Who benefits from locking us up?
What’s the point of keeping us all imprisoned?
Innocent Aussies on flight ban list
Caroline Overington The Australian August 16, 2020
The federal government is forwarding the names of all Australians who have applied for permission to leave the country during the coronavirus pandemic to Border Force, the agency normally responsible for dealing with deadbeat parents trying to flee the country owing child support or in defiance of custody orders. Shocked Australian citizens have told The Australian about “alarming” letters they have received from the Department of Home Affairs after applying for an exemption to travel abroad to visit sick relatives, take up scholarships or join family abroad.
The letters say their names and passport details have been forwarded to all international departure points and Border Force, a process that triggers an alarm at the airport if they try to leave.
Australia is the only democracy in the world with an outbound travel ban, which prevents citizens from leaving without an exemption from a bureaucrat. The process has been described as arbitrary and secretive by disappointed travellers and they have been told there are no grounds for appeal. The EU, Canada, Britain and New Zealand let their citizens leave the country provided they quarantine upon return.
Australians must apply for a permit, which is granted only in exceptional circumstances. The vast majority of applications — up to 75 per cent — are being denied.
Perth resident Keith Holmes, 71, had this year been planning a $40,000 trip of a lifetime with wife Olga, 60. Olga’s mother lives in Ukraine, and they were going to tour Europe from there, intending to say away for months.
“I applied and of course I was rejected,” Mr Holmes said, “but what shocked me was when they sent a letter saying we’ve sent all your details to the airport, telling them you’ve been refused, and you can’t leave.
“No reason is given, no way to object. It’s all done in secret.
“What kind of country is this? I want to go. I am perfectly happy to stay away for as long as they want me to, and I’ll l pay for quarantine when I get back. Just let me leave.
“I feel I am in jail with no parole mentioned for no crime ever committed. I have never broken the law, paid taxes all my life.”
Australian travellers are welcome in dozens of countries, including all of the EU and Britain, which are open for business.
Many African nations and the Middle East have this month opened borders to travellers. None ever prevented their citizens from leaving.
National cabinet has extended the travel ban until October 24.
“I sent off all my documents, the trips we want to take,” Mr Holmes said. “I am 71 years old, recently retired, and have friends all over the world I want to see. I don’t want to be locked up here. Travelling is my passion. I said to my local MP, I will pay for any testing at each end; I will pay for the ambulance to take me from the airport to my house in Perth.
“I’d pay for two tracking bracelets, one for my ankle, one for my hand if that’s what they want.”
The travel ban is affecting countless Australians abroad, among them young mother Katharine King, who left Australia with her two-year-old daughter, Summer, in January. She had been hoping to spend time with her mother in The Netherlands.
When the pandemic hit, she called the embassy, which advised her to sit tight, and wait to see how things panned out. The international flight cap limiting planes into Australia was then introduced, leaving her scrambling to find tickets to get back.
The ABF did not respond to questions about the process on Sunday night.
Fewer than 30 passengers are allowed on a plane, with Brisbane allowing only 70 people a day to disembark. Melbourne and Hobart are taking no international passengers at all.
The Australian has seen photographs of planes with near-empty economy sections while seats in business class are full.
Airlines are reportedly prioritising business-class customers, creating a two-tier system in which the well-heeled are able to travel while others are not.
“I left when there was no problem, and now I haven’t seen my husband for five months,” Ms King said. “I have been bumped off flights but business-class passengers are allowed to go home.”
She was on Sunday night told she had again been bumped from a confirmed flight home, with no seats available before October 26. “I am … so stressed out and my daughter is so upset,” she said.
1/ Perth residents Olga and Keith Holmes at Cable Beach in Western Australia. They were refused an exemption to leave the country by the Department of Home Affairs. Picture: Abby Murray
It is all an arbitrary, self rationalising, “We need to be seen to be doing something” power grab, driven by ignorant fools who never endure the consequences of their actions. “We’re all in this together” – yeah, right.
We are self cannabilising democratic society, and energetically returning to the Dark Ages, Totalitarianism, Paganism, superstition, not science; peasanthood and serfdom, Twitter Mob rule, and unbridled grabs for State Power – look at the recent attempt by Pallychook to eliminate public disclosure of corruption allegations, not to mention the Victorian Insanistan.
Politicians everywhere are unilaterally expanding their powers, closing Parliaments, implementing arbitrary, ignorant, vastly overreaching edicts, and moving toward Police States.
The only thing that will stem this power grab is widespread citizen’s rebellion – otherwise, we are doomed to become “The Venezuela of the South Pacific”.