Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed that Australians with dual nationality will be exempted from the travel ban issued by US President Donald Trump.
Trump’s executive order placed a 90-day ban on immigration from seven predominately Muslim-majority nations which include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Turnbull said he had been assured by Trump’s national security advisor and Australia’s Ambassador in Washington DC, Joe Hockey that Australians would be exempted.
“We have received confirmation from the White House this morning that Australian passport holders will be able to travel to and from the United States in the normal way,” he said.
“They won’t be affected by the recent executive order regardless of whether they are dual citizens of another country or where they were born,” he said.
Over 110,000 Australian residents are born in one of these seven countries.
Dismissing his criticism on not reacting on the Trump’s visa ban, Turnbull said: “What is important for me to do as Australian Prime Minister, is to deliver for Australians.”
“When I have frank advice to give to an American president, I give it in private as good friends do, as wise Prime Ministers do to ensure they are best able to protect Australia and Australia’s best interests,” he said.
Turnbull earlier refused to comment on the US ban, labelling it a “domestic policy” of another country.
“It is not my job, as prime minister of Australia, to run a commentary on the domestic policies of other countries,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nobel laureate and Vice-Chancellor of Australian National University Brian Schmidt has raised concerns over the US ban, saying the academics would inevitably be affected.
“It is such a globalised world, and when things like this happen within the United States, it affects everyone,” Schmidt said.
“We have many people from these countries, so it just makes the ability to do business as usual within research and academia very difficult,” Schmidt said.
Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson also echoed similar sentiments, saying she was concerned for academics who are citizens from the affected countries.
“In any conversations that we have with the Government around this, we’ll obviously be drawing to their attention the concerns that we have about the potential impact,” Robinson said.
“It’s a little difficult now, with the executive orders only having just been signed, [to know] what that impact is going to be,” she said.