The Courier-Mail

Con­fu­sion over a diplo­matic loop­hole

- Politics · Vienna · Annastacia Palaszczuk · Scott Morrison

THE Palaszczuk Gov­ern­ment has left open a loop­hole that will al­low for­eign di­plo­mats and con­sular staff to avoid manda­tory ho­tel quar­an­tine.

The gov­ern­ment last week banned di­plo­mats re­turn­ing from over­seas and in­ter­state hot spots from re­ceiv­ing ho­tel quar­an­tine ex­emp­tions af­ter claim­ing the “loop­hole” was too risky.

The Courier-Mail has con­firmed for­eign of­fi­cials are in­cluded in the ban, which started from 1am Satur­day, but will only have to en­ter the state-run quar­an­tine sys­tem if they give “con­sent”.

A Health Depart­ment spokesman could not pro­vide fig­ures about how many diplo­matic or con­sular ex­emp­tions had been granted or re­jected in Queens­land.

And he did not di­rectly answer a ques­tion about whether the gov­ern­ment had any le­gal ad­vice that it could force for­eign of­fi­cials into quar­an­tine with­out breach­ing the Vi­enna Con­ven­tion, which en­sures di­plo­mats have free­dom of move­ment and are pro­tected from de­ten­tion.

It’s un­der­stood the Queens­land gov­ern­ment has re­ceived about 10,500 re­quests for an ex­emp­tion since June 18 but less than 40 have met the re­quired cri­te­ria.

Premier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk last week said she wanted the con­sular “loop­hole” closed and promised to raise it at National Cabi­net.

The Queens­land gov­ern­ment uni­lat­er­ally banned the ex­emp­tions on Tues­day night.

Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son said on Fri­day the is­sue was “not raised or ad­dressed in that way” at National Cabi­net.

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