Australia news live: Penny Wong says she understands why people think government’s India policy is racist

Cricketer Michael Slater adds to voices condemning ban after chief medical officer Paul Kelly warns it could cause the deaths of Australians overseas. Follow live

11.16pm BST

Scott Morrison has been asked why Australia didn’t ban travellers from the US or UK despite similar rates of infection during their respective spikes, and if the characterisation of the Indian policy as “racist” is fair.

Morrison’s tactic when asked this is to talk about China, which by the most generous of characterisations is only vaguely related to the issue.

The same accusation was made against me when I shut the borders to mainland China. We all know the wisdom of that decision. Particularly in hindsight, we knew in foresight.

It’s not true to say the infection rate is the same [as the UK or US]. The infection rate is the same – but the infection rate that matters is the infection rate of people who are coming in on the actual planes into our quarantine. That is much higher ...

11.07pm BST

Prime minister Scott Morrison has been defending the Indian travel ban this morning, watering down the government’s strong rhetoric from across the weekend.

He stressed to the Sunrise program that it was only temporary:

I would ask them to be patient like everyone else and I should stress ... it is a 14-day pause, as I have said, but also if people have been in other places outside of India for 14 days, then they can return home at the moment.

So this is a two-week pause. This is not a permanent pause. This is not a four-month lockdown. What we are seeking to do here is ensure that Australia doesn’t get a third wave of Covid across the country. That is what we are trying to avoid here.

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Tags: Health, UK, Australia, China, India, US, Australia news, Australian politics, Scott Morrison, Penny Wong, Paul Kelly, Morrison, Michael Slater, Coronavirus


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