Australia’s outbound travel ban is one of the strictest in the world

Australia is one of the world’s few democracies that has banned its people from leaving the country during the coronavirus pandemic as a measure of public health.

An Australian citizen or permanent resident is not eligible to move outbound unless they apply to the Border Force online and fulfil a set of specific requirements for exemptions.

The ban — which was dubbed “uncontroversial” by Prime Minister Scott Morrison — was introduced on March 25 and is expected to expire on October 24, although it is likely to be extended.

Earlier this month, Finance Minister Matthias Cormann confirmed the Government was taking a “cautious approach” and could not yet “foresee the timetable by which international borders will be able to open”.

A Border Force spokesperson said the measures had “been successful in slowing the spread of coronavirus in Australia, and were implemented on the advice of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee”.

Is it constitutional? Is it legal?

Anne Twomey, a constitutional lawyer at Sydney University, said she doubted there were constitutional grounds to appeal the travel ban, although there might be an case under administrative law as to whether the minister had validly taken the decision under the biosecurity act.

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