Senate debates

Wednesday, 11 August 2021


COVID-19: International Travel

1:50 pm

Photo of Nick McKimNick McKim (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

Holders of subclass 188 visas, also known as wealthy investor visas, need to be wealthy enough to have invested at least $1½ million in Australia. Holders of these visas are automatically exempt from the travel bans which apply to holders of other temporary visas, some of which also apply to Australian citizens. Subclass 188 visa holders can come and go from Australia as they please, with no need to apply to the Australian Border Force for an exemption from the travel bans, just because they are wealthy enough to have 1.5 million bucks in spare change.

Recently, the government announced that Australian citizens who live overseas will now need to apply for an exemption in order to leave Australia. What that means is that wealthy investors who are not Australian citizens have more rights to leave Australia than all Australian citizens have, now including Australian citizens who live overseas. Once again, it's one rule for the superwealthy, even if they've never lived in our country, and another rule for everyone else, even if they are Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents or temporary visa holders who have built their lives in Australia.

This is not good enough. The government has to explain why superwealthy holders of temporary visas have more rights to travel across our border than Australian citizens and holders of other temporary visas do—one rule for the rich and famous and another rule for everyone else. If you're a wealthy investor visa holder or a famous sports star, you can come and go while all the rest of us have to obey the rules.