International flights into Australia have been stopped and people coming in by ship quarantined because of the risk of bringing in the Covid-19 infection. But the same rule has not yet been applied to the 2,500 US marines due to arrive in Darwin next month. Reacting to this apparent double standard, the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) has responded.
In a strong letter addressed to the Minister for Defence,
Senator Linda Reynolds, the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN)
has pointed out the risk of allowing 2,500 USA marine personnel to start
arriving in Darwin next month.
IPAN’s letter insists that restrictions on non-Australians arriving in the country should be applied consistently across the board. “There should be no special exceptions made on the basis of whether or not an individual happens to be a member of the USA’s armed services”, said IPAN’s spokesperson Justin Tutty.
“Any marines in Darwin should immediately be returned to the USA, and no further marines permitted in Australia in the foreseeable future”.
“We note that USA forces in Europe already have cases of COVID-19 amongst their number (#_ftn1) . Clearly, military personnel are no more or less likely than ordinary citizens to contract or transmit the disease, which is indiscriminate in who it infects.”
“We have therefore called on the Minister to preclude the arrival of the marines scheduled to arrive in Darwin from the beginning of April, and asked her to indicate that they will not be coming during this time of crisis.”
“Furthermore, the movement of foreign personnel through Pine Gap is particularly urgent for the people of Alice Springs, who include many vulnerable indigenous people., but is also critically important for Australians generally”.
“The emergence and spread of the COVID-19 requires that the Government take this step to protect the nation from the spread of Coronavirus”.
“In IPAN’s view, national security involves a lot more than mere military security and protecting the health of the nation should be the priority at this critical time”.
“We look forward to hearing a public announcement on this matter in coming days.”