Many Indians origin residents living in Australia have not been able to travel home to see their families and friends in India for almost two years.
They have been requesting both the state and federal governments to ease their tough border measures.
Meanwhile, Queensland’s Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made some highly questionable comments about international borders possibly reopening in Australia.
When asked about international travel, Palaszczuk told reporters sarcastically:
“Where are you going to go? Are you going to go to India?”
Indians who live in Queensland have in the past appreciated her efforts to prevent extended lockdowns like in NSW and Victoria.
In May 2021, Palaszczuk Government even donated $2 million to the Australian Red Cross on behalf of all Queenslanders to aid the response to the COVID-19 crisis in India.
However, her recent comments are loaded and ignore the real sentiments of Indians.
More than 74,000 Queenslanders were either born in India or have Indian heritage and many are waiting eagerly to see their loved ones.
Crickey news columnist, Kishor tweeted:
Pooja Manchanda who hasn’t been home to see her family in nearly three years told ABC:
“Just to pinpoint one nation out of the others, I don’t think that was really called for, and in a position like hers.”
In a statement to the media, a spokesperson for the Premier’s office said Ms Palaszczuk was highlighting “the problem of approving international travel anywhere.”
“As general examples of countries, which unfortunately have had high levels of COVID cases, she mentioned India and Japan, but there are many countries with COVID outbreaks which would similarly make travel problematic.”
Akashika Mohla is Brisbane based Head of Media Diversity Australia – Asian Chapter.
She says, “Looks like Premier has forgotten the pains her family experienced being torn apart as migrants. Unfortunately, Her insensitivity towards Indian Australians wishing to meet their loved ones is bordering hate and discrimination if not racism.”
“These Queenslanders of Indian heritage are saving lives every day -Doctors, nurses, paramedics, Police, aged care workers. We deserve better treatment from Premier of the state.”
This is not the first time Ms Palaszczuk has used such a tone and words. In the 2017 campaign, she smeared the entire India accusing Indians of taking jobs from Australians.
“An apology is appropriate.”