When you read about what is happening in India with the spread of COVID-19, it is absolutely heart breaking. But, to The Australian Government, this does not appear to be the case. Instead of looking at how they can help, and get all the Aussies out, they instead warn all Aussies still in India not to return or else they will face penalties. Like seriously, what a callous way to treat your own citizens – it is unconstitutional, wrong and RACIST.
Just for some background, this started over the weekend, when Health Minister Greg Hunt announced a “temporary pause” on travellers who have visited India within 14 days of their intended arrival date in Australia. Under the Biosecurity Act, failing to comply with this ban could result in fines up to $66,000 fine or 5 year jail term.
No one is disputing tourists being banned from returning, but what is being disputed is that Aussies in India ( majority will be Asian/Indian Australians) are also subjected to this ban and penalties. This is a trend coming out of the Aussie Government in how they treat people and their own citizens who are not white or from Western countries. Remember, when COVID-19 just hit, Aussies who were still in China ( majority are Chinese Australians) were sent to Christmas Island to quarantine in a detention centre, whilst those who were international students and on other valid visas were not allowed to enter at all. But if you are American or from Europe you were allowed to enter Australia with the Americans not even being checked at all as they entered Sydney. This is the double standard and the racism which continues to be perpetuated by The Australian Government.
The Asian Australian Alliance ( AAA) has started a petition calling on The Australian Government to withdraw these penalties and allow Aussies stuck in India to come back. Here is an excerpt from the change.org petition:
“To arbitrarily criminalise the return of a person to their own home and families is also a blatant disregard of human rights. Any curtailment of human rights needs to be proportionate and necessary. It must also satisfy section 477 of the Biosecurity Act under which the ban has been enacted. The section states that the measure has to be ‘appropriate’ and ‘no more restrictive or instructive than is required in the circumstances’. The current ban is neither appropriate nor required in the circumstances.”
“AAA demands that the Australian Government immediately withdraw its decision to impose fines up to $66,000 or five years of imprisonment for anyone defying the travel ban preventing Australians returning home from India with immediate effect.“
Other groups are also campaigning against this move. Turbans for Australia, have created a Google Docs form to collect information on Aussies still stuck in India.
Bottom line is : This is unconscionable and discriminatory. Please sign the petition if you disagree with the Government’s heartless decision.