Influential conservative commentator Andrew Bolt has slammed Australia's 'racist' government for banning flights from India - calling it a 'shameful' and 'cruel' to leave thousands of Australians stranded during the nation's health crisis.
Australia has made it illegal for citizens to fly home from the Covid-ravaged South Asian nation under an emergency law which came into effect from 12:01am on Monday.
Citizens who arrive in Australia having been in India in the past 14 days could be charged and face five years in prison and a $66,600 fine - the first time Aussies have been stopped from returning home under the threat of jail time.
Speaking on Sky News on Monday, Bolt slammed health minister Greg Hunt who said the government had a sacred duty to protect Australia while trying to justify the unprecedented travel ban that impacts about 0000 citizens stuck in India.
'Not quite. We have a sacred duty to protect Australians, the people of Australia. And for the Indian-Australians stuck in India unable to escape, unable to come home to a decent healthcare system here if they're ill, I think is a shame on this country,' he said.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Australia has made illegal for anyone who has been in India in the last 14 days to return. Pictured, returning travellers arriving at Sydney Airport on Monday
'What we are now saying with this ban is, if you happen to get sick in India, an Australian citizen, take your chances with their hospitals, which we have seen are running out of things like oxygen, let alone medicines.
'I just think this is a terrible stain that betrays how panicked we are with fear. I'm not saying bring them and let them loose in the streets.'
He said while he was 'really critical of in the past of people playing the race card' he had heard from Indian-Australians who were demanding to know 'why us. why is this happening?'.
'I do think the politicians may not be doing this for racist motives but they're allowed to get away with it because, I think, in part, racism, fear and ignorance,' Bolt said.