Australian government accused of 'racism' after imposing possible 5-year jail term for returning from India

(NCS) — The Australian government has been accused of racism after threatening five-year jail sentences for residents who breach a short lived ban on journey between India and Australia.

From Monday, May 4, individuals who have been to India up to now 14 days will be banned from getting into Australia as a result of considerations over India’s rising coronavirus epidemic, which noticed nearly 400,000 circumstances in a single day on Sunday.
In a press release Saturday, Health Minister Greg Hunt stated anybody who ignored the brand new restrictions would face 5 years’ imprisonment, a wonderful of $66,600 or each. The ban expires on May 15, however may very well be renewed.

“The Government does not make these decisions lightly,” Hunt stated within the assertion. “However, it is critical the integrity of the Australian public health and quarantine systems is protected and the number of Covid-19 cases in quarantine facilities is reduced to a manageable level.”

The new restrictions got here after two Australian cricket players traveled to Melbourne by way of Doha to get round a ban on direct passenger flights between India and Australia put in place by the government final week.
Local media stated it was the primary time any Australians have been criminalized for making an attempt to return to their dwelling nation. No related measures have been put in place on the top of the Covid-19 epidemics within the UK and the US.
The ban on arrivals from India has confronted robust opposition from Australia’s Indian community, human rights advocates and even members of the government itself.

“We should be helping Aussies in India return, not jailing them,” he stated. Around 9,000 Australians in India are registered with the government as desirous to return to Australia.

Conservative newspaper columnist Andrew Bolt stated the ban “stinks of racism” in an article revealed Monday, including the choice was “driven by fear, ignorance and incompetence.”

“I can’t believe we would impose such a travel ban on white Australians fleeing from, say, England,” he stated.

In a press release Saturday, the Australian Human Rights Commission stated the journey ban and felony sanctions raised “serious human rights concerns,” and referred to as for the Senate to review the new measures instantly.

“The need for such restrictions must be publicly justified. The Government must show that these measures are not discriminatory and the only suitable way of dealing with the threat to public health,” the assertion stated.

Speaking on native radio on Monday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated the choice had been taken “in the best health interests of Australia.”

He stated the powers could be “used responsibly” to implement the block on arrivals from India, to ease stress on the resort quarantine system.

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Sydney, Australia, on Tuesday, April 27.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Sydney, Australia, on Tuesday, April 27.

Rick Rycroft/AP

At a press convention Sunday, Foreign Minister Marise Payne denied the brand new measures have been racist and stated the ban was based mostly on recommendation from Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly.

However, in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday, Kelly stated that there was “no advice given” to impose fines and jail phrases.

“That’s just how the Biosecurity Act works. If there is a breach of what is seen as an use of the emergency powers, then that’s what transpires,” Kelly stated.

Kelly added that he had instructed the government one thing wanted to be finished concerning the quantity of constructive circumstances coming into Australia’s resort quarantine system.

Foreign Minister Payne stated Sunday 57% of coronavirus infections detected in quarantine have been from India at current.

Journalist Angus Watson contributed to this text.


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