May 13th 2021

MPs in marginal seats targeted over Indian travel ban

Indian communities in marginal seats across the country are demanding their local MPs speak out against the Morrison Government's travel ban.

Community members in the marginal Liberal seats of Chisholm, Reid and Mitchell, and in the marginal Labor seat of Greenway, will hand-deliver a petition to their local MPs' electorate offices tomorrow to express how deeply the ban affected people in their communities.

They will be requesting face-to-face meetings with their MPs to explain why the travel ban is racist and why it must never happen again. The petition delivery will coincide with a vigil being held outside Sydney Town Hall on Thursday evening.

More than 54,000 people of Indian ancestry live in these four electorates, according to the 2016 Census — an average of more than 8%.

Chisholm resident Ramnath Iyer said:

"I am utterly dismayed and angry with the Prime Minister's draconian law that stops our own citizens coming back from India and threatens them with a jail term or a hefty fine if they dare to return. I will never, ever forget this inhuman act."

Reid resident Sujatha Gunja said: 

“I am delivering the petition in order for the Federal Government to see that many Australians feel strongly about the travel ban and its implications for Australians returning home from India. 

"At a time when India is in the midst of a horrific health crisis, we cannot and should not abandon Australians who either went to India having met the Government’s own highly stringent conditions for travel, or have been unable to get a flight home through the pandemic through circumstances beyond their control.

"This decision has made many Australians with ethnic or cultural ties to India feel like we aren’t really seen as Australian by this government. One of the privileges of Australian citizenship is the right to re-enter Australia freely. To attach criminal penalties to this right for only one very select group of Australians is unacceptable, especially when we are meant to be one under the law.”

Greenway resident Bala Jayaraman said:

“I want my MP to deliver my message to Scott Morrison and Greg Hunt to reverse this law and take responsibility. They cannot hide their incapability to handle a population of 25 million and blame a country with more than 1.3 billion people.

"I want this Prime Minister and the Liberals to know they just lost nearly 700,000 votes. We will remember his action against Indians.”

Mitchell resident Swetha Venkat said: 

“The government’s abandonment of their own citizens is appalling. As a mother of two children, my heart goes out to those separated from their kids due to this cruel travel ban.”

Colour Code spokesperson Anisha Senaratne said:

"Australians of Indian ancestry are fighting back against this discriminatory travel ban. They’re sending a clear message to their local MPs — and to the Federal Government — that racism and discrimination in our politics will not be tolerated.

"This petition, and the countless community members across the country outwardly calling out the ban as racist, are clear signs of how out of touch this Government is with multicultural communities in Australia.

"It is clear that communities can and will mobilise against racial discrimination. With a federal election on the horizon, this is a message that the Prime Minister would be wise to heed."

Media contact: Alex McKinnon 0411 829 334

Anisha Senaratne, spokesperson at Colour Code
Suja Gunja, Reid resident
Ramnath Iyer, Chisholm resident
Bala Jayaraman, Greenway resident
Sweta Venkat and Krishna Ramaratinam, Mitchell residents

Colour Code is a national movement of multicultural, migrant and First Nations peoples advocating, campaigning and organising for our communities. Colour Code has a membership of over 25,000 people from migrant and First Nations backgrounds across its digital channels, and is powered by GetUp