The decision was confirmed by Health Minister Greg Hunt yesterday.
The penalties, which are being invoked under the Biosecurity Act, are aimed at stopping people coming here from India via other countries such as Singapore or the United Arab Emirates.
Amnesty International Australia’s Joel MacKay has told the Weekend Today show that the federal government has shown a “complete disregard” for Australians overseas.
“The Morrison Government promised to get stranded Aussies home by Christmas last year – yet we have thousands and thousands of stranded Australians right across the world
“The Human Rights Commission, the United Nations, us at Amnesty International – we’ve all been saying that the way that they’re dealing with stranded Aussies violates human rights,” Mr MacKay said.
“It is not just breaching human rights, but it is just an utter disregard and contempt for the way that they are working with stranded Australians.”
He noted that the Australian passport contained a statement from the Governor-General that says Australians should have free access to travel around the world.
“Human rights are universal – they don’t go away,” he said.
“The Morrison Government promised to get stranded Aussies home by Christmas last year – yet we have thousands and thousands of stranded Australians right across the world and now around 11,000 in the crisis hot spot in India.”
Mr MacKay called on the government to “turbocharge” the nation’s quarantine system, lift travel caps and to consider home quarantine where possible.
It comes after the Australian Human Rights Commission released a stinging statement yesterday urging the federal government to scrap the new measures.
The body, which operates independently but is funded by the government, labelled the criminal sanctions both concerning and “extraordinary”.
“The need for such restrictions must be publicly justified,” the statement read.
“The Government must show that these measures are not discriminatory and the only suitable way of dealing with the threat to the public.”
The Commission said it is also approaching the federal government directly with its concerns.