Celebrity Apprentice stars arrive in Australia as citizens remain stranded

TV host and Amscreen 'smart cities' owner granted special travel exemption while Australians remain stranded.

Celebrity Apprentice stars arrive in Australia as citizens remain stranded
Source: Lord Sugar/Twitter
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Lord Alan Sugar is the latest in a long line of reality TV personalities granted an exemption to Australia's travel restrictions while thousands of citizens remain trapped abroad.

Sugar is a businessman, author, politician, and media personality with a personal fortune estimated at £1.21bn.

He is also known as the star of The Apprentice in the UK, where he oversees contestants engaging in business-related challenges. He has been brought to Australia to lead The Celebrity Apprentice Australia, replacing Mark Bouris.

Is it an 'essential service'? The government appears to think so, approving the application.

Sugar landed in Sydney on September 5 and will spend 14 days in quarantine at the Sheraton.

Meanwhile, millions of people in Australia remain under stay-at-home orders, unable to go more than 5km from their homes – let alone travel around the world. At the same time that Sugar relaxes in luxury accommodation, Australian families unable to work are watching their life savings evaporate.

27,000 Australians remain overseas, while Australians who work internationally are unable to obtain travel permits to leave.

Currently, only citizens and residents with immediate family in Australia are allowed to enter the country – unless you’re a celebrity, billionaire, or politician. Those who do make the list to come home are faced with excessive ticket prices in excess of $10,000.

Many Australian families have been left separated because they cannot afford the cost of the return ticket.

Sugar is also Chairman of Amshold Group, owner of Amscreen which specialises in ‘Smart Cities’. Amscreen provides digital advertising screens for cities.

Smart Cities’ is one enterprise that has benefited from the sudden increase in government-mandated digital surveillance. Amscreen’s new ads include a hand sanitiser dispenser and advanced data tracking capabilities as it makes moves to permanently integrate with the New Normal.

The report Smart City Solutions for a Riskier World underlines the pandemic’s role in increasing the scope – and profit – for Smart City participants.

Municipal managers have long understood that smart technologies and innovative ways of collecting and using data would be key, not only to achieving their social, environmental and economic goals, but also to their readiness and resilience. The pandemic gave them first-hand experience of just how vital," said their website.

United Australia Party MP Craig Kelly pointed out the hypocrisy, furious that Australia has fallen into government-sanctioned double standards.

Kelly has been one of the strong, minor party voices demanding the return of rights and freedoms to the Australian people.

Big Brother Australia was also criticised for flying in international celebrities, including Katie Hopkins – who had to be sent back.

Australians have started to ask themselves why reality TV stars are considered more important than ordinary people...

The answer may lie in the behaviour of politicians.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk gave herself a travel exemption to fly to Tokyo during the Olympics, while Prime Minister Scott Morrison excused himself from quarantine restrictions when he travelled to Sydney on Father’s Day.

Are we all in this together?

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  • By Avi Yemini

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