an IV /antibiotic drip for over 4 hours. The doctors failed to note my discharge time on their notes. I was fined for parking for too long in the hospital car park even though I was advised by staff my discharge notes would suffice. ACT infringements initially refused to pull the fine. I repealed and had the fine waived, with the following warning from Adam at ACT Traffic infringements.
Although the notice has been withdrawn in this instance, I am sure you will appreciate that if
another infringement is issued in similar circumstances that the outcome may not be the same.
And yet our Chief Minister can park in a disabled parking spot with no repercussions?

optimusmaximus2:41 pm 12 Jun 24

Sheesh, you are lucky you managed to get into ED at all. I had to lie on the floor in ED for 4 hours in agony before I was seen by a doctor. Turns out I had acute pancreatitis.

Margaret Freemantle8:44 pm 09 Jun 24

I would like more information on who Geocaching MEGA are, and what was the Good Friday event? And where is disabled parking not disabled parking??
Organisers need to be exposed.

Capital Retro11:56 am 11 Jun 24

I asked the same question Margaret. The usual apologists for Barr are nowhere to be seen.

Perhaps it’s an indication of the “indefensible nature” of Barr’s faux pas, when Jack D, the Chief Protaginist for all things ACT Labor – especially the CM, doesn’t weigh in on the discussion.

Capital Retro3:35 pm 08 Jun 24

I looked up the event organizers, Geocaching MEGA and I know I am a bit dense but I really can’t understand who they are or what they do.

It’s a bit weird having anything on Good Friday that isn’t religious, also.

Need your help, chewy.

If your entity isn’t religious (which I assume Geocaching MEGA isn’t), then why would the date (Good Friday) have any relevance to when they hold their event?

Capital Retro7:52 am 12 Jun 24

While your “hot” JS, would you mind telling me (and others who are wondering) what Geocoaching MEGA is and what they do?

Forgive me sounding cynical but is this another product the ACT Government is considering following the outstanding success of the one that the TAFE CEO purchased?

Capital Retro,
No one is wondering what it is, when a simple Google search will inform you. I know how much you love those.

Has nothing to do with the ACT Government.

I did realise the bat mobile was being used by the Barr-man…but I see he is trying to use the Nuremberg defence…..I was only following “orders”. Nice to see all men are treated equal… I got a fine for doing the same thing, even had a disabled permit but it was out of date

Gregg Heldon7:23 am 08 Jun 24

The insufferable arrogance and entitlement shouldn’t surprise anyone. The owning of possibly the ugliest car on the market at present, does slightly.

So where is AB’s fine and double demerit point notice bcos this happened on a public holiday? Many of us have been fined for much lesser infringement in the past without warning and we were even threatened with court appearance when we asked for reconsideration. All animals are equal but some are more equal than others.

Capital Retro9:28 pm 07 Jun 24

That rear window on the car looks tinted way past the limit. I suspect all the other glass except the windscreen is the same. I would like someone from Barr’s office to assure me that that is not the case.

Just poor judgement Chiefly one!

The only more ignorant & arrogant people than this fool & his lot are those who keep voting them in

HiddenDragon7:39 pm 07 Jun 24

Nothing to see here, comrades – in the People’s Republic of Canberra, some drivers are more equal than the others.

It’s as simple as that…….

Andrew Sutton5:48 pm 07 Jun 24

Arrogance personified…one for asking for a special spot to be set aside and two taking a disabled spot “because you were following instructions”. I wonder if I was told to speed by someone else, whether that excuse would be sufficient for the fine etc to be waived. I doubt it. Chief Minister you continue to show just how out of touch you are with the general population. Maybe it’s time for you to resume that status in the ACT.

What world are you living in re: spots being put aside? That has happened since Adam was a boy when someone is invited as a special guest, especially from the political class. There is no way Barr would have had to request that spot be set aside – it would have been part of the invite.

Michael Cameron4:24 pm 07 Jun 24

So if he was told to put his head in the fire, he would do that too?

George Hastings3:39 pm 07 Jun 24

People with disabilities don’t go out after 7pm? People with disabilities do not go to private events? People with disabilities do not get invites? He exposed his elite mindset

So was this spot on the private property in use for a private event, or in the public street/car park? Need to know for a reasoned comment.

Mr Barr said he was simply “following the instructions” of the event organiser. Pity the organiser didn’t leave a sign that read ‘ Please Resign Chief Minister’.
As for the excuse ‘Mr Barr said he was parked in the spot for about 25 to 30 minutes at 7 pm on Good Friday at a private, invitation-only event and didn’t believe anyone else had been deprived of the space.’ That would not wash for his hit squad of parking inspectors who would say tough and issue the ticket to every other Canberra taxpayer.
Pay up Barr it is not as though the cost of living crisis has effected you.

Well the organiser and Barr should have known better. His excuse is just typical of his arrogance.

“I was following instructions.” He would say that, wouldn’t he? Not good enough.

Elaine Graham2:47 pm 07 Jun 24

Andrew Barr following instructions, that would be hilarious, disabled parking spot is exactly that 24/7 365 days a year , it is difficult accessing those parking spots for those who need them. Mr Barr didn’t have the fortitude to request another parking spot, be responsible for your actions little man pay the fine.

eGaz “eGaz” TheFirstAustralian2:18 pm 07 Jun 24

No eBike Minister Barr? No wonder there’s also no quality, secure e-Bike parking in Canberra. Please pay the fine Minister Barr and acknowledge respect for the community we’ve worked so hard to create. There are two signs there, and you chose to read the most convenient. Then you blame the premises for putting that sign there. Really? Who else might have put your sign there?

I unknowingly parked in a disabled parking spot in Mawson
The signage is on the building not on the street we’re ALL OTHER PARKING SIGNAGE is.
I pleaded innocent, no compromise $600 fine thank you.
Were is the consistency.
Pay the fine Mr Barr.

Not good enough!!!! The Chief Minister ABSOLUTELY deserves to be FINED!!! He has NO entitlement to special treatment in this situation. COMMON SENSE dictates that unless you ARE disabled…,PARK SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!

Barr or one of his minions even had that illegal sign placed in a disabled parking spot. Talk about one rule for for the ruling leftist elites and another rule for everyone else. Willing to bet he wasn’t fined either. CORRECT?

That Barr did not consider how it would look for him to park his $80,000 car in a disabled car park shows just how out of touch he is with the community. Time for him to find a new job.

Seems to be a thing with Labor. I didn’t know, not my fault

why was he even using a car? shouldn’t he be using the tram/ e scooters/ walk etc like they are trying to force everyone else to do?

My understanding is that electric vehicles are not illegal transport, nor even off-brand.

He should be riding a donkey. You can’t signal your virtue with an $80000 e-car running on batteries made from exploitation of Congolese children in cobalt mines.

Perhaps someone who actually knows the parking provisions can advise: Did the event organiser have the legal authroity to “reserve” the disabled car space (irrespective of for whom they were reserving it)?
Yes = storm in a teacup
No = belatedly issue a fine to the offender, pay it and move on

Barr is just taking the mickey at this point. Disgraceful behaviour with no remorse

And yet his government wouldn’t rescind my son’s parking ticket when signs had inconsistent information about parking on a certain day at a certain time in a suburban street.

The Nuremberg defence. Didn’t work for the Nazis, shouldn’t work for the Chief Minister.

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