500 signatures reached
To: Peter Dutton, Minister for Home Affairs
Review the travel ban: Allow Australians to assist family in need overseas
This campaign is to urge the Australian government to review the travel ban that prevents Australians or permanent residents to leave the country until further notice. According to the Department of Home Affairs web-page, people can apply for an exemption at least 4 weeks, but not more than 3 months before their planned travel. Additionally, much red tape is involved: supporting documentation must be provided together with certified translation etc. These requirements might fit the situation of a business person but certainly not that of someone travelling for compassionate reasons or experiencing a family emergency.
Australian is the only liberal democracy that has imposed such a strict limitation of free movement of its citizens and permanent residents, infringing a basic human right. The idea that this is a necessary measure to protect the community from the pandemics do not stand logical scrutiny: no other democratic nation (including New Zealand, which has managed to eliminate the virus) has imposed such a strict regulation. In sum, there is no public health necessity to ban people from leaving the country if they need to do so, and they are willing to support the cost and difficulties involved in the process, including mandated quarantine and Covid test at their own expenses upon return. This is a matter of great concern that directly affects a large proportion of Australians who have family and loved ones overseas.
There is lack of communication from the Government around this matter but, while there are exemptions for people travelling for business reasons, the bureaucratic requirements imposed by this decree make practically impossible to travel in case of compassionate reasons or a family emergency. In an emergency, you do not have the luxury to apply for an exemption 4 weeks in advance, nor you have the time to collect all required documents and translate them into English as required. Moreover, the screening process is not transparent, and response time appears to vary enormously.The additional hurdles imposed by the Government are an infringement of civil rights, that does not protect public health but only adds useless strain on people who are already suffering.
We are urging the Government to review the travel ban, establishing a fast track procedure allowing to travel for compassionate reasons and family emergencies. For instance, by replacing the current requirements with a self-declaration, in which the applicant accepts bearing all the risks and costs (e.g. quarantine) associated with overseas travelling. The Government must trust its citizens, as trust is a two-way street.
It is a fundamental right to be able to travel to assist a family member in need!
Why is this important?
It is a fundamental right to be able to travel overseas to assist a family member in need!