Senate debates

Thursday, 12 August 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Overseas Travel

2:45 pm

Photo of Michaelia CashMichaelia Cash (WA, Liberal Party, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

Senator Faruqi, you and I are going to have to differ in relation to the government's response, or your opinion of the government's response, to keeping Australians safe. Australia's strong border control system has undoubtedly been a major factor in our success in managing, as a country, COVID-19, in particular when you look at the global situation. The Morrison government acted swiftly at commencement of COVID-19 to ensure that Australians remain safe.

In relation to the border and travel exemption regime, I think, without a doubt, the closed border and travel exemption regime is underpinned by a system of quarantine designed to ensure that people returning do not present a threat to the community. In relation to the changes to the outbound travel arrangements that Senator Faruqi refers to, as a government we have sought unapologetically to take measures that combat the virus whilst also respecting the rights and freedoms of people. The government's pandemic response is consistent with legal and health advice and is targeted as most effectively protecting Australians from COVID-19. We work closely, as you know, Mr President, with the states and territories through national cabinet to ensure that our COVID-19 response is both measured and appropriate. In fact, I note that the Federal Court has consistently found in favour of the government in previous challenges to Australia's border restrictions.

In relation to the changes that Senator Faruqi refers to, this—


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