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Only ‘globally available’ vaccine opens border, hints minister

written by Adam Thorn | September 7, 2020

Malindo Air Boeing 737-800 9M-LCJ at Sydney. (Sydney Airport/Kurt Ams)
Malindo Air Boeing 737-800 9M-LCJ at Sydney. (Sydney Airport/Kurt Ams)

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge has hinted Australia may only open its borders to the world when a vaccine becomes “globally available”.

The comments appear to mark a hardening of the country’s position as it suggests it would need the majority of the world to receive a jab – rather than just Australia itself.

He also admitted the second wave of COVID-19 cases in Victoria has pushed back the plan to create a travel bubble with New Zealand, which the national cabinet had previously pencilled in for July.

Currently, only Australian citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter the country, with international students, temporary visa holders and tourists banned altogether. Those who do enter are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for which they have to pay up to $3,000.

Speaking to multicultural media outlets in a virtual press conference, Minister Tudge said, “It’s very difficult to predict when we can reopen the borders probably again. Obviously, if there is a vaccine that is developed which become globally available that will be the game-changer.

“You can see that we have all these state border closures now and in part because everyone is nervous about Victoria and probably means it has slowed down our path to being able to open our international borders.”

Despite the closure, a pilot program to fly international students to Adelaide will begin later this month. However, Minister Tudge admitted the government had originally hoped to begin that imitative, as as well as a bubble with New Zealand, far earlier.


A small handful of temporary migrants are also due to return, he said, after his department established a new “priority” immigration list for those who have essential skills.

The insistence on a vaccine doubles down on comments made by Health Minister Greg Hunt in June.

“For the time being we are an island sanctuary,” Minister Hunt said.  “I won’t put a time frame on it because there are differing views as to vaccines, for example, the University of Queensland’s molecular lab is one of the world’s leading vaccine candidates [and] it’s progressing. There are others out of Oxford, the United States, Europe, Asia.”


The struggle to allow foreign citizens to enter comes amid increasing frustration that citizens are also being denied access because stringent arrival caps have reduced availability and driven up prices.

Last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrote a letter to Australians stranded abroad in which he appeared to blame them for their struggles to return home – insisting he specifically instructed them to come back on 17 March.

Former Labor leader Bill Shorten shot down his former rival, arguing that Aussies abroad were actually told not to come back.

Comments (16)

  • AgentGerko


    Why does everything have to be cruelled by Victoria? Surely we can open a bubble with NZ and just exclude Victoria?

  • Antin


    Why do we have to wait for a vaccine for something that has nearly 100% recovery rate. The people running this country have set us back 100years and should be held responsible for this situation we are in. We have a vaccine for nearly everything but none have a recovery rate like this.

  • mike


    there might never ever be a vaccine !!!!

  • cj


    silly statement, as there might never ever be a vaccine !!!!

  • Max


    Austin, it’s best left to the medical experts, not keyboard worries.

  • Jazza


    This goverment is the worst in history. There are so many things that can be done i personally think they dont want us traveling anymore ever but its ok theres things called elections. Who are they to tell us where we can and cant go. So now there saying the whole world has to be vaccinated before we can go overseas. First it was we need a vaccine, now that they might have one there saying oh the whole world has to be vaccinated, whats next. There be another excuse. Australia stand up to scumos crap. All they had to do was protect the elderly and let the rest of us carry on, but they even miserably failed at that and then destroyed jobs and economy and these idiots think theyve done a good job. My god this is the most incompetent goverment in history. How long are we gona put up with scumos pathetic goverment. U all do realise the rest of the world is moving onwards and forwards while we stagnate. Even russia cant believe the carp thats going on here. This country has been totally smashed due to scumo and the premiers. Congratulations scumo uve destroyed our once great country and ive had enough. Its time fo r a mass exodus of this now shithole of a fragmented country.

  • Pontius


    Reopening State borders is very much like a Spice Girl reunion concert .
    Everything appears to be going swimmingly until Victoria stuffs it all up !

  • David


    Trying to return home is getting harder day by day had 4 bookings cancelled and now the airline is telling us February 2021 and that means a year out of our home for us. The only way for us to return is either business or 1st class but when you’re a pensioner $18,000.00 for 3 people is a lot of money. If we were able to return before the borders closed we would have but it was impossible but the government is making it a lot harder for us aussies to get home.
    Regarding quarantine the government can save us the money for those that have been together by self isolating in our own homes and he can find a way to monitor the people, technology can do this. In our case it will be just us living together and nobody else, we have been very careful so far and obeying what the health authorities have instructed, I know for sure that we’ll do the same in Australia. We understand and are aware of the consequences, people need to stop and think before they do something that will make matters worst than they already are. They are making it harder for everyone to return home, STOP BEING SELFISH.

  • JP


    I agree. Vote OUT those pollies who abuse their power by allowing the arrest of pregnant women, who have tanked our economy and who would even think of mandating forced vaccination to travel.

    Heads up people, we have an ally in Senator Kamala Harris, running for USA VP : Senator Harris is a vaccine-refuser.

  • Douglas


    Anton, it is the long term consequences of COVID that have the medical profession worked and concerned. Many who have caught it now have long term life conditions, such as diabetes, heart and lung conditions , strokes etc. There is too much emphasis being placed on a vaccine, as the only disease ever eradicated by a vaccine has been smallpox.

  • JP



    Vote them out.

  • Jay


    Before covit19 I ust to think that South Australia (where I live) was becoming a worthless state, our wages are lower than Vic for example, but yet we pay the highest electricity in the world, let alone every other means to live.
    But now since Covit19 I feel that the whole of Australia is a high risk of going down the toilet. Businesses that were struggling before covit19, surely would not survive this & a majority have gone under already. Australia is a country with minimal people affected compared to the rest of the world, we are big island far away, cut off from the other countries in the middle of the ocean yet we are treated like children, restrictions put on us everywhere. Our government is classed as being the strictest on it’s own people compared to the rest of the world.
    If we do not lift Australia’s international flight ban soon, many people would agree that it is foreseeable that our future economy will collapse, it will end up being a bigger mess on our hands.
    I think majority of Aussies are sensible already, we do take precautions, WHY CANT THE POLITICIANS GIVE US A CHANCE TO PROVE THAT.
    Our politicians seem to enjoy having control over Australians, we are being treated like we are uncontrollable children. Give us a break here. We need to be able to carry on business with the rest of the world other we wont last.
    I dont want to see Australia going down.

  • Kevin


    Australia has gone back to convict days. People have a right to be safe and its the governments job to make laws to protect its people.
    However NO government official has the right to stop some one going overseas to visit family. Yes when one returns I will accept the cost and inconvenience of 14 days hotel . Maybe I should change my name to Tony Abbot.

  • jaiydee


    Tom Hanks and Alan Sugar are allowed to come here, but we can’t go and spend time with family overseas…. we must really rebel and retaliate this unjust agenda…

  • Michael Du Plessis


    I am a South African . And my boyfriend lives in Australia and we have been separated with this covid I was suppose to go over before the covid and with all this comments above I wonder if I will ever see him again . We I’m South Africa open our borders a few days ago even our international borders cause we don’t want our country to crash down . We stick to the new normal and just be save . I mens face jy this covid will never go away but they all can just plan a new rule in place to save and healthy and cautious that is what our country is doing . I mean I’m willing to go into 14 days of isolation just to be with my man and take tests and so on ! Why can’t Australia do this too . They are blocking people away to and also that have skills like I have ! I am a hairdresser and I do want to be in Australia with my bf and be happy . Lol I was even considering asking if there is an Aussie here in my country that is trying to go back home like don’t u want to like marry me cause I just want to be with the big love of my life and the stupid Government of Australia don’t want to open there borders ! Wake up people . People die everyday of illnesses and there is much more illnesses out there .

  • Bruce


    How do you propose to isolate the elderly? They don’t all live in an aged care facility. The vast majority live in the broader community, many in intergenerational family home. In any case, Covid spreads so rapidly that even with a low death rate in the rest of the community, the actual number of deaths is still high as is the long term damage done to people’s health even if they do recover. It’s complete nonsense spouted by the Trumps of the world.

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