Traveller Letters: 'Breathtaking selfishness' of Australians wanting to travel


The breathtaking selfishness of some never ceases to amaze. Stewart Cameron (Traveller Letters, July 11) regards his right to travel overseas more important than the protection of the wider community. To travel overseas now or open our borders to international travellers would expose the Australian population to much greater risk than is presently the case.

Please Australia, just be patient. We have all had to bide our time, but surely no Australian wants to match the dire situation of some countries during this pandemic. Most COVID-19 cases in NSW have resulted from people returning from overseas. We all have a moral and social obligation to make a positive contribution to the control of this disease. Less selfishness please.

Jan Waddington, Mona Vale, NSW


Stewart Cameron can't have it both ways in his call for less repressive travel restrictions. First of all he says, "we are all adults, have masks...", but then goes on to say, "it seems the slack hotel quarantine controls at home of late mean the whole country is being made to suffer." That's the problem, Stewart: unfortunately, we're not all adults and those that aren't are endangering the rest of us and our travel plans.

Patrick Sutcliffe, Wahroonga, NSW


I agree completely with Stewart Cameron. I was dismayed when Scott Morrison declared back in March that nobody was allowed to leave Australia due to COVID-19 as I already had my flights booked for my annual trip to see grandchildren and family living in England. Then I thought, surely not. Don't we have freedom of movement as a citizen of a democratic country no matter what? The website of the Attorney General's department put me straight: "Australia is a party to seven core international human rights treaties. The right to freedom of movement is contained in articles 12 and 13 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights (ICCPR)". Can those rights be limited? Previously I'd have said definitely not. But "Under article 4 of the ICCPR, countries may take measures derogating from certain of their obligations under the Covenant, including the right to freedom of movement 'in time of public emergency which threatens the life of the nation and the existence of which is officially proclaimed'." So there you have it. Yes we have some rights. Who knew?


Jeanne Grey, Kangaroo Point, QLD


I have to say shame on you, Qantas. I was online at midday on Wednesday to book two seats on the Sydney farewell 747 flight. I logged in, added my disabled friend's details (he is blind and asked me to book him his ticket) then picked the seats, making sure I was close by to assist him if needed and then hit "continue "only to get an error message. I then pushed back to the beginning of the booking process. By this time the 140 available seats had been taken. I understand the tickets would sell quickly but would have thought if you had picked your seats that the booking would have been honoured and not allocated to another customer. I sent an email to Qantas via Facebook and still no reply. Sad and disappointed.

Andrew Tierney, Summer Hill, NSW


I run an Airbnb in Victoria that sleeps 10 people and is my sole income and after rebuilding three months of full bookings after the first lockdown I find myself watching cancellations come in daily. For those that will lose their service fee or more money I offer a reschedule but for those that can get a full refund I suggest they take that option. I'm not convinced that, mentally, I can start up a third time.

Even after the first lockdown I noticed the way people interacted with me changed - no booking came without an inquiry first and people were trying to wheel and deal me on price constantly. For anybody who asked me could I adjust the price because the group had been earning less I replied with - try earning nothing for three months.

I can't imagine sentiment after this second lockdown. I sense people may only want to book each weekend a couple of days out and it will take years to rebuild consumer confidence. For me, it's time to head in another direction. It's hard not to feel bitter about this second lockdown. Tourism operators are clearly the losers in Victoria.

Jennifer Sjostrom, McKinnon, VIC


If you are hoping to get a six-month visa for France when we are able to travel again, have plenty of time and money at hand (at least we all have the first). You need a guarantor in France and this person gets the third degree, in terms of giving their personal information to establish whether you have somewhere to stay. You need a hefty bank balance (I used my mortgage redraw facility), and the visa costs €99. When you get to France, and go to register with immigration, you will be told to do this step online. But wait, there's more. The final surprise is a €250 fee, I'm not sure what for, but if you use the visa, you would have to pay it. It's quite a long and expensive process to go through, but is it worth it? Oui, bien sur.

Margot Pope, Springwood, NSW


Unlike G. Engleitner (Traveller letters, July 11), this reader does want to hear more about refunds, credits and treatment by travel and insurance providers over COVID-19 cancellations. The more the good and the bad are aired, the more enlightened we'll be when it comes to choosing future trips. And remember many insurers cover home and contents, cars, caravans etc, so it's helpful to hear how they treat travel customers, so we can make informed choices across the spectrum. I was once shabbily treated by a car insurance company, and have made sure everyone I know heard about it. That was 20 years ago and I have never spent a cent with them since.

Jan Hart, Narre Warren South, VIC


I am starting to think it will be a long time, if ever, that we get to travel overseas again. So many operators in Australia are holding hundreds of thousands of our dollars on credit for a trip that may never become possible. Maybe it is time for something to be done to force these companies to pay back money they have been holding for nearly a year.

Rae Masman, Church Point, NSW

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