Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has defended a decision to ban Australians from returning from India, saying the move is designed to “keep Australians safe”.
On Monday a temporary ban will come into force, blocking the return of any Australian who has visited India within 14 days of their intended date of arrival in Australia.
Australians who breach the ban could face up to five years in prison, a $66,000 fine, or both, under the changes to the Biosecurity Act.
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It’s understood to be the first time Australia has taken the step of banning its own citizens from returning home, and enforcing criminal penalties on those who make it to our shores, the ABC reports.
“We have taken drastic action to keep Australians safe, and what we face in India is a very serious situation where the medical advice provided to the federal government has been to put in place these strict measures,” Mr Frydenberg said on Saturday.
“With respect to India and the decision we have taken recently with the Biosecurity Act — the situation in India is dire.
“It’s very serious. More than 200,000 people have died, and there are more than 300,000 new cases a day…