Recently Australia’s National Cabinet chose to ban inbound flights from India, preventing thousands of Australians from returning to the only home they have as the subcontinent’s hospital system collapses under the strain of rising coronavirus cases. Many have been stranded since the Australian government introduced its travel ban at the outset of the pandemic. Others were granted official exemptions to exit the country for essential travel.
Not only has National Cabinet failed to develop a repatriation plan to ensure Australians could get back, but they took the unprecedented step of criminalising their return.
Read the rest of this article by Stranded Aussies Action Network co-founder Esther Rockett atrightnow.org.au
Esther is a co-founder of the Stranded Aussies Action Network. Visit the website to access its Get Informed pages and self-help toolbox:strandedaussies.com
Although Australia is viewed as one of the most successful nations at dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, its methods are nothing to envy. When it came to international border control it opted for callous and short-sighted political schemes over humane solutions. It’s symptomatic of an inward focused political culture and society that readily engages in othering for political expedience, and has failed to keep up with the times.
Few readers of my post, Stranded Aussies sacrificed to pandemic politics of paranoia, will be surprised that in the weeks since I published, the crisis has worsened. The Scott Morrison government and the states are holding to their reduced flight caps without a glimmer of a realistic plan on the horizon. So it’s time to give them one. I’ve drafted a plan in the letter in the link below. UPDATE: Founders of the Stranded Aussies Action Network have launched their resources website strandedaussies.com providing tools for everyone affected by our governments’ inertia to unite, Get Informed, Get Loud and Get Heard.
Australia’s political leaders are actively making the situation worse, refusing to take meaningful action. It’s time they put politics aside and worked together to get real solutions happening. The website also has a Get Support page with links to groups and services.
Australia is among the front-running nations for its protection of public health during the novel coronavirus pandemic, yet disproportionate travel restrictions that include caps on inbound flights and irresponsibly limited quarantine capacity have left tens of thousands of Australians stranded overseas. The success of comparable countries like New Zealand and Taiwan in containing the virus without barring the return of residents proves that it’s possible to protect the whole population without inflicting undue hardship.
Australia’s flight caps and quarantine places should have been doubled months ago, yet, in January 2021, almost a year into the pandemic, Australian state and federal governments announced that they will drastically reduce them. Already escalated beyond crisis point the backlog of stranded Aussies is set to increase thanks to the paranoia, incompetence and lack of political will shared by Australian governments.