Anti-mandate South Australian Liberal Senator Alex Antic lashes ‘bureaucratic overlords’ over quarantine
South Australian Liberal Senator Alex Antic has hit out at the state’s “bureaucratic overlords” after being placed in hotel quarantine upon his return to Adelaide.
The vaccine mandate critic left Canberra on Thursday when federal parliament finished sitting for the year.
Under border changes that took effect on November 23, all unvaccinated travellers to SA must quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
Senator Antic, who’s declined to reveal his vaccination status, appears to have been caught by the rule.
Asked on Friday why he was taken to a hotel to quarantine for two weeks, he told ABC radio that was “a very good question”.
“That’s a question you might like to direct to the bureaucratic overlords at SA Health,” he added.
“I’m surrounded by COVID in a medi-hotel and that’s alarming.”
Senator Antic was in the spotlight during the last parliamentary sitting when he joined a handful of upper house MPs threatening to withhold their votes on government legislation in protest at state vaccine mandates.
He later relented, but not before rising in the Senate to say Australia had been “transformed into a two-tiered society on the grounds of medical discrimination”.
Senator Antic said he felt he had been singled out.
“I seem to have been singled out in what appears to be a political stunt and the only inference you can really draw from this is this has been quite pre-meditated,” he told the ABC.
SA COVID cluster
SA is on high alert after discovering 18 new cases of COVID-19 in the state on Thursday.
Sixteen of the new cases are linked to one event at suburban Norwood last weekend. The other two involve travellers from interstate.
All of the infected people who attended the Norwood event, a school reunion, were fully vaccinated. Former SA premier Jay Weatherill was among them and has tested positive.
The cluster has forced 210 close contacts to quarantine for seven days but officials expect that number to increase.
Among the close contacts forced into isolation are Governor Frances Adamson, Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas and his deputy Susan Close.
They have all tested negative, but are continuing their quarantine under the rules.
Premier Steven Marshall said the spike in virus cases was not unexpected after the state dropped most of its border restrictions last month.
“I’m sure there are people anxious about opening up the borders. But I’m quite sure we are COVID ready,” he said on Thursday.
“We’re on track at the moment. The cases were inevitable and now we’re responding.”
As part of that response and amid concerns over the Omicron variant of the virus, SA has moved to tighten its border rules with NSW, requiring all arrivals to have a COVID-19 test.
SA Health has also taken steps to be able to quickly identify the new variant should it arrive.
But officials remain concerned that some other jurisdictions only require international arrivals to quarantine for 72 hours, or allow them to immediately travel to other places in Australia.
Under current rules, all international arrivals in SA must quarantine for 14 days.