Australia’s pandemic management is considered a great success, and the country is virtually virus-free. Superstars like Zac Efron, Julia Roberts and Ed Sheeran have taken advantage of that.
One of the reasons for the low infection rates is that the authorities were out early to close the borders when the pandemic started. At the same time, the Australian government has attracted foreign film recordings by offering tax breaks for production companies.
– They call it “Aussiewood”, a local reporter told the BBC.
The reason why this is controversial is because many Australians are themselves hard hit by the country’s strict travel restrictions. As of today, around 40,000 Australians are stranded abroad.
Australia’s restrictions meant, among other things, that most flights to Australia could not carry more than 40 passengers. As a result, the price of airline tickets has skyrocketed, in addition to the fact that you have to pay for mandatory hotel quarantine.
A flight ticket from the UK to Australia can cost between 3,000 and 15,000 Australian dollars, between 19,500 and 98,000 kroner, and quarantine hotels cost from 3,000 Australian dollars, 19,500 kroner, per person. It has simply become too expensive for the average Australian to travel home.
– Be ready
On Facebook groups, Australians try to help each other get home.
– Be ready to travel on 24 hour notice. Never turn off the phone, it says in the group «Stranded Australians Abroad».
This group has called for the Australian state to be reported for human rights violations, and has launched a signature campaign to get the UN Human Rights Committee to intervene.
The Australian government has insisted that the price of returning home is up to the airlines.
The vast majority of the superstars are in Australia to work, but several have dropped the mandatory entry quarantine.
For example, Julia Roberts and Ed Sheeran lived together on a luxury ranch outside Sidney. Matt Damon, Nicole Kidman and Dannii Minogue were also allowed to quarantine in their own homes.
“The celebrities are allowed to be in their private villas,” Andre Hornery, a celebrity reporter from the Sydney Morning Herald, told the BBC.
– It is very different than being crammed together in a four-star hotel with a view of a motorway, he continues.
– My best chance is to be deported
The Australian government is receiving massive criticism for prioritizing A-list celebrities over its own citizens. Australia introduced its strictest entry rules in January for fear of the British variant. But just days later, 1,700 tennis players came to participate in the Australian Open.
– They prioritize a tennis tournament over their own residents. There is 100 percent discrimination between the rich and famous and ordinary people, says Kanisha Batty, an Australian woman who is corona-fast in the UK.
“My best chance of getting home is to be deported,” she joked to the BBC.
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