Australians’ sense of fairness is shaken like a chain of “Mega-rich” celebrities are spared the mandatory quarantine at the hotel upon arrival in the country.
Stealing the headlines is the “fury” against local Hollywood star Nicole Kidman, who instead spends it on her country estate.
Since Australia closed its borders to the world on March 20, all returning travelers have been placed in mandatory hotel quarantine for two weeks.
Unless you are, you’re an Oscar-winning actress like Kidman; her singer-husband Keith Urban; or singer Dannii Minogue – Kylie’s sister. They are among several prominent figures who have been allowed to self-quarantine at home, rather than spending 14 days in hotel detention.
Kidman and Urban flew to Sydney from the United States last week, ahead of the filming of their new miniseries, Nine Perfect Strangers, in August.
Arriving by private jet from Tennessee, they and their two daughters, Sunday and Faith, were allowed to self-isolate at their vacation home in the New South Wales area rather than face quarantine at the hotel like everyone else.
A week earlier, Dannii Minogue and her 10-year-old son were allowed to stay in the comfort of a private home on the Gold Coast, Queensland.
No special treatment, say leaders
Despite these incidents, heads of state maintain that there has been no special treatment.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said there was always a strict quarantine in place for the rest of Kidman’s film crew: “… it’s just a matter of where you got the quarantine.”
Meanwhile, Queensland health official Jeannette Young has defended Dannii Minogue’s exemption from quarantine. The star bypassed the hotel’s expensive isolation ($ 2,800 per person in Queensland) because she had “a Covid security plan that is managed by an independent third party,” Young noted.
Deputy Prime Minister and State Health Minister Steven Miles said: “The quarantine provisions in place in this case mirror – if not more – the quarantine provisions in the hotel. “
Something that members of the Queensland opposition party have rushed on, accusing the government of granting “one rule for celebrities and one rule for everyone”.
Because while the security measures can match (some would say they could even be better than those provided in hotels in Melbourne currently in the midst of a quarantine scandal), living conditions certainly are not.
While the singer has been released from the hook – of 14 days staring at the walls of a hotel room – across the state, thousands more have not been. Some 1,660 hotel rooms in Queensland have been would have used in mid-July for the quarantine of travelers.
Each Australian state and territory maintains its own hotel quarantine system. Although there have been previous exemptions, most for medical or humanitarian reasons, this kind of star treatment arouses outrage.
Last Monday’s photos of the Kidman-Urban couple roaming the expansive grounds of their Sutton Forest home, smiling and free, don’t help much. When thousands of people are fighting behind closed hotel doors, they are not allowed to open a window to get fresh air.
The issue is particularly thorny given the recent introduction of a pricing system for government-run quarantine. Previously, it was the state that paid the bill.
Now, Australians returning to the country must pay around $ 3,000 each. And if you don’t have a private jet, the number of those who can have been reduced.
Star immunity also comes amid a resurgence of the virus in Australia. Why do celebrities ignore the “hard rules” and seem to get special treatment? many ask.
Rare exemptions generally granted for health reasons
The New South Wales Health Service said exemptions are “only considered where there are strong medical, health or compassionate grounds”. There is no mention of VIP privileges, and health officials have not explained the anomaly.
At QLD, Jeannette Young said a total of 38 exemptions have been granted so far, for personalities in the film and television industry, consular officials, members of the Australian Defense Force and workers in the oil industry. and gas.
The problem raises the mouths of Australians, who live according to the principle of “fair go”. Perhaps this is another reminder that equality for all is just a national myth.
Many more have had to undergo quarantine, even as Mental Health and other experts called for more exemptions on human grounds.
Celebrity impunity, but not for everyone
The fact that Kidman’s TV series would inject $ 100 million into the local Southern Highlands economy during 5 months of filming is not enough to quell the storm. A survey of The daily mail found less than one in five Australians approve of skipping normal procedures. While Kidman’s publicist in Sydney described claims that they were breaking the rules as “absolute garbage”.
Not all superstars have escaped strict luxury quarantine procedures. Anglo-American actress Jane Seymour has had her time this month in hotel quarantine. (Maybe she just forgot to ask for an exception).
“The coronavirus pandemic has had an unexpected side effect, exposing the celebrity pecking order in all its ignominious glory this week as a cavalcade of stars entered quarantine,” writes Sydney Morning Herald columnist Andrew Hornery.
This isn’t the first time the so-called hard and fast rules have been stretched. In April, West Australian billionaire Kerry Stokes was allowed to go into self-isolation at his Perth home upon his return from America. Something that still raises eyebrows. “Friends in high places”, both state and federal leaders, helped him avoid hotel lockdown Nine reports.