Hunter and Bligh members say the Prime Minister’s hands are clean.

With more than 222,000 deaths and counting, India is currently facing a nationwide COVID-19 crisis. From 8505 kilometres away, Australia’s COVID policies are being questioned, with Indian-Australians stranded in a country that’s running third place in the world’s most recorded deaths associated with the pandemic.

Despite recent spikes across India and an estimated 9000 Australians unable to make the trip home, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has closed our borders and flagged a $66,000 fine for any Australian returning home from India – cricketer or not.

More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of Australian Hunter and Bligh members agreeing with the government’s hardline stance on allowing its citizens to return from the subcontinent.

68 per cent of Australians agree with the government’s decision to ban travel from India.

Around half (50.5 per cent) of those surveyed agree with the government’s decision to implement criminal sanctions for any Australian that tries to cross our borders from India – whether it’s a $66,000 fine or six years in gaol –  and about the same proportion (50.8 per cent) believe the policy in place is neither un-Australian nor immoral.

One Hunter and Bligh member said: “At times of international conflict or struggle, the government’s job is to do all it can to protect the country (that is its job). Therefore, the government must protect the country and take every action to do so – this is not about individuals. The [Australian] government is taking a cautious and measured approach – this is the correct action to protect and keep safe the majority. Difficult decisions have to be made [and] this is one – [it’s] a necessary decision.”

Meanwhile, former Australian cricketer Michael Slater, who is reportedly in the Maldives, said in a Tweet on Monday 03 May 2021 that the Australian government’s India travel ban is outrageous. “It’s a disgrace!! Blood on your hands PM (Prime Minister)”, Slater said. However, more than half (66.1 per cent) of Hunter and Bligh members disagree with Slater’s comments and agree with Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s decision.

Another Hunter and Bligh member said: “Unfortunately, we’re in a world pandemic. The people who travelled to India in the last 12 months, shouldn’t have. We don’t want COVID back in Australia. They need to wait it out. It’s not ideal, but it’s just the way it is”, said one Australian.

Other members were less sure, with one saying there is no simple answer to the current situation. “There is the ‘greater good’ of the current population in Australia to consider. But I do understand that there are people at risk in India that want to remove themselves from that danger. There should be a middle ground where those returning from India would be under more controlled quarantine for a longer period with testing done regularly to prevent transmission.”

If a family member was stuck, would your opinion change? Join in on the conversation on our InstagramFacebook or Twitter now.

Data received by Hunter and Bligh and conducted by CoreData Research, a global specialist financial services research and strategy consultancy. The survey was conducted in May 2021 and received results from 1240 Australians.
Feature image: Taj Mahal, Agra, India. Photographed by Shashidhar S. Image via Unsplash.