An Australian stranded in India is taking legal action as part of the government’s Covid-19 travel ban, while the Prime Minister has defended his controversial move.
An Australian national stranded in India has launched a legal challenge to the federal government’s travel ban.
Gary Newman, an Australian currently living in India, has filed a lawsuit against Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt, which is now in federal court.
According to his lawyer, Christopher Wood SC, Mr. Newman wants to return to Australia as soon as possible but is currently unable to due to the government’s current travel ban, which is set for review on May 15.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has quashed growing fears of possible consequences with India following the government’s ban on the return of Australians from the Covid-devastated country.
Mr. Morrison said on Wednesday said “India is a great friend of Australia,” adding that he was “not concerned” about the health of the relationship.
Under current federal law, Australians who return before May 15 will face jail time and significant fines.
Earlier this week, federal opponents said the ban “flies in the face” of the close bond required between Australia and India in its handling of China.
Mr. Morrison, however, said Australia is providing India with “significant humanitarian efforts”, including respirators, masks and oxygen shipments, after the number of cases in India exceeded two crore.
The travel ban will be reviewed and will likely be lifted by May 15.
Mr. Morrison said, “This break will enable us to bring Australian citizens and residents and families back on the repatriation flight.”
Without it, we would be reduce our ability to do it in the medium to long term, so it was a necessary step.