Government criticised for letting Rita Ora into Australia ahead of 40,000 stranded overseas

The pop star, who made headlines for a party violating London’s lockdown, is in Sydney hotel quarantine for appearance on TV’s The Voice

Labor has blasted the decision to allow British pop star Rita Ora – who has made headlines for hosting a lockdown-violating party in London – to enter Australia and quarantine ahead of the almost 40,000 Australians stranded overseas.

Ora arrived at a Sydney hotel for two weeks of forced quarantine on Monday ahead of filming for her role as a coach on Channel Seven’s The Voice. The opposition home affairs spokeswoman, Kristina Keneally, said Ora’s hotel spot meant her quarantine was at the expense of Australians desperately seeking to return home.

“It’s another example of Scott Morrison leaving Australians behind,” Keneally told the Guardian.

“There are still 40,000 Australians stranded overseas. Every celebrity who takes up a place in quarantine is a place denied to a stranded Australian,” she said.

Reports of celebrities, including Matt Damon and Miranda Kerr, being granted permission to isolate in self-organised private residences to avoid Australia’s strict hotel quarantine regime have generated backlash within Australia.

However, Ora, who reportedly travelled with an entourage, did not organise to isolate in a private residence, meaning her quarantine will count towards Australia’s strict cap on international arrivals.

Last week, London’s Metropolitan police said representatives of Ora offered a London restaurant £5,000 to host a lockdown-breaking party for the singer’s 30th birthday.

Ora has apologised for holding the celebration, which was attended by 17 people on 28 November last year. She apologised a second time when it emerged that she should have been self-isolating when she celebrated her birthday, after a trip to Egypt.

When news of the party was revealed, Ora admitted a “serious and inexcusable error of judgment” based on a “spur-of-the-moment decision”.

An Australian Border Force spokeswoman told the Guardian the body does not comment on individual border exemptions.

Arrivals into Australia are capped at about 4,250 a week, after limits for New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia were temporarily halved as part of measures responding to more infectious strains of Covid. The limits are expected to be reviewed on 15 February.

There are about 39,000 Australians registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as wanting to return from overseas but being unable to do so.

Australians stranded in Europe were dealt a blow on Friday when the Australian government acknowledged it had inadvertently revealed sensitive details of all passengers booked on a repatriation. It was the fourth time since August that Dfat had breached the data of Australians stranded overseas.

The Guardian has contacted Channel Seven for clarification.


Elias Visontay

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Far-right commentator Katie Hopkins dumped by Big Brother after Australia hotel quarantine claims
Seven terminates contract and British far-right figure expected to leave country after joking about plans to breach quarantine rules

Amanda Meade and Sarah Martin

18, Jul, 2021 @7:46 AM

Article image
Dozens of Australian newspapers stop printing as coronavirus crisis hits advertising
Federal government confirms it will announce a rescue package for the media industry this week

Amanda Meade

14, Apr, 2020 @12:04 PM

Article image
Cyclone damage in WA ‘widespread and severe’; Turnbull condemns News Corp coverage of Gillard – as it happened
Labor says Australians need more certainty around vaccine rollout; Ben Roberts-Smith calls allegations against him ‘baseless’. This blog is now closed

Michael McGowan (now) and Justine Landis-Hanley andNaaman Zhou (earlier)

12, Apr, 2021 @8:20 AM

Article image
John Howard’s government considered letting offshore detainees into Australia in 2002
Cabinet papers 2002: records show there were growing concerns about management of asylum seekers in Australia’s offshore detention centres

Tory Shepherd

31, Dec, 2022 @6:59 PM

Article image
Google rejects calls for it and Facebook to pay $600m a year for Australian news
Search engine says economic benefit it gets from Australian news is ‘very small’ and publishers are using ‘inaccurate numbers’ in talks with ACCC

Amanda Meade

31, May, 2020 @9:14 PM

Article image
Australian government bungle means visa applicants told to travel overseas during pandemic
People ‘inadvertently’ received outdated official advice to leave Australia contrary to new Covid-era arrangements

Christopher Knaus

20, Jan, 2021 @5:27 AM

Article image
Morrison government urged to help temporary visa holders 'trapped' in Australia
Labor calls on the Coalition to extend visa deadlines and relax conditions while coronavirus restrictions are in place

Sarah Martin and Ben Doherty

20, Mar, 2020 @7:00 PM

Article image
Australia can't out-Trump Trump on refugees, Q&A warned
Journalist George Megalogenis says politicians must tackle the growing detention centre crisis or risk damaging the country’s reputation for good

Calla Wahlquist

02, May, 2016 @10:04 PM

Article image
Australia jointly responsible for Nauru's draconian media policy, documents reveal
Exclusive: Revelation comes despite repeated denials Australia has any say about journalists’ visas

Helen Davidson

04, Oct, 2018 @2:00 AM

Article image
Novak Djokovic leaves Australia after court upholds visa cancellation
Serbian tennis player seen boarding plane to Dubai hours after decision left him ‘extremely disappointed’

Paul Karp

16, Jan, 2022 @11:46 AM