Don't ground our freedom of opinion – lift this unfair no-fly ban
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On 2 February, a 53-year-old business traveller, Paul Leary, asked to leave a Qantas flight after learning that the plane would be carrying an asylum seeker from Melbourne to Darwin, for deportation to Sri Lanka.
According to refugee advocates, the asylum seeker feared torture if deported to Sri Lanka. Mr Leary left the plane to support his colleague, who felt uncomfortable flying under these circumstances.
Now Qantas has banned Mr Leary from flying until further notice, saying that his actions were "unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the Qantas Group or Jetstar Group".
Mr Leary left the flight of his own accord, and was not asked to disembark by Qantas staff. He and his colleague later flew to Darwin on Jetstar flights, only discovering the ban when attempting to board their return flight to Melbourne four days later.
Would Qantas ban a passenger who had to leave a flight before take off due to a medical condition?
In declining to participate in Qantas' carriage of an asylum seeker fearing torture, Mr Leary and his colleague were responding to an emergency that was no less urgent.
Let's tell Qantas to respect our freedom of opinion and lift their ban on Mr Leary and his colleague.
Hear Paul Leary tell his story.
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