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Centrelink apology on helmet ‘weapon’

Centrelink has apologised for asking a client to take their motorcycle helmet outside as it was considered a weapon and says it is not their policy.

The official statement comes more than a week after it was revealed that David McDowell was refused entry to Centrelink in Maryborough on June 26, 2017, because his motorcycle helmet was considered a weapon.

David told us a Centrelink manager rang him to apologise.

He finally received the official written apology on July 21, almost a month later.

“That should be the end of it now, although I would have liked an apology from the security company,” he says.

Official written Centrelink apology

Centrelink apology

Official statement

After we published the article, other readers said they had also been told to take their helmet outside at Centrelink offices in Brisbane.

However, a Department of Human Services spokesperson told us in an official statement that is not an official Centrelink policy.

“The department does not have a policy which bans a person from bringing a motorcycle helmet into a service centre,” the spokesperson said.

“The safety of our staff and people in our service centres is of paramount importance, and the department has a range security procedures and policies in place to ensure this occurs.

“This includes staff having an awareness of items brought into service centres that may potentially be used as a weapon, and the discretion to ask for them to be removed, if appropriate.”

Motorcycle helmet considered weapon
David as he was dressed at Centrelink

David said a security guard asked him to leave his helmet outside as it was classed as a weapon.

“They wanted me to leave my helmet in the foyer, but I have several helmets and my Shoei Hornet cost over $1000. I’m not going to leave them unattended to be stolen,” he said.

“I objected and stuck my digs until they threatened to get the police and I thought ‘I don’t have the money or the time for this’.

“I was flabbergasted. I was also embarrassed because I was made to feel like a criminal. It’s not as if I’m a bikie type, either.”

David said he accepted the department’s apology, but thought it was “not good enough” that the security company did not apologise.

He says his treatment was discriminatory and the “thin edge of the wedge”.

“We can’t wear helmets when we fill up with petrol. What’s next?

“I told them that if I had a bag with bricks in it or a skateboard it would be more of a weapon than a helmet. They told me they were trying to get bags banned, too.”


  1. Police now wear confrontational black nazi-style uniforms, ambos jumped in on the act with green paramilitary outfits, an elderly grey-haired gentlement is refused entry to Centrelink – by a security guard – whilst carrying a motorcycle helmet.
    We don’t live in a country any more, we live in a prison.

  2. When you get hit by an upset person (lets face it, most ppl attending Centrelink get upset and frustrated) with a bike helmet then perhaps you will understand the reasoning behind the request

    The main reason why people think “It will never happen to them” is because someone put in place rules, procedures, and safety steps in order to minimise the possibility

    Be thankful someone is thinking of everyone’s safety and, unlike you, are not just looking out for themselves

    1. A handbag with something solid inside could also be classified as a weapon if a helmet is. Should we ask that all handbags be left in the foyer too??
      Most handbags with all it’s contents would not be worth the price of a decent helmet. I wouldn’t leave my helmet in the foyer for someone to steal either.

    2. I think you need to take a step out of your square world that you call life and understand what us bike riders go through. Imagine if when you went to fill up your car at a servo and the person working the counter told you you cant fill it or pay for the fuel while you have your keys on you as they could be used as a weapon and you were then told by police that you have to keep your keys in the ignition the whole time. Theres no way you would! So stop with ya noncience and wake up. Stop being a bitch and realise that the keyboard your typing on could be used to knock teeth out and harden up. If we live in australia and the law states we cant cover our faces with anything then we more then should be able to walk into a shop with our helmets! Rave over!!!!!!

      1. Thats an inappropriate comparison, The helmut law is so cameras at the petrol station have a clear view of your face lest you rob them. Keys do not obscure your face.
        Also chances are if people are reading this blog they are “us bikers”.

  3. It’s also ridiculous that we have to take off our helmets to hand over money at a service station. Next, we’ll have to wave a $50 note in the air before they’ll let us into the shop.

  4. unfortunately all government agencies have ZERO TOLERANCE policies, which have morphed into “We will treat you like a 2 year old and if you have the temerity to complain ,we will have you chucked out’…..the ultimate in passive aggressive behaviour.

    1. This is the most stupid and idiotic thing I’ve ever heard. Now they want to ban bags. Are Centrelink brainless. I haven’t seen a person not go anywhere without a bag, not even workers. People always carry bags, schoolbags, handbags, shopping plastic bags and granny trolley bags etc….. No one would be going into Centrelink. Just imagine the extra load of complaints. What wrong with them all! If their so worried about bags, Well, then get your lazy private security to check them, like they do at Coles, Kmart, Woolworths, Myers and the Chemist.

  5. In the hands of a trained person a drinking straw can kill so can a rolled up newspaper. Take off your belt if it has a metal buckle and leave it with pens, biros and pencils at the door. Registered Kung foo and jujitsu exponents must leave their hands in their pockets when signing documents inside the Bank. How about teeth, finger nails and dentures ?
    With these rules in place why need security at all ?

  6. Notice the evasive wording by Centrelink officials in that they effectively it is up to the “discretion” of those in the private security firms they employ .
    They thereby distance themselves from the actions of those contractors.
    Even though Centrelink may say they do not consider helmets weapons , should the security person at his/her “discretion” consider it may be a “weapon” or used in an offensive manner then they can still tell you to leave it out side.
    Nothing has changed the apology is hollow.

  7. I love the letter…. only a bureaucrat could have written that. Trying to use every word in his department supplied dictionary.

    Sad part.. we probably pay him a large salary to be a twat!

  8. Sadly I was subjected to this inappropriate behavior from Centrelink security personnel in December 2021.

    Considering wearing a helmet is a mandatory requirement for riding, it would make a terrible choice for a weapon.

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