The Australian government’s restrictions on travel may have protected our health but may have come at the costs of our rights.


The author argues that Australia’s strict border restrictions are symptomatic of our suspicions about the rest of the world and this may be at odds with Australia’s strategic intent. This article makes the following points:

  • 30 percent of residents were born overseas.
  • Australia is a cosmopolitan, globally connected society.
  • An export-driven economy driving wealth and liveability.
  • Australia has enthusiastically embraced travel restrictions due to a hard line political culture honed by previous asylum seeker experience.
  • There is little sympathy for Australian citizens trapped overseas as they shouldn’t have left in the first place.
  • Australian’s have personal responsibilities overseas and ‘Fortress Australia’ has a major personal cost. 
  • Unlike other nations Australia doesn’t have a bill of rights that includes a codified right of return.
  • All Australian governments refused to create the conditions to enable return- quarantine and vaccination. 
  • There is political mileage in tough borders.
  • The government may suffer at the polls without a clear normalisation plan.