Plan to fly international students into Australia abandoned

The COVID-19 outbreak in Melbourne, brought about by epic quarantine failures, seems to have ended plans to fly international students into Australia later this month:

Sloppy management of hotel-based quarantine led to a coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne and forced the Victorian government to put 36 suburbs back under lockdown.

This has raised doubts over plans to fly in foreign students – particularly a scheme to jet in some 800 students to Adelaide.

The federal government has said that it will approve such plans only in states that allow untrammelled travel from interstate. South Australia has now scrapped plans to open its borders to Victorians in mid-July.

New Zealand has similarly abandoned plans due to quarantine failures:

In New Zealand, the education minister, Chris Hipkins, has ruled out a return of overseas students in July or August.

In early May, Mr Hipkins encouraged universities to produce a “concrete proposal” for international students to be readmitted into the country, initially under carefully managed quarantine. But in a late June letter to representative body Isana New Zealand, he scuttled any hope of this happening in time for the start of the second semester.

“International students remain a priority group in the government’s planning for any managed border entry arrangements,” he wrote. But he warned that there were “many details to be worked through, including quarantine and isolation arrangements, monitoring processes and how the costs can be shared by those arriving”.

New Zealand declared itself coronavirus free less than a month ago, arousing optimism that it could boost its share of international students on the back of its successful pandemic management.

But nerves emerged about its ability to safely manage the entry of people from Covid-19 hotspots, particularly when two returnees from the UK tested positive for the disease after being released from quarantine for compassionate reasons.

Quarantine failures unambiguously demonstrate why Australia MUST NOT OPEN THE BORDERS TO INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, TEMPORARY WORKERS OR WOULD-BE MIGRANTS UNTIL THE PANDEMIC PASSES.

There is no full-proof system against this virus. It has escaped borders and boundaries again and again.

If Australia cannot process a few thousand returning citizens and permanent residents without causing major outbreaks and lockdowns, how can it safely handle hundreds of thousands of foreigners from virus ridden nations that have no investment in protecting the country?

The answer is obvious. Opening Australia’s international border is an asymmetric bet that offers huge downside risks for minimal upside. It risks further shutdowns and places Australian lives at risk.

Australia’s international border must closed to all but returning citizens and permanent residents. There must be no exceptions.

Leith van Onselen

Comments

  1. darklydrawlMEMBER

    One good thing about this virus is how it doesn’t care for magical thinking and hopium (or outright lies from our VC’s). There is no magical ‘covid safe corridor’.

    • Cookie Cutter

      The irony is if Dan Andrews had used a good security company instead of an affirmative action one, he wouldn’t have had these problems.

      • C.M.BurnsMEMBER

        a “good” security company, that’s a unicorn right there. Certainly at the rates that government would have been prepared to pay for.

        What VIC should have done is better utilise their police force and also the ADF staff that were made available to every state.

        In NSW, NSW Police are responsible for quarantine hotels, with supporting assistance from private securiy companies. As soon as someone tests positive, they are transferred to separate hotels that are run by NSW Health staff (ie those with the most training and professionalism) with support by ADF personnnel.

      • +1.

        Having worked for a few, never, ever trust a politician to implement a winning policy. Always back the balls up.

  2. Cookie Cutter

    We should also be making plans to send the current “students” and temporary migrants home.

    Unemployed Australians need these jobs now.

    • It’s still on like Donkey Kong… only SA has cancelled it. Thought it was good news until I read the article. 🙁

      • Yeah, me too! I thought that our pollies had finally seen sense!!!!
        Silly me, of course not, money still rules…. wonder if this will eventually be the outcome or if the NSW pollies actually believe they can do this quarantine thing better than VIC!!!!???

    • Well SM said he would only allow foreign students into states that have open borders and Victoria is the only state with open borders and there is no chance of foreign students flying in here (at least for the short term) so it is effectively cancelled for now.

  3. Leith, maybe if you tell Peter Hartcher, he can pass it on direct, to Scott Morrison.

  4. It hasn’t been abandoned yet. The LNP is in charge in SA, so the Federal conditions are likely to be applied selectively and the mainstream media is still asleep and won’t hold them accountable.

    • MSM are in a deep coma, I believe on life support and bascially in a vegeative state. So they will basically never wake up with the same capacity as prior to the coma.

    • Yep. Canberra borders aren’t shut (basically impossible with NSW) so there’s your loophole.

    • Reus's largeMEMBER

      It would be political suicide if they do, can you imagine the outcry if we are being locked down again and then they bring in students and there is a quarantine breach #scottyfrommarketing would go from half hero to zero in no time at all.

  5. Thankyou for saying what needs to be said.

    “Quarantine failures unambiguously demonstrate why Australia MUST NOT OPEN THE BORDERS TO INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, TEMPORARY WORKERS OR WOULD-BE MIGRANTS UNTIL THE PANDEMIC PASSES”

    if i can just refine this statement a little to this
    “Quarantine failures unambiguously demonstrate why Australia MUST NOT OPEN THE BORDERS TO INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, TEMPORARY WORKERS OR WOULD-BE MIGRANTS”

    “If Australia cannot process a few hundred returning citizens and permanent residents without causing major outbreaks and lockdowns, how can it safely handle hundreds of thousands of foreigners from virus ridden nations that have no investment in protecting the country?”

    Exactly thank you very much. Instead of the best and brightest what do we bring into the country.

    “Australia’s international border must closed to all but returning citizens and permanent residents. There must be no exceptions”

    I would go so far as to say if you are a “resident or citizen ” but somehow after arriving here spend more than 3 months a year back in whatever local you claim to have escaped from then you dont get to come back either.

    But i concede as a society we are no longer allowed to put the welfare of this country or its citizens first.

  6. rob barrattMEMBER

    We could get them sent over by shipping container. By the time they arrived the pandemic could be over.
    Just a suggestion..

  7. ChinajimMEMBER

    Democracy works! 😃

    I wrote an email to my local state MP, who is also SA’s AG, last Friday.

    You are welcome. ☺️