Scott Morrison this morning told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell that no, he didn’t make a mistake in emphasising the threat of five years imprisonment for people returning home from India – the media did.
“This is not something that was accentuated by Greg Hunt, or me, or anyone else, it was picked up by the media,” Morrison said.
Well then. Let’s just check Health Minister Hunt’s press release announcing a ban on Aussies returning home from India, which he sent out in the middle of the night on May 1.
“The Government will implement a temporary pause on travellers from India entering Australian territory if the passenger has been in India within 14 days of the person’s time of departure,” Hunt said.
“The temporary pause follows today’s meeting of National Cabinet and was based on advice about the worsening COVID-19 situation in India. The pause will come into effect at 12:01 am on Monday, 3 May 2021.
“The risk assessment that informed the decision was based on the proportion of overseas travellers in quarantine in Australia who have acquired a COVID-19 infection in India.
“Failure to comply with an emergency determination under the Biosecurity Act 2015 may incur a civil penalty of 300 penalty units, five years’ imprisonment, or both.”
Ding ding fucking ding! There it is!
(You can read the whole thing here, if you want.)
— Political Alert (@political_alert) April 30, 2021
As Greens Senator Sarah-Hanson Young said on Twitter (but I wish I’d thought of first): “I don’t write the press releases, mate.”
It’s a bold strategy to send out a dog whistle, have it blow up in your face, then blame literally anyone else, but let’s see if it plays out for him. I hope the fuck not.