Too risky to bring back students and reboot immigration

It is hard to believe that only one month ago the NSW Government hatched a treasonous plan to reserve one-third of the state’s hotel quarantine places for international students to be flown into Australia on chartered flights and have their quarantine costs paid for by universities:

The NSW government is taking a plan to national cabinet to bring up to 1000 international students a week into Sydney starting in the new year…

The students, to arrive on charter flights, will use up nearly one-third of the state’s 3000 passenger a week limit on overseas entries…

The plan is strongly backed by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian because of the economic benefit it will bring NSW…

The NSW move was welcomed by International Education Association of Australia chief executive Phil Honeywood…

The arriving students will need to spend two weeks in quarantine, and some universities are willing to pay the $3000 quarantine cost on the students’ behalf…

One month on from this brain fart and both NSW and Victoria are battling fresh COVID-19 outbreaks seeded from failed hotel quarantine in NSW.

Yesterday WA Premier Mark McGowan and acting NSW Premier John Barilaro clashed over the issue of hotel quarantine limits, while NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said that the state was seeing more virus infections in returned travellers:

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said Australia may battle the coronavirus for years to come with the disease potentially becoming ingrained, like the flu.

Her comments came amid concerns over the new cluster at a Berala bottle shop in Sydney’s west, which has been linked to staff from NSW’s hotel quarantine program.

“We are are seeing more infections in our returning travellers, and whilst we regret any transmission event, we need to learn from it,” Dr Chant said…

In Queensland, Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said five new cases in hotel quarantine emphasised “the importance of keeping a very secure hotel quarantine process in place for Queensland”…

Experts said leaks from hotel quarantine systems were inevitable unless the state or federal government imposed tighter controls…

WA Premier Mark McGowan said that since October his state had been doing the heavy lifting on taking in returned travellers, accepting more than NSW on a per capita basis…

Associate Professor Sanjaya Senanayake, an infectious disease expert from the Australian National University, said the only way to guarantee Australia did not face any more outbreaks was to let no one into the country.

“That would be unrealistic and Australians overseas would expect to be repatriated,” Dr Senanayake said.

“It’s not just passengers and tourists who are coming back. It’s also cargo.”

With virus numbers exploding internationally amid new highly infectious strains, the risk of importing the virus via returned travellers is increasing.

Reflecting this, the number of overseas acquired cases in hotel quarantine is rising:

Given the clear risks involved in quarantining international arrivals, quarantine places must be reserved for returning Australian citizens and permanent residents only. To do otherwise would not only be unfair to the tens-of-thousands of Australians still stranded abroad, but would also greatly increase the risks of importing the virus.

The education industry’s shameless lobbying for international students to return needs to be rejected outright.

Unconventional Economist


  1. Just a tidbit for the reflection of all. Assuming it does become ingrained like the flu, at what point do we decide to just remove the restrictions? The reality is you won’t keep it out for the next 30 years, and is it worth the restrictions even if you did?

      • The flu vaccines haven’t exactly done a great job of eradicating the flu…

        The spanish flu pandemic most likely petered out as people either died or had an immune system that could deal with it.
        According to 2 minutes of googling Spanish flu was H1N1 and is still around today.
        So unless and until we let it rip locally it is likely we will need restricted borders indefinitely as it remains active worldwide.

        • I don’t think letting it rip is a good idea. Flattening the cure is still the best strategy. It is unfair on health workers to let it rip. Eventually there will be enough of the vulnerable who have been vaccinated for it to not matter.

          • But we aren’t flattening the curve, at 100 new cases a day it will take 547 years to get through 20 million people. 1000 a day brings that into 54 years, 10,000 5 years.100,000 a day to get through everyone in 6 months.

          • Are our hospitals overloaded like they are in the UK and US?
            Edit: read my comment again. In less than a year everyone who needs to be vaccinated will be.

          • We are eradicating not flattening, when will the curve be finished? Also no one has any idea how effective these vaccinations will be.

          • I thought it was 90 or 95% for a two dose treatment of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The question is how much of the 5-10% will need to be hospitalised or die anyway.

          • Based on what? They haven’t had time to develop and test these things properly and independently, and if you want to sell them to governments begging to throw money at you, or competing alternate developers, are you likely to design your trials to over or under state the effectiveness?

          • RobotSenseiMEMBER

            They haven’t had time to develop and test these things properly

            So in the meantime, as we have exceedingly low cases while we look at our European and North American colleagues being inundated with cases, doesn’t it make sense to wait, see if the vaccines work, and respond accordingly?

            All those predictions of “economic armageddon” have amounted to naught so far.

        • True seasonal flu vaccines are only about 30-40% effective, once there are enough divergent strains of covid with many new strains each year guess it could bye a similar story which covid

        • Interesting, thanks for posting. However, it seems early on she claimed there is no pandemic, and that HCQ and vitamins are sufficient treatment, so was asked to resign from prestigious institutions.

          Nevertheless, I wonder if that’s why OZ is waiting til March? Or even if that’s why the roll out is so slow to date? If there is even one reaction as Prof Cahill describes it will bring the world to its knees and no one will have the jab.

          And the conspiracy theorists will have a field day! Lol.

    • Display NameMEMBER

      Like Spanish Flu is will recede over a few years. Viruses generally mutate to less aggressive strains otherwise they run out of hosts and cease to exist.

      • Mutations are random, not “intelligent design”, so either case is just as likely. Plenty of viruses have wiped out huge portions of the population throughout history leaving only those with immune systems capable of dealing with them left.

      • yes – an old doctor I spoke to said he hoped the virus would mutate itself out of existence in a few years. that is obviously the big hope.

        the other question I have is how effective is the vaccine. do you still get “mild covid” if you have the vaccine – and if so what are the implications (long term) of mild covid. I am a long distance runner getting older and can’t afford to lose any lung function!

        • Spanish flu hasn’t mutated itself out of existence yet so the wait may be impractical. People naturally selected for immune response is the mutation that actually happened. For a practical demonstration see what happened when europeans brought dozens of diseases to the new world that they had already been selected to have high immunity to, while the indigenous populations had never had such exposure. They got wiped out in huge numbers.

        • billygoatMEMBER

          Yes an ENT surgeon during early covid days discarded his mask during consult stating they were useless & served no purpose except to grow sinus infections. (Good business for him)
          Sinus infection symptoms imitate the covid variety:
          Most common symptoms:
          dry cough
          Less common symptoms:
          aches and pains
          sore throat
          loss of taste or smell
          a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes
          Serious symptoms:
          difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
          chest pain or pressure
          loss of speech or movement

          How a vaccine will stop one or all of these symptoms in common man is beyond my tiny brain. For sure the ‘covid tests’ will come up negative or false positive or whatever cos Australia & rest of world well versed in number wang:)

    • Peter PanMEMBER

      Trying to keep it out seems the best option to me.
      Many still seem to hold the view that COVID is just “this little flu”. There are places in the world where hospitals are currently overwhelmed by COVID patients and you read that in some hospitals the only way a bed becomes vacant is when a COVID patient dies(doctor’s comment). A doctor said that he would expect their whole hospital to be filled with only COVID patients in a few weeks at the current rate that patients present.
      Hospitals are staffed by people, not robots. Medical staff in these places are completely overworked. Surgeons requested to work in ICU. Staff dying from COVID. A friend of mine had a friend in the UK that was a nurse. 41 years old, 2 kids, died from COVID. Many nursing staff getting sick. Some dying. They don’t have full hazmat suits, so are all likely to get the virus at some point. It is very infectious. It is true at this point that most deaths occur in the aged population, but if the hospitals are overwhelmed, then all critically ill patients die. One county in California reported daily deaths now number more than twice the average daily deaths pre-COVID.
      Medical studies point to severe consequences from the virus. Amongst some: “Myocardial injury is relatively common in patients with COVID-19, accounting for 7%-23% of cases, and is associated with a higher rate of morbidity and mortality. “.
      If we are not happy with between a 1 in 14 to 1 in 4 chance of getting long term heart damage, then we should do our best to not have the virus spread. This obviously would mean changes to the way we lived and travelled pre-COVID. At least for some time until the vaccines miraculously eradicate the virus or some other miracle cure emerges.
      Fortunately at this time we are still in the lucky country. Other places will probably be dealing with the after effects of this disaster for years to come.

    • This. No other realisitic option until the vaccines clock in.

      May take years tho’ as Fauci admits it will require 90% of the US to be vaccinated for effective herd immunity and at current inoculation rates this could take 10 years!

      Either stop returns altogether or find a different solution – eg Christmas Island for a month at returnee’s own expense. This continuing opening/shutting jeopardizes all Australians and the economy for a tiny few.

      • Shades of MessinaMEMBER

        Or perhaps we can use our brains and implement basic rules. Basic rules like the bus drivers who shuttle incoming passengers around also need to self isolate and shouldn’t be allowed to go out into the community and mingle after doing their shifts.

        The continuing idiocy of the states approach to this and the subsequent knee jerk reactions are farcical but pretty typical of Australia unfortunately.

        • billygoatMEMBER

          @ shades..this sort of inconsistent nonsense is deliberate. It breeds con fusion Folk with tinier brains than mine can’t recall or join the dots of story and the ‘narrative’ becomes a frantically delivered tale of fear, worry & supposed death with hero medicos & hospital cleaning staff all working the ‘frontline’ with ample time for clapping themselves, performing complicated choreographed dance numbers for tik tok in matching scrubs.
          MSM script readers practice ‘stern, worried & chastising face expressions & voice tone.
          Ignorant folk soak up ‘$B&D speak like a dry sponge and repeat verbatim to another mum, out of work shop assistant or tradie etc while they wait in line their local suburban cafe for a $5 latte to ‘do their bit’
          Soap opera fit for 6.30pm weekday time slot

        • So who is going to go into isolation permanently for a minimum wage job? Or are we going to pay $250,000 a year for bus drivers who self isolate? I know I wouldn’t work for my well above bus driver wage on condition I self isolate indefinitely.

          • Shades of MessinaMEMBER

            Yes we should absolutely pay them well enough to make it attractive, just like we pay FIFO workers on mine sites and oil rigs. Do you not think this is a serious enough issue to warrant that ??!!.

            The alternative is to deliberately decimate billions of dollars of business activity and employment, and/or spend $60 billion of taxpayer funds on nonsense like Jobkeeper.

            Pretty clear choice for me, and can’t also see why the elemination crowd aren’t clamouring for it.

    • kierans777MEMBER

      “With the benefit of hindsight, we should have bitten the bullet back in March and closed the national border completely to international travellers.”

      There were calls in January and February to close the international border. I was one of the small voices telling anyone who would listen. It was the incompentence of the feds plain and simple. #scottyfrommarketing cares more about “the economy” than the public health of the country. He moved too slowly and is always dragged to making any decisions that actually benefit the masses.

      Hindsight is not required. Foresight is. And the feds have none.

    • Peter PanMEMBER

      Closing the borders is the obvious easy solution.
      That probably just won’t happen. Given that the current hospital quarantine system has failed repeatedly it is astonishing that the federal government has not taken the initiative to construct proper quarantine facilities.
      There is lots of open space in Australia. Build a runway(far from the nearest town, say 100km so that people will not want to escape). Construct proper facilities close by where people can properly quarantine. Provide open space so that people can get out in the open… they may not always want to if there are sufficient flies around.
      Fence the whole place of with proper security. Pay the staff well. They have to quarantine themselves for 2 weeks coming off shift.
      Even if this costs $20bn or more it still better than everything being locked down with the risk still even with lockdowns that the virus may still not be able to be eradicated.
      The virus may be with us for longer than we think, maybe for ever. Might as well take some appropriate action to deal with it rather than to wish and hope the virus will just disappear(fairytale stuff).

      • kierans777MEMBER

        > it is astonishing that the federal government has not taken the initiative to construct proper quarantine facilities.

        That would require …. well ….. initiative.

        I am not astonished at all that the federal government hasn’t done anything about enforcing proper quarantining. They are the party of Seinfeld.

    • I personally think they want some failure of the quarantine borders to happen so they can say:

      – Quarantine is not that effective
      – You will have to live with it eventually in the community

      Thereby vindicating their position that “suppression” is the right strategy especially in NSW. So far sadly people are believing it.

      That way the community takes the pain (e.g wearing masks, social distancing, etc) and big business/unis get the benefits (some immigration, selective open borders, international students).

      • Mr SquiggleMEMBER

        That’s an interesting take on things. I thought they wanted quarantine to work as a way of opening the borders. Put it this way, if you could 100% guarantee and confirm a person did not have COVID, would you have any issues with letting them into Australia?

    • Yes, I was one calling for closed border in Feb before it got out of control here. That said it may not be the best solution if it runs riot in nearly all other countries & mutates fast enough that our vaccine has a low rate of success on new strains or if who don’t get immunity to new strains after infection by old strains. Originally they seemed to think coronaviruses wouldn’t mutate quickly like normal flu, we’ll have to see if vaccine is effective against new UK & South African (another couple possibly as well with similar mutation apparently) which seems to be able to infect younger people more. Time will tell if closing the border is economically or socially the smart thing. Currently I’d have to go with closed border to all but returning Aussies.

  2. We either give up and accept everyone will get the virus, or we fight it properly with a decent quarantine technique.

    A decent quarantine technique would be:

    * sensibly located
    * well resourced
    * run by highly trained and well-payed goverment employees
    * be well scrutinised with many checks and balances.

    Basically, all the things our currently Neoliberal “cheap-arse” system is not.
    * Our govt has Neoliberally outsourced quarantine to the private sector
    * Cheap-arse foreign labour uses cheap-arse buses to transport their Neoliberal customers to cheap-arse city hotels which are totally unsuitable for quarantine purposes.
    * Neoliberal cheap-arse immigrant workers then provide all services within the hotels and then work 2nd jobs in other Neoliberal cheap-arse venues such as service stations and bottle shops where they come in contact with many other people.
    * secret exemptions for airline staff, talented sports and music celebrities, politicians, rich political donors, Tony Abbott, etc.

    It is a recipe for failure.

    My suggestion is that all incoming flights from overseas should land at a remote secure location run by staff who live on site. Any infected people are immediately moved to another secure location staffed by immune people.
    The concept of controlling the mixing of dangerous with safe is not a new thing. Anyone who has cooked raw meat or has walking in off a muddy street should understand the basics of what needs to be done.

    Also of concern is this magical 14-day quarantine period which seems to have been plucked out of someone’s arse in early January (likely a Neoliberal cheap one too) and religiously adhered to since, and has yet to be validated or adjusted by any scientific method.

    • Nice try, but reality will get in your way again. Freight transport and the people involved in it get an exemption virtually from necessity and will remain a hole in the quarantine net even if we fully follow your plan. The reality is we will not close the borders tight enough because the costs are too high.

          • boomengineeringMEMBER


            January 5, 2021 at 10:35 am
            To bjw
            Make of this what you will, its someone else’s opinion but worth noting.
            January 5, 2021 at 10:19 am
            The flu vaccines haven’t exactly done a great job of eradicating the flu…

            The spanish flu pandemic most likely petered out as people either died or had an immune system that could deal with it.
            According to 2 minutes of googling Spanish flu was H1N1 and is still around today.
            So unless and until we let it rip locally it is likely we will need restricted borders indefinitely as it remains active worldwide
            REPOST make of it what you will, its just someone else’s opinion.
            Niko MEMBER
            December 29, 2020 at 10:45 am
            at what point should we expect reduction of infections as a result of use of vaccines? Many countries are already rolling out vaccination programs.


            December 29, 2020 at 11:01 am
            Watch out Nik,
            By Sal Martingano May 29, 2020

            History tells us that the 1918 Spanish Flu killed between 50 – 100 million people. At the time, medical and pharmaceutical sources described it as THE MOST horrific disease process since the Black Plague of 1347, which killed an estimated 25-30 million people.


            In the book, Vaccination Condemned, by Eleanor McBean, PhD, N.D., the author describes, in detail, personal and family experiences during the 1918 “Spanish Flu” pandemic.
            A few years ago, I came across another book by Eleanor McBean: “Vaccination…The Silent Killer”. McBean provides evidence that not only were the historical events of the 1918 “Spanish Flu” compromised, but also those of the Polio and Swine Flu epidemics.


            Spain was neutral during WW1 and did NOT censor its press, unlike the combatting countries. As a result, Spain was the first to report the 1918 Flu epidemic and the world “scapegoated” Spain as the source. Thus, the “Spanish Flu” is born.


            In preparation for WW1, a massive military vaccination experiment involving numerous prior developed vaccines took place in Fort Riley, Kansas- where the first “Spanish Flu” case was reported.


            The fledgling pharmaceutical industry, sponsored by the ‘Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research’, had something they never had before – a large supply of human test subjects. Supplied by the U.S. military’s first draft, the test pool of subjects ballooned to over 6 million men.


            Autopsies after the war proved that the 1918 flu was NOT a “FLU” at all. It was caused by random dosages of an experimental ‘bacterial meningitis vaccine’, which to this day, mimics flu-like symptoms. The massive, multiple assaults with additional vaccines on the unprepared immune systems of soldiers and civilians created a “killing field”. Those that were not vaccinated were not affected.


            WW1 ended sooner than expected, leaving HUGE quantities of unused experimental vaccines.
            Fearing that soldiers coming home would spread diseases to their families, The U.S. government pushed the largest vaccine ‘fear’ campaign in history. They used the human population as a research and development lab to field test experimental vaccines.
            Tens of millions of civilians died in the same manner as did the soldiers.
            Instead of stopping the vaccines, doctors intensified them, calling it the great “Spanish Flu of 1918”. As a result, ONLY THE VACCINATED DIED.
            “Seven men dropped dead in a doctor’s office after being vaccinated. Letters were sent to their families that they had been killed in action.”

            Eleanor McBean

            WW1 U.S. soldiers were given 14 – 25 untested, experimental vaccines within days of each other, which triggered intensified cases of ALL the diseases at once. The doctors called it a new disease and proceeded to suppress the symptoms with additional drugs or vaccines.


            In the examples given in my previous blog “COVID 19: Another Chapter in the History of Deception and Secrecy”, history is replete with intentional lies told to the public to either “save face” or to deceive for nefarious purposes. The 1918 “Spanish Flu” was no exception.



          • boomengineeringMEMBER

            How would that be offence to me, not my opinion, just like to observe other peoples alternative opinions and share for dissemination.
            While we’re at it,
            Small pox killed 3 out of 10 people, 500,000 in the last 100 years of its reign with a vastly smaller world population.
            Why does no one ever mentions this one ? any answer welcome.

          • Why does no one mention this one?
            “The last naturally occurring case was diagnosed in October 1977, and the World Health Organization (WHO) certified the global eradication of the disease in 1980.”
            It is simply no longer in living memory for a very significant portion of the population.
            Although if you are questioning in regard to vaccine effectiveness, it comes down to the “childhood” diseases that you get only once (measles, chicken pox etc) being great candidates for producing vaccinations for while the normal infections you get over and over ala flu and cold aren’t. The question is is covid a “childhood” style disease or not?

        • Except the freight people move with the freight. The practicalities are huge numbers of people just self isolating permanently for average wages isn’t very likely to happen though. And if we start paying the entire freight industry remote mine site wages your goods prices will go through the roof. The reality is you are talking about stricter than remote mining isolation, ie while you are working + 2 weeks after your last shift for quarantining, for you and any FAMILY that live with you, compared with just your shift for yourself for a remote mine.
          It is simply not practical.

          • Hang about. Cases here have come from lax quarantine, not freight workers. It should be possible to unload freight at the wharf – mostly automated? – and for Strayan drivers to pick it up and distribute it with little physical contact from the ships/planes delivering. Seems to have been working ok to date. There’s little evidence of transmission from objects.

          • There’s little evidence of transmission from objects.

            Clearly. That is why everywhere I look these days someone is wiping down a surface with disinfectant.

          • @bjw678

            It was recognised months ago that all this cleaning is probably a huge waste of time and money.


            “Available data indicate that SARS-CoV-2 has spread more like most other common respiratory viruses, primarily through respiratory droplet transmission within a short range (e.g., less than six feet). There is no evidence of efficient spread (i.e., routine, rapid spread) to people far away or who enter a space hours after an infectious person was there.”


            This is why transmission here has happened through lax quarantine, not through freight.

          • Oh well, at least this would be great for our CAD balances. No more imports! Self sufficiency and a lack of off shoring this would encourage would be a plus for jobs and the economy.

            Tbh I think the positives outweigh the negatives for Australia to close trade. We are one of the few lucky countries with low population and an abundance of natural resources and food.

  3. I said a few weeks (months?) ago when we had the SA outbreak that it was what was needed to make sure the inane plans to ship in foreign students was put on ice. As much as it pains me as a NSW resident to say it – this Dec/Jan outbreak was needed to keep the stupid at bay a little longer.

    The ANU professor has it right – the best quarantine is simply much, much stricter. Reduce the quarantine capacity and move it away from the big cities. The virus has escaped quarantine like 5 or 6 times now?

  4. Keep calling out the treason. My professional life will suffer immensely, but still I am not a traitor and the borders must be closed for 2021.

    Its all Trump’s fault. ..(sarc

    • Totes BeWokeMEMBER

      In NSW, it’s not stupidity. It’s money and privilege.

      Edit, scratch that. Actually I can think of half a dozen stupid things they’re doing, including;

      1. Testing with no symptoms, away from any cluster and then having to isolate. My mate got tested at the same time as his son (son’s employment), no symptoms. It would have been easier to not get tested and not have to isolate.

      2. Leaving Hazzard and Gladys in charge.

      3. Allowing north shore to leave the area and go to work.

      4. Not having a roster to get tested to eliminate lining up.

      Government is self serving, incompetent and corrupt, and this virus keeps highlighting it.

  5. How about this for an idea.
    DON’T FLY SICK. Test 24 to 48 hours prior to boarding and then quarantine in Australia. Another suggestion would be to only allow Qantas and Air NZ into Australia.

    • Totes BeWokeMEMBER

      Exactly. It’s just mind boggling that an island, that pretty much eliminated the virus, now has it across the states.

      It’s incompetence, elitism, it’s poor coordination, its lack of oversight.

      It is way passed time demands for resignations were not dismissed.

  6. Totes BeWokeMEMBER

    Still haven’t heard what caused the latest outbreak. Cover up, an exempted elite, I’m betting.

    Hazzard should resign over the ridiculous goings on in the north shore. His most recent exempting boat arrivals. Gladys needs to go too for just being the worst leader entirely backed by MSM.

  7. No international students will be coming in for S1. Preparations would be well underway at this point if they were.

    I agree with Anon. Small containable leaks from quarantine help keep the stupid at bay.

  8. Totes BeWokeMEMBER

    Aftet Gladys reinfected the country, have the MSM asked Morrison if NSW is still “the gold standard”?

    Rhetorical question. Of course they haven’t.

    That she is still Premier is a disgrace, and a reflection on what a stupid electorate will put up with.

    • Totes BeWokeMEMBER

      I’d bet my left one. I’d also bet people overseas are being given citizenship to come in as Australians.

      The numbers don’t add up. It seems the list of Australians wanting to come home hasn’t changed, despite many thousands already having returned.

      You can guarantee there’s countless people behind the scenes, mostly politicians, scamming Australia for the benefit of the elites.

    • boomengineeringMEMBER

      You mean like the cargo that went to Pommie Land inside and under trucks and containers that ran out of air.
      Didn’t seem to much of a disincentive though.

  9. Meanwhile WA has just reported 3 new cases of the new UK strain and Gladys has let a man travel throughout the state – “an 18-year-old man from Berala, who has since tested positive to COVID-19, travelled to Orange, Nyngan and then Broken Hill for a camping trip.”

    Pfft. Gladys’ lost it. Back to square one. Will they ever learn? Fckn hopeless.

    At least Dan has the right idea and asks the other states to follow suit in locking down cabin crew who’re far more covid-infected than the passengers.

    How is it even possible that no one worked this out before. Dah.

  10. Enjoy ya hols Gladys babe, oh yeah

    And over on the other side Boris of similar ilk, with 60,000 cases a day, anounces a so-called “hard Lockdown”…..except “This time, people in England will still be allowed to meet one other person to exercise together outside, and places of worship will remain open, as will playgrounds. Elite professional soccer matches will continue.

    Places of worship ffs – all singing their hearts out.

    He should ask Dan what a hard lockdown is.

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