Brian: Senator Geneva, thanks for joining us.
Geneva: It’s a great pleasure, thank you.
Brian: This $3,000 tax you’re levying against Australian citizens returning home for screening and quarantine—
Geneva: Now Brian, let me be clear, this is not a tax. It’s a contribution to offset the cost of their returning home from overseas.
Brian: But what if they can’t afford it?
Geneva: Brian, everyone who travels is a rich expat or jetsetter who pays no Australian taxes.
Brian: Like Rupert Murdoch?
Geneva: Not at all Brian, he’s an American citizen now.
Brian: I see. Back to affordability, are you saying citizenship is now means tested?
Geneva: No Brian that’s an absurd statement. People are just asked to pay for the cost of their repatriation.
Brian: And otherwise, they’re stuck overseas? How does that fulfil our obligations under international law?
Geneva: Look Brian, it’s perfectly inline with our international obligations. They’re free to return, where upon they’ll be sent to an Australian prison. In Australia. It’s an Australian prison, Brian.
Brian: You don’t see an ethical problem with that?
Geneva: I don’t Brian, it’s better treatment than what we give refugees we’re responsible for under the same international treaties. These people had months to return home, and they chose not to—
Brian: By not being allowed to leave by a foreign government? Or because of family or employment reasons?
Geneva: Exactly. It was a choice, by those overseas officials to close their borders. Or the bosses of those Australians. Or reasons outside their control. It’s called personal responsibility, Brian.
Brian: So Senator Geneva, what was the alternative? Everyone returning at once? You saw how we handled a single cruise ship arriving back in Sydney.
Geneva: Well yes we’ve learned a lot. It’s an evolving threat, I’m the first to admit this Brian, the first to admit this.
Brian: We clearly haven’t learned a lot, with the latest news out of Victoria and New South Wales.
Geneva: All the more reason to prevent citizens coming home then under the guise of fiscal responsibility, Brian.
Brian: [shakes head] Senator Geneva, thanks for your time. When will you be returning home?
Geneva: Thank you Brian. I’ll still be here until my crowdfunding page gets to $3,000.
Brian: You can’t afford to return home?
Geneva: No, I work for the ABC.