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Government promises to let Australian citizens leave if they live abroad

Under the changes, an Australian who lives overseas will have to provide evidence such as a foreign drivers licence or residency card, tenancy agreement, utility bills or rates notice and a letter from their employer or employment contract.

According to the new rules, exemptions can be applied for when an Australian is still offshore – so they can have certainty prior to undertaking their journey.

Ms Andrews said the move was “based on health advice” and ensures that people are only travelling if it is essential.

Opposition home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally said the move only highlighted the need for purpose-built national quarantine facilities and Prime Minister Scott Morrison was to blame for this not happening.

“The Morrison government claims this as a result of pressure on Australia’s quarantine capacity – if Mr Morrison had done his job, and set up fit for purpose national quarantine facilities last year we wouldn’t be in this position,” she said.

“With all the gaps in the Morrison government’s exemption program, why are they continuing to leave Australians behind?”


Citizenship expert at the Australian National University Kim Rubenstein said the change could be constitutionally invalid and could disproportionately affect Australians from a multicultural background.

“It’s not really a loophole, it is the normal rights of a person to travel back and forward to their country of citizenship,” she said.

“They have made it even more draconian than it was at the beginning. No matter where you are from in the world, if you land here, you could be trapped.

“Australia is a multicultural society. You are severely impacting the lives of people who have families abroad, who want to be able to connect with and spend time with their families in a COVID-safe way.”

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