marise payne saudi arabia jamal khashoggi
Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

When filling out exemption forms to travel abroad, Australians must check a box acknowledging they do not have a legal right to consular assistance -- meaning there is no guarantee the government will help them out in a crisis. 

Although Australians have never had a legal right to overseas assistance, legal experts say the document's wording presents a worrying imbalance of power. They also question whether the hard border closures are legal. 

Lower your expectations

To leave the country, an exemption must be granted through the Australian Border Force using emergency powers under the Biosecurity Act. Data provided to Crikey by the ABF showed between March 25 and June 30 this year, 363,796 people applied for an exemption. Of those 171,209 were approved, 94,178 were denied -- a success rate of 47% -- and the rest are still waiting for a result.