Karl Stefanovic slams Scott Morrison over India travel ban: “Incredibly heartless”
Scott Morrison has revealed that the government will review their controversial India travel ban after being slammed as “incredibly heartless”.
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister defended the tough restrictions, however he has since backed down from his threat of jailing or fining Aussies who returned from India.
During a fiery interview with the Today show, Mr Morrison said the tough restrictions on India were made to ensure that more Aussies stranded across the globe could get home via Dubai and Doha.
“We are reviewing it regularly,” Mr Morrison said.
“It’s important we don’t see people coming back to Australia until 15 May from third countries.
“I’m not going to fail Australia. I’m going to protect our borders at this time.”
From Monday, people who have travelled to India within the last fortnight before their arrival back into Australia can face a $66,600 fine as well as five years imprisonment for entering the country under emergency powers in the Biosecurity Act.
“Jailing and fining returning Aussies, I mean, as a sitting prime minister, it is incredibly heartless,” host Karl Stefanovic said.
Mr Morrison says the likelihood of those penalties occurring was “pretty much zero”.
"I'm not going to fail Australia, I'm going to protect our borders."
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) May 3, 2021
“So you’re saying no one will go to jail or be fined, is that right?” Stefanovic clarified.
“I think it’s highly unlikely,” Mr Morrison said.
“These powers at their most extreme end have not been used for those sorts of sanctions in the entire time we’ve had these biosecurity regulations in place.
“We will be administering it, in perspective, and that’s certainly the understanding the border force and other enforcement agencies have.”
Mr Morrison went on to reject Stefanovic’s accusation that his language towards the India travel ban had adjusted slightly.
“As we can hear you this morning there’s an awful lot of bull,” Stefanovic retorted.
Mr Morrison said many people had criticised him over “a lot of difficult decisions” made during the pandemic, but Australia was in an “enviable position”.
“Australians are living in a way like very few in the world today, and there‘s a reason for that,” he said.
“It’s because the government has shown the resilience, and has shown the foresightedness, to take decisions.
“When we shut the borders to China people criticise me for that too.”
Repatriation flights scheduled for India this month are expected to resume by May 15.