04 May 2021 - Australian government backs ban on citizens returning from India
Criminalising citizens returning from India signals some are more Australian than others
Tim Soutphommasane (The Guardian, 04/05/2021)
It has come to this: a government pulling up the drawbridge on its own citizens trying to make it home. Last week’s announcement of a ban on return flights from India marks a drastic escalation of “fortress Australia”.
Yes, it isn’t the first time during the pandemic that Australia’s borders have been closed to people arriving from certain countries deemed high risk. This happened, for example, with China in February 2020.
But this new measure goes beyond a temporary closure of borders. It also involves harsh criminal penalties imposed on people seeking to return from India, including fines and even imprisonment.
The India travel ban has been slammed as racist but Indian-Australians have long been subjected to racism
Sukhmani Khorana (ABC News, 04/05/2021)
In the past five years, the number of overseas-born migrants from India grew more than any other group in Australia, increasing from 449,000 to 721,000.
Indian residents leapfrogged New Zealand-born and China-born migrants in the 2020 government figures to rank second in the country, behind only those from England.
Despite their increasing numbers and growing political voice, it appears those of Indian origin still do not matter enough in the mainstream Australian public sphere.
Is Australia’s India travel ban legal? A citizenship law expert explains
Sangeetha Pillai (The Conversation, 04/05/2021)
There is a growing public and political outcry over the federal government’s sudden decision to ban Australians from coming home from India.
But as everyone from Indian community leaders to human rights leaders, famous cricketers and Coalition MPs calls on the government to rethink the policy, is it legal? Is a High Court challenge an option?
Coronavirus cases in quarantine jumped 46 per cent in weeks before India flight ban
Aisha Dow and Rachel Clun (The Sydney Morning Herald, 04/05/2021)
Coronavirus infections in quarantine grew 46 per cent in the four weeks leading up to the Australian government’s decision to pause flights from India as experts question if the extraordinary action – including fines and jail for those flouting the travel ban – was proportionate to the risk.
The federal government has released data showing that last month at least 210 travellers returning from India tested positive for COVID-19. This compares to 62 positive cases from the United States over a four week period to early January, when that country was battling its worst outbreak.