Threat to jail time for Australians returning from Covid-ravaged India for five years is NOT racist, Scott Morrison points out
- India is suffering from a horrific wave of coronavirus with 401,993 recorded cases
- Australia has halted flights and is threatening imprisonment and fines for violations
- Prime Minister Scott Morrison has insisted that the move is not racist, but medically necessary
Scott Morrison has insisted that his threat to Australians arriving from Covid-ridden India not be racist, but based on medical necessity.
Australia banned direct commercial flights from India last week as the country of 1.4 billion people battles an increase in disease and death with 401,993 cases of coronavirus recorded on Sunday.
As of Monday, any Australian who enters through a third country and has been in India for the past 14 days will face a fine of up to $ 66,000 and five years in prison under the Biosecurity Act.
A mass cremation crematorium in New Delhi, India on Saturday as the virus ravages the nation
The Greens called the measure ‘horrific and racist’ and Labor called it ‘extraordinary’, accusing the government of abandoning 10,000 Australian citizens and residents until the chartered repatriation flights resume on May 15.
Critics pointed out that the government has not threatened imprisonment or fines for people returning from the US or Europe when those countries suffered from the disease in the winter.
But Mr Morrison said the measure was only to protect the health of Australians and he rejected allegations of racism.
“The same allegations were made against the government more than a year ago when we closed the borders to mainland China,” he told radio station 2GB in Sydney.
“There is no politics or ideology in a pandemic … It has nothing to do with politics, this is a virus.”
Australia banned direct commercial flights from India last week as the country battles 1.4 billion people against an increase in disease and death with 401,993 cases of coronavirus recorded on Sunday
Mr. Morrison said the powers of the Biosecurity Act would be used wisely, adding, ‘W.we have done the right things to protect Australia during this pandemic. This is another very difficult decision. I feel terrible for the Indian community. ‘
Independent MP Zali Steggall said the prison threat was “the first step towards a totalitarian state” and Green Senator Mehreen Faruqi said the measures were “absolutely horrific and racist.”
Union leader Anthony Albanese called the decision ‘extraordinary’, adding: ‘The government needs to justify why the figures from India are comparable to those in the past from the UK and the US, but we have not seen these types of measures .
“Australia has obligations to our citizens, to people who are Australians, not just to leave them abroad.”
Australia’s Human Rights Commission said in a statement, “The government must demonstrate that these measures are non-discriminatory and the only appropriate way to deal with the threat to public health.”
According to the 2016 census, approximately 600,000 Australians are of Indian descent.
The Greens have called the measure ‘horrific and racist’ and Labor has called it ‘extraordinary’