Z list celebrities are being allowed to enter Australia despite Covid-19 border ban
Z-list celebrities have been allowed into Australia for work including promoting sex toys and starring on reality TV, while ordinary tax-paying citizens are forced to remain separated from their families in times of crisis.
British reality star Charlotte Crosby and Gordon Ramsay’s daughter Tilly, as well as British singer Alesha Dixon, and even Zac Effron’s brother Dylan have entered Australia via hotel quarantine this year.
Ex-Geordie Shore star and Instagram influencer Crosby, 31, is here for ‘work commitments and meetings’ while she produces her Nova podcast Values and Vibrators, although her boyfriend Liam was denied entry because he would not be working.
Meanwhile, Ramsay’s daughter, 19, is starring in Channel 10’s Celebrity MasterChef, which is filming in Melbourne, alongside former swimmer Ian Thorpe and ex-AFL player Nick Riewoldt.
Workers in the entertainment industry are eligible for an exemption to the Covid-19 border closure because it is defined as ‘critical to Australia’s economic recovery’ since it brings in so much cash.
But their arrivals have sparked controversy as 40,000 Australians remain stranded overseas due to an arrival cap of 6,370 a week and Aussies in the country are cut off from their foreign parents.
These include Sydney bride-to-be Martine Dines, 29, whose Irish parents have been shut out of the country as she battles breast cancer.
British reality TV star Charlotte Crosby (pictured in quarantine) was allowed to enter Australia to hold meetings for her Nova podcast Values and Vibrators. Critics said she should have done the meetings over video call
Left: Tilly Ramsay, 19, is starring in Channel 10’s Celebrity Masterchef, which is filming in Melbourne. Right: Singer Alesha Dixon on a walk in Sydney after doing hotel quarantine
Martine Dines (pictured with her fiancé Sean Keenan) is battling for her parents to be allowed to enter from Ireland as she battles breast cancer. They are going to apply for a compassionate exemption to the border ban
Ms Crosby’s arrival in Australia sparked outrage as many said Australians separated from their families should be prioritised and travel caps should not be cut
The young woman was on holiday on Hamilton Island when she found two lumps on her breast and now faces a gruelling six-months of surgery, chemotherapy and fertility treatment.
Her fiance Sean Keenan applied for an exemption for her parents to enter on compassionate grounds, which include, but are not limited to, needing to travel due to the death or critical illness of a close family member.
On Wednesday Mr Keenan issued a ‘desperate’ public appeal for help for any tips of navigating the tricky exemption application process.
Sydney bride-to-be Martine Dines, 29, wants her Irish parents to be allowed in as she battles breast cancer
Ms Dine’s fiancé Sean Keenan is in the process of applying for an exemption for her parents to enter on compassionate grounds. He has posted this appeal for help
‘The reason for this post is because I am desperate, if you have been through the exemption process, if you have contacts in high places in Ireland or know anyone in Australia who can push this exemption to get her parents here I would be eternally grateful,’ he wrote on the Irish in Sydney Facebook page.
He then spent Wednesday night calling the offices of Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and a handful of Irish MPs in a bid to pressure the Australian Embassy in Dublin.
Just 24 hours later, on Thursday morning, Ms Dines’ parents were granted an exemption to enter Australia next week.
But Mr Keenan believes it was only because of the political support he drummed up and said it is much easier for the rich and famous to avoid the border ban.
‘It’s infuriating. It’s kind of hard to get the words out because it just shows you that money talks,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Yesterday Martine got more bad news that her cancer has spread but the news about the exemptions gave us a lift – it relieved stress that we shouldn’t have,’ he said.
Others have found the exemption process frustrating to navigate, including Kiwi Sonya Bull (pictured) who missed her dying father’s last days because she was not allowed into Australia to visit him in April 2020
Others have found the exemption process frustrating to navigate, including Kiwi Sonya Bull who missed her dying father’s last days because she was not allowed into Australia to visit him in April 2020.
Ms Bull was rejected twice because she did not supply the right medical records in time, even though her father’s doctor in Sydney was willing to speak to officials.
There are thousands immigrants pleading for a change to Australia’s tough Covid-19 border rules so they can finally see their parents after 15 months.
The rules allow ‘immediate family’ of Australians and residents to enter via hotel quarantine but this only includes spouses and dependent children, not parents.
A group of mothers including Audiologist Sophie Robinson and IT consultant Azadeh Oskouipour visited Parliament House last month because their foreign parents have never met their grandchildren born during the pandemic.
The Australian Border Force says allowing parents would mean at least 100,000 would enter the country, overwhelming the quarantine system and preventing Australians from returning home.
Azadeh Oskouipour’s parents are based in the US and have not met their grandchild due to the border rules
The arrival of foreigners generated national debate this week when Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison of allowing too many into the country.
But just two weeks ago she boasted about luring foreign stars into her state as she handed $53million to the state’s Production Attraction Strategy for international films and TV shows.
‘Queensland attracted more international productions than any other State in 2020 and this funding will help us to attract even more,’ the Premier said ahead of the state Budget.
Upcoming productions in Queensland which involve foreign actors and staff include Ticket To Paradise starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts; Elvis starring Tom Hanks; and Joe Exotic starring John Cameron Mitchell who is currently in hotel quarantine in Sydney.
Ms Palaszczuk, 51, also said last month the reason why she ignored medical advice and got the Pfizer vaccine – instead of AstraZeneca which takes three months for both shots – was because she may go to the Tokyo Olympics in July.
But this week, as she plunged millions of Queenslanders into lockdown, Ms Palaszczuk was accused of hypocrisy as she conducted an abrupt about face, saying: ‘We need a massive reduction in overseas arrivals.’
Left: British singer Alisha Dixon did hotel quarantine to be a judge on Australia’s Got Talent before it was axed. Right: American actor John Cameron Mitchell is in hotel quarantine in Sydney. He will star in Joe Exotic filmed in Queensland
Zac Effron’s brother Dylan (left) was allowed into Australia to help his brother film Netflix documentary Down to Earth with Zac Efron
What are the weekly arrival caps?
NT: Federal repatriation flights to Howard Springs
In a plan backed by fellow Labor premiers Daniel Andrews and Mark McGowan, she has written to Mr Morrison to demand the arrival caps are cut in half.
The Federal Government has hit back, saying only six in 1,000 international arrivals have coronavirus and called the move a ‘smokescreen’ to distract from the Queensland Government’s own failures.
The latest lockdown of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Townsville was sparked after the State Government let an infected hospital clerk, 19, work while unvaccinated and put a FIFO worker in quarantine next to high-risk international travellers from whom he caught Covid before spreading the disease in the Northern Territory.
‘Clearly what Annastacia Palaszczuk is doing [putting] up a smokescreen to hide the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of quarantine that is administered and managed by the Queensland Government,’ Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said in a press conference at the Gold Coast on Wednesday.
Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram also rejected Queensland’s suggestion that floods of non-citizens were being let into Australia, saying 80 per cent of arrivals are Aussies, permanent residents or their families.
He said more than 51,000 outbound travel exemptions have been approved since the start of this year but 52,000 applications had been refused.
Ant Middleton (centre) and the rest of the SAS Australia team – Mark Billingham, Jason Fox and Ollie Ollerton – were granted travel exemptions to enter the country in July 2020 and did hotel quarantine in Sydney
American actor Josh Gad (pictured) completed hotel quarantine in Sydney in May before filming Stan Original series Wolf Like Me
Under strict pandemic rules since March 2020, foreigners have to be granted an exemption to enter Australia for reasons including compassionate grounds or conducting work critical to economic recovery.
‘So the idea we’re just letting people travel on a whim is actually fake. We’re actually being really tough on this,’ Mr Outram told ABC radio on Thursday.
Ms Andrews refused to reduce the arrival caps, saying: ‘We need to learn to live and to work in the Covid environment’ and ‘we do need to be able to return Australians’.
Her firm stance will be a welcome relief to Australians trying to get home and those applying for exemptions to allow foreign family members to enter.
More than 10,000 Australians have been approved to leave the country on compassionate or compelling grounds since the start of this year.
Another 27,000 have been allowed overseas for study or work, with the remainder of exemptions granted to people employed in critical industries and businesses.
Why are foreign celebrities allowed to enter Australia?
The Australian border has been shut to non-citizens and non-residents since March due to the coronavirus pandemic – but some people can apply for an exemption.
Workers in the film and television industry are eligible for an exemption because it is defined by the Home Affairs department as ‘critical to Australia’s economic recovery’ since it brings in so much cash.
Other industries in this category include financial technology, large-scale manufacturing and emerging technology.
A spokesman for the ADF told Daily Mail Australia: ‘Each case for an exemption is unique and is considered on its own merit based on the information provided in the application, and supporting evidence must be provided.’
Hotel quarantine breaches have been responsible for most of the outbreaks across Australia.
There have been at least 26 hotel quarantine leaks since the start of the pandemic, including six in June.
NSW Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who has not called for arrival caps to be reduced, took a swipe at Ms Palaszczuk and Mr Andrews as she urged other states to take ‘their fare share’ of arrivals.
‘New South Wales will always do our fair share as we have done. We do it without complaint,’ she told reporters in Sydney.
Ms Berejiklian said about half of the people coming through Sydney ended up in other states.
‘I’m interested that other premiers are complaining about what they have to do, but it’s far less to what New South Wales is doing,’ she said.
Ms Palaszczuk, 51, said last month the reason why she ignored medical advice and got the Pfizer vaccine – instead of AstraZeneca which takes three months for both shots – was because she may go to the Tokyo Olympics