Greens demand immediate lifting of India flight ban ; to raise vaccine patent waiver issue in Parliament

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By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, May 10, 2021: The Australian Greens have demanded the immediate lifting of the inbound flight ban from India. The ban expires on May 15, but even after that, not many flights are expected from India. About 9,000 Australian citizens and permanent residents are stuck in COVID-hit India.

In a Zoom press meet today, Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge minced no words when he said ” the flights’ ban should be immediately lifted to bring back stranded Australians in India.”

He disclosed the Morrison govt was reluctant as under law the Federal Government could not charge people and that’s why it wanted the states to do the job. David agreed with a comment that the Federal Government should pay for the quarantine facilities once the returnees are back from India.

The Greens MPs on a question from South Asia Times (SAT), promised to look into the matter of monitoring Australian medical equipment and other donations for India so that it goes to the needed areas and people.

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Mehreen and David

Mehreen Faruqi, the Greens member of the Australian Senate, said, “Australia should fly in all Australians in India back home and give maximum help to India.”

Replying to a question by South Asia Times (SAT) as to what was Australia’s stand on a patent waiver for producing vaccines in developing countries, Mehreen said, ” Greens supported the developing countries but Scott Morrison has not said anything to change his position”

“We are going to raise the vaccine patent waiver issue in Parliament this week”, she said.

Vikrant Kishore, Academic, filmmaker, and co-founder of South Asians for Inclusiveness said
“The blocking of flights, this new iron curtain, has been just heartbreaking.

“When things were going haywire in Europe and the USA, Australia never responded by blocking flights – so people are asking: Why India?

Amar Singh, President, and Founder of Turbans 4 Australia said, ” It is appalling to see Indian Australians have been deserted by their own Government, their own home.

“The COVID loans the Government is offering are $2,000 which doesn’t even cover your quarantine, why isn’t it $10,000?

“Medical facilities in India require an Indian Passport or Photo ID, Australian citizens don’t have them and are turned away.”

Meraj Khan, Co-founder of the Humanism Project said “People here are living with survivors guilt, people over there are affected because they can’t get back to their partners. Not one single person back home has not been affected by COVID.

“I’d like to highlight the unfair processing time for the partner visas for people in a relationship who have been separated already for the last 12 months.”

SEE MEDIA CONFERENCE VIDEO HERE

Source- David Shoebridge, You Tube

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