By Caroline Loo, Reuters – A couple from northern Australia has had a sleepless night in the wake of the state’s Christmas Day lockdown, after being warned they would not be allowed into the country.
Key points:The couple, who are from New South Wales, were warned by police that they would be turned away from their home, even though they have not been chargedThe couple said they have no idea what their home decor is worthThe couple’s lawyer says the warning was a threatThe couple and their lawyer say they are concerned the warning could be misinterpreted by police and the authorities.
They said they received a warning via text message on Christmas Eve about being turned away at their home in the Sydney suburb of Bluff.
The warning was made on December 30, a few days after the lockdown began and after police had not charged the couple.
They say they were warned that they could not enter the property unless they had their passports, and that their passports would be taken away if they did not pay their bail or leave the country within 48 hours.
A police spokeswoman said the warning, if believed, could be interpreted as an indication of imminent lawlessness and could result in the person or people charged with a crime being held on remand in custody.
“The police are aware of the threat and are making an assessment of it, and are in contact with the person to ascertain if they are in a safe place,” she said.
“However, they cannot confirm or deny the accuracy of the information that is in the text message.”
A spokesman for the NSW Police said they were not aware of any other warnings about being refused entry to Australia.
The spokeswoman said police were in contact in a number of other states with people who had received similar warnings.
She said the advice to the couple was to contact their lawyer.
The Sydney Morning Herald contacted NSW Police for comment.
In Victoria, police say they do not enforce “threat warnings” but have the power to issue fines for non-compliance.
Victoria’s Crime Commission says it has a team of about 50 staff and is involved in enforcing laws against “dangerous behaviour”.
In the Northern Territory, police have the powers to issue warnings about “danger and disorder”, and there are penalties for failing to comply.
Police in Tasmania said they could issue warnings but they were limited to warnings in relation to the “high risk of violence or violence with a firearm”.
A spokesman said the state had a robust community safety management program and had not received any complaints from any of its residents about a threat.
“This is an ongoing police investigation into a reported threat made against the couple, but no arrests have been made,” he said.