Partying backpackers ‘should be deported’

By | December 28, 2020

Backpackers who partied on NSW beaches during the state’s COVID outbreak should be deported, according to a Liberal MP.

Hundreds of people, mostly backpackers, flouted health orders to flood Sydney’s Bronte Beach for a raucous Christmas Day party.

Police were forced to disperse the gathering in the afternoon but confirmed no arrests had been made.

With Sydney working to keep the northern beaches cluster under control, Liberal MP Jason Falinski said any backpacker who was at the party should be sent home.

Mr Falinski said images of drunken partying were a “kick in the guts” for his northern beaches constituents who remain under lockdown.

“There are people up here that are very angry about it. We’ve done an incredibly good job in 2020 of managing this pandemic,” he told Sky News.

“If you’re here in this country as a guest … to do that was just extraordinary.”

Mr Falinski has also called for the use of facial recognition technology to identify partygoers.

“Their visas should be cancelled and they should be deported immediately,” he told the Northern Beaches Advocate on Saturday.

“The law-abiding citizens of this country, and the law-abiding people who choose to come here, should not be put at risk by the people who clearly do not care for the people of this country or what happens to them. They have worn out their welcome.

“I will be calling on my government to request the identity of these people from state authorities, using facial recognition technology to compare with their passports if necessary.

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NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard labelled the party as “absolutely appalling” and warned it could prove to be a “super-spreading” event.

He said backpackers should appreciate the relative freedoms they enjoyed in Australia.

“If they were in Europe right now, most of them would be in lockdown and not even allowed outside the front door,” he said on Saturday.

“The fact that you can go out is a privilege, and it should be respected in an appropriate way, in accordance with the government’s requirements.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed on Monday a plan to give frontline workers a front-row seat for New Year’s celebrations had been scrapped over fears it could accelerate the spread of the virus.

A shorter version of the midnight fireworks will go ahead, but Ms Berejiklian said it would be too risky to allow teachers, nurses and police a special vantage point to watch the display.

They would be offered the chance in 2021, she confirmed.

Sydneysiders will be able to attend restaurant reservations in CBD, but will need a New Year’s Eve Pass.

Premier Berejiklian urged anyone else to avoid the city.

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