A woman gets a COVID-19 test in Beawar, India (Image: Sumit Saraswat/Pacific Press/Sipa USA)

Crikey readers are not ones to let an important issue slide by without letting their voices be heard — particularly when it comes to questions of injustice. The India travel ban is no exception. As with most big subjects, opinion was split — on causes, fixes, and even the question of whether it is right. Today, Your Say is dedicated to the debate.

On the India travel ban

Andrew Dunkin writes: Mr Keane attempts to link the government’s decision around penalties for attempting to circumvent a law with health advice upon which a temporary travel restriction has been imposed. This is disingenuous. The health advice supports suspension of travel. Separately, beyond the realm of the chief medical officer, the government decides on measures such as sanctions by which to bring about the desired outcome. Of course the CMO did not recommend penalties, why would he? It is beyond his remit and you are misleading your readers in making people believe otherwise.

John Moen writes: The PM is openly sprouting his Christian beliefs and his actions reflect this, except in his empathy. This is pure hypocrisy and most of the public don’t seem to recognise this. He should be allowing the 9000 or so Indian-Australian citizens trapped in India to come home. It is also racism despite what his government claims.

Maggie Deeth writes: While Scott Morrison makes so much of his religious beliefs he forgets that compassion is (or was once, I seem to recall) one of the tenets of the religion he espouses, and it occurs to me to that such compassion is only bestowed on certain chosen people and not on others. I weep for the people of India and for the Australians there who are being threatened by Morrison and the government.

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Peter Best writes: Not wanting to be in any way sympathetic to ScoMo– good lord, no! — but could the awful treatment of India have something to do with the reportedly far nastier versions of COVID circulating there and the governmental laxity in dealing with them?

Pauline Ashton writes: I am horrified by the government’s ban on citizens who want to come home from India. Not just the ban but the fine and threat of up to five years in jail. I can’t understand it. When the numbers were bad in the UK and USA there were no threats like this. I can’t see it any other way but racism disguised as a health matter. This government can spend hundreds of millions on keeping asylum seekers out of Australia but is being tight-arsed about bringing Australians home.

Kelvin Sparks writes: I was talking to an English friend yesterday, a well-informed chap but with little knowledge of Australian politics. He raised the issue of the travel ban that he had read about. His comment: “It sounds fascist to me…” Well, there are plenty of precedents for fascism and racism going hand in hand…

John Hamer writes: I don’t see anything racist on our ban of travellers from India. Given the pandemic in India is totally out of control, why should Australia open itself to the pandemic taking over in Australia?

Kristin Tsalapatani writes (from Athens): Suddenly, Australia has hit the news abroad for its draconian laws about not allowing its citizens back into the country. Is it because the number of 9000 Indians sounds so drastic and now there’s a sensational fine and possible jail sentence? What about the other citizens? The reportedly 30,000 or so Australians stranded overseas for months and months? Has the government considered subsidising special flights to bring citizens back? Citizens who would work, pay taxes, shop — thus contributing to the economy. I am a fifth generation Australian, now living in Greece to be near my sons and grandchildren. I wonder if I’ll be allowed in if a family member falls ill or dies. Without a fine or a jail sentence, that is. Shame on you Australia. Is there no empathy course for the whole federal government?

Gerald Thomas writes: The Coalition government has long had a flexible and, above all, pragmatic position on the notion of citizenship. When banning Australian terrorists from returning upped its political status, the government moved to ejecting dual citizens who have committed a crime. Now, faced with criticisms on a wide range of fronts from misogyny to rorts, what better deflection than to “protect” Australian people. The health advice was clear — it was the poor state of our quarantine facilities that was driving the need for a temporary ban. But why stop at a ban? Jail the bastards. This whole saga is actually exposing the failure of the Coalition government to institute a long-term solution to quarantine, which we are going to need even at this late hour.

Stephen Kimber writes: If it looks racist, smells racist and tastes racist… this is a government whose morality is transient, essentially mercenary and focused on bottom lines and populist maintenance of self. Like everything else they touch, this is mismanaged and wrong.

Peter Jaehne writes: I am not a supporter of the Australian government providing special conditions to bring our cricketers back to Australia. If the government is providing this service, it must be available to all Australian citizens currently in India and other countries that are heavily plagued by COVID-19. If we do not offer the same to all citizens, it shows the Australian people that sports people are considered “more important” than the average Australian. The government needs to be mindful to not create a monster. If Australian cricketers were playing for Australia at the time, this may be acceptable, but in this instance, all are playing to fill their back pocket and understood the risk prior to travelling.

Les Williams writes: The travel ban from India highlights a complete failure of Morrison and the federal government to establish a fit-for-purpose quarantine system in Australia. True to form, this PM and government have simply pandered to the hotel lobby and filled its pockets with billions in taxpayers’ funds. I would like to see Crikey run an article on the financial benefit to these hotel chains by forcing returning Australians into (not-fit-for-purpose) hotels and how repatriation of Australians has been impeded by a failure to establish quarantine facilities to cater for the numbers.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey