4 May, 2021
Eight members of the Crossbench in the Lower and Upper Houses have united to call on the Prime Minister to urgently review the Biosecurity Act and establish a dedicated surge quarantine facility in order to bring home Australian citizens stranded in India.
In the joint letter, the eight MPs and Senators have made three distinct calls to the Government:
- Revoke the Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) (Emergency Requirements—High Risk Country Travel Pause) Determination 2021 dated 30 April 2021.
- Urgently repatriate Australians currently in India, starting with those most vulnerable to COVID-19
- Establish a dedicated surge capacity quarantine facility
The members, Zali Steggall MP, Greens Leader Adam Bandt MP, Helen Haines MP, Andrew Wilkie MP, Rebekha Sharkie MP, Bob Katter MP, Senator Rex Patrick and Senator Stirling Griff have co-signed the letter.
Zali Steggall MP, Independent for Warringah:
“Australians in all regions are dismayed at the ad-hoc nature of the Government’s response to COVID-19. We crossbench members are calling for a clear, sensible and compassionate response from the Government to the current crisis in India. Leadership is tested in difficult times and it is wrong that the Prime Minister’s response is to abandon Australians overseas. We stand by each other in a time of need.”
Adam Bandt MP, Greens Leader:
“The ban is racist, it’s possibly illegal, it’s not based on health advice and it must be rescinded. The Greens will move in the Senate next week to overturn the ban and we believe it will have widespread support amongst Senators.”
Helen Haines MP, Independent for Indi:
“The government has had well over a year to get this right. What we need are impenetrable, fit-for-purpose quarantine facilities that can manage surge capacity for situations like this and pose zero risk to our COVID-safe community. Treating Australians seeking safe passage home as criminals is not the answer.”
Senator Rex Patrick, Senator for South Australia:
“It is the role of the Australian Government to help Australians when they are in difficulty overseas, not to criminalise them for coming home. This determination by the Government is entirely inappropriate and likely unconstitutional and it’s been made in response to their lack in relation to quarantine.”
Bob Katter MP, Independent for Kennedy:
“We all like to sing the song ‘I still call Australia Home’ but that doesn’t apply the Australians in India??? Fair bloody go, they deserve to be able to return home with proper testing and quarantine.”