Prime Minister Daniel Andrews says Victorian officials have “absolutely no power” to arrest the 17 New Zealand travelers who entered Melbourne via Sydney last night.
- The 17 people who traveled from New Zealand are still in Victoria, according to the authorities
- You caught a connecting flight from Sydney to Melbourne last night
- Mr Andrews says he wrote to the Prime Minister to say “that shouldn’t have happened”.
Passengers flew to Sydney on the first day of the new Trans-Tasman travel bubble yesterday and then took a connecting flight to Melbourne.
New Zealand passengers now do not need to be quarantined upon arrival in New South Wales, but Victoria was not part of the bubble deals.
“You haven’t spent long in [Melbourne] Airport. They actually left the airport just minutes after they arrived, “said Andrews.
“Our officers have absolutely no power to stop anyone from arresting someone under these circumstances, especially given that they come from a very low-virus part of the world.”
Mr Andrews said “Somehow something went wrong in Sydney” which allowed passengers to continue on to Melbourne.
The Prime Minister also said this morning that Victorian officials did not know who the travelers were or where they were going because the Australian border guard failed to hand over the passengers’ arrival cards.
“Since we don’t have the cards, I can’t tell you if you are New Zealand or Australian citizens,” he said.
However, the incumbent Immigration Minister Alan Tudge announced shortly thereafter that the passenger cards had been handed over to Victoria.
Mr Andrews said it was also unknown whether those arriving were aware of the restrictions in place in Victoria.
“We do not suggest or infer that they did anything wrong,” he said.
“Something went wrong in this system, we shouldn’t be part of it [travel bubble] Arrangement.”
Victoria “unwilling” to accept arrivals from New Zealand, says Andrews
The Prime Minister said he had written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison to ensure that arrivals no longer travel to Melbourne on Sunday if more flights from New Zealand are due to arrive.
“I don’t shoot letters to the Prime Minister unless there is a need to make things formal,” he said.
“And our formal position that has not changed is that we are not ready to accept people from other countries, even New Zealand, into our state.”
When asked if Victoria should consider closing its internal borders, Andrews said he did not want to.
“I know the Prime Minister would be very disappointed if that happened,” he said.
“That’s what he’s trying to avoid, so I wrote to him this morning and made it clear that we need to get to the bottom of this and have the necessary assurances that it won’t happen again.”
Victoria has not accepted any international arrivals since early July.
The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in Victoria said its authorized officials had no legal authority to detain travelers upon arrival.
Deputy Police Commissioner Rick Nugent said the passengers were in Melbourne and had no arrest warrants.
He said the police would visit the passengers later today to check on welfare payments.
There’s more to come.
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