Legal challenge to travel bans

Statement from President of NSW Council for Civil Liberties on Legal Challenges to Travel Bans

NSW Council for Civil Liberties welcomes the significant separate legal challenges commenced today to the travel bans.

Both the harsh criminal penalties facing returning Australians and the authoritarian exit bans are causing great distress for tens of thousands of people.

The right of Australians to return to Australia is basic, as recognised in international law, and the right of an individual to leave a country, does not need to be infringed to achieve the protection of the Australian community.

Leaving Australian citizens stranded in a country whose hospital system is overwhelmed by COVID-19 exposes them to a deadly disease and is unconscionable.

Our Government should not be preventing Australians from leaving our shores and should not be imprisoning Australian citizens for returning home.

Instead, procedures can and should be put in place to enable people who are fully vaccinated to travel abroad and to be placed in effective quarantine upon their return. If hotel quarantine is ineffective, then it is time for the Government to provide purpose-built facilities.

Pauline Wright is the President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties.