Amnesty International has written to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, expressing concern regarding laws that came into effect this week, essentially denying Australian citizens and permanent residents the right to return home.
The Amendment Determination to the Biosecurity Act 2015, which removes the automatic exemption for Australian citizens and permanent residents ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia, to leave Australia without exemption upon return, came into effect on 11 August.
Whilst the amendment allows for individuals to apply for exemptions prior to arranging travel to Australia, initial reports from Australians currently overseas indicate that they are almost immediately having their requests denied, mainly due to exemptions needing to meet erroneous requirements to be deemed ‘exceptional circumstances’.
Whilst Amnesty well understands the need of the Australian Government to protect the right to health of the Australian Community, this objective can and must be achieved through a balanced approach. Human rights are not mutually exclusive.
Rather than impinging upon the rights of Australians overseas, Amnesty has reiterated our previous calls on the Government to expand the federal quarantine system