Backpackers who flocked to a popular Sydney beach on Christmas Day have been threatened with deportation by Australia’s new Immigration Minister.
Alex Hawke said he was “shocked” to see what had occurred on Bronte Beach and had received countless letters and messages from “upset” and concerned members of the community.
“Under the Migration Act, if somebody is threatening public safety or health, it (visa) can be cancelled and revoked,” he told 2GB.
“Anyone caught doing the wrong thing will have their visa status brought before the federal government.”
He agreed it was difficult to say how many of the partygoers were backpackers, or Australian citizens, but either way they would be subject to the law.
“Ten months into a pandemic, we all know the drill. We understand how difficult this has been and understand why we have to do what we’re doing,” Mr Hawke said.
“People who are guests in this country also have to do the right thing.
“If you’re a temporary visa holder in Australia and you do not, we will be examining your visa status with the view of cancellation.”
But Mr Hawke praised those doing the right thing, acknowledging it is the minority who aren’t.
“Most temporary visa holders are absolutely doing the right thing and they understand how important it is,” he said.
“But we don’t want to be have public health and safety jeopardised by a small group of people who are not respecting the country that they’ve come.”
Earlier, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard pleaded for young people who attended the massive Christmas party at Bronte Beach to “just stop it”.
Hundreds of people, most not wearing masks, were chanting and dancing at the party on Christmas afternoon before riot police swooped in on the eastern suburbs beach about 3pm.
NSW Police said a move-on notice was issued and the crowd dispersed.
However, they will allege a 25-year-old didn’t listen.
He has been issued with a court attendance notice for failing to comply with the move-on order.
Mr Hazzard said on Saturday the gathering flew in the face of public health advice and undermined the efforts of the broader community.
“It is absolutely appalling to see what was clearly a group of people, a large gathering of people, who didn’t give a damn about the rest of Sydney,” he said.
“That event, I am hoping, will not become a super-spreader event. But there’s every chance that it could be.”