Earlier this week Montaigne confirmed that she and the rest of Australia’s Eurovision team will not be traveling to Eurovision 2021 in Rotterdam. And now, in an Instagram live chat, the “Technicolour” singer has given a fuller explanation.

“SBS hired an independent risk assessor to try and figure out if it would be safe for me and the delegation to go overseas from Australia,” she said. “Ultimately they said it wasn’t. It was their job to find any kind of option that made sense for us to go and they couldn’t.”

She stressed that she doesn’t have any animosity toward the broadcaster, which, like everyone else, is operating during an unprecedented global crisis. Their goal — and Montaigne’s — is to protect not only themselves, but also their fellow Australians.

 

“I have seen a few people sort of coming off a bit mean to SBS. Obviously in their eyes it is SBS that is depriving me of the experience when the truth is it’s a pandemic and Australia doesn’t have any Covid cases at the moment.”

“We wouldn’t want to bring anything back — that would absolutely suck…it would suck to be the people who, like, brought coronavirus back to Australia. There are so many situations that could have gone wrong…in the process of going to Eurovision, rehearsing and going to the hotel.”

Australia has won plaudits for its tough restrictions which have kept Covid cases down compared to Europe. It shut its borders to non-residents on March 20 of last year and instituted a mandatory two-week quarantine for returning residents a week later.

According to the Johns Hopkins University in the United States, which has been tracking cases from the very start, Australia has confirmed just under 30,000 cases and around 910 deaths since the pandemic started. Compare that to The Netherlands, which has recorded more than 17,000 deaths and around 1.5 million cases.

Australia’s population is around 25 million, making it larger than The Netherlands, which is home to around 17 million people.

Paul Clarke, the Creative Director in the delegation and Director of Blink TV, told Ausssievision:

“We are hugely disappointed, we worked so hard to make it happen and look at a pathway where we could be safe…It’s been a mutual decision with the network, our production company and Montaigne and her management.”

Meanwhile, Australia’s Head of Delegation told the Australian site:

“We’re incredibly sad… mainly for Montaigne, two years in a row she doesn’t get that chance to have that experience.. .There’s no one reason, you can’t pin it on any one reason, we did an extraordinary amount of work… (we looked at) what are the challenges we need to overcome…. and there was quite a number of challenges to get from this side of the world to the other side of the world in the middle of a global pandemic.”

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
61 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
raylee
raylee
7 months ago

She seemed so sad in live stream also the announcement video. 🙁 I wish all 39 were there , and i hope this doesn’t happen to anybody else until Eurovision week

Trina
Trina
7 months ago

Thank you to all the Australians posting here and giving your perspective on the situation. Respect.

Jang
Jang
7 months ago

What if they were number one with the bookies?

Alex
Alex
7 months ago
Reply to  Jang

they would have allowed her to travel. Imagine Dami for example.

James
James
7 months ago
Reply to  Jang

Why would anyone care what the bookies say?

Magpie
Magpie
7 months ago

I can completely understand the position. As many have already stated we already have had athletes and celebrities already come here to do their business while regular Australian citizens are still waiting to come home, some waiting since early last year.

Ultimately I feel the decision was done for health reasons but also done because of our government’s attitude to returning Australians. Personally I don’t think it’s worth the hassle going if the government decides to randomly cancel your flight back to Australia.

Desmondo
Desmondo
7 months ago

Tennis players at the Australian Open did bring in Covid and a handful of the players complained publicly about their hotel quarantine – this didn’t impress the Australian public. Many Australians are stuck overseas due to the border closures and caps on commercial flights (due to limited places in quarantine). Being able to fly in/out is a bit of a privilege. I imagine that Hollywood stars either fly privately, or like sporty people, fly commercially on their own funding. SBS is a public broadcaster and is mostly funded by government. Finally, vaccine roll out has been VERY slow so the… Read more »

Alex
Alex
7 months ago

I feel sorry for Montaigne. She is very unlucky, first cancelled entry in 2020 and now participation via a pretaped performance. I think the Australian government did not give their permission because Montaigne is not a big name and her entry is not a favourite to win so they don’t think it’s worth the risk. Btw, it’s ridiculous to say they are a risk to Australians if they return from Rotterdam, as if those Hollywood stars flocking to Australia are not a danger? or the athletes and tennis players??? Montaigne and her team could have self isolated for 2 weeks… Read more »

Jonas
Jonas
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex

This is not about government permission, the decision was made before they needed it.

Alex
Alex
7 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

If Australia was the favourite to win, I bet they would have allowed her to travel.

Kim
Kim
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex

Really.??? You have no idea what is going on here in Oz. We are having people return from overseas( our own citizens) and we have been quarantining them for 14 days . They are tested day 4 ,9,12 and 14 and if they come back with negative swabs are allowed out of quarantine. Just the other day in Western Australia someone was allowed out of quarantine and they then flew home to Melbourne 5 days later tested positive after starting to feel sick. We now have border closures to anyone from Western Australia and complete lockdown for 3 days and… Read more »

Samo
Samo
7 months ago
Reply to  Kim

You can’t wipe out the entire population with covid for god’s sake. The fatality rate is below 1% (that means less than 1% of infected people dies).

Going to Eurovision would be safe enough. The chances of them being infected (and infectious!) precisely on return to Australia are miniscule and they would have to quarantine at a hotel for 14 days anyway, so even if they were infectious, it would be contained.

James
James
7 months ago
Reply to  Samo

Except many Aussies here have already said that Australians abroad are still stranded as they’re unable to return home. Logistics issues caused by the pandemic have, for certain, been taken into consideration.

Alex
Alex
7 months ago
Reply to  James

I am sure Australians abroad can safely return home with the government’s assistance, just like other countries did.

James
James
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex

Apparently not the case as a complaint was filed by stranded Australians against their government for not allowing them to return home, according to France 24.

Alex
Alex
7 months ago
Reply to  Kim

you are overreacting. Montaigne and the team can return freom Rotterdam and selfd isolate for 14 days. What’s the problem????

Doris
Doris
7 months ago

Time to kick out Australia from the contest it shouldn’t never joined in the first place and bring back Hungary and Slovakia.

Alex
Alex
7 months ago
Reply to  Doris

Oh god, so dumb statement. Hungary and Slovakia were not banned, it was their decision not to take part.

Peter Van Tszai
Peter Van Tszai
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex

I hope Turkey will return back as well, just wait for the transition of the government from Erdogan to someone who embrace the European values ( maybe through election 2 years later, or a sudden coup I don’t know). Anyways stay safe Montaigne!

Jimmy Smit
Jimmy Smit
7 months ago

Erdogan is there for the long haul, unfortunately.

Alex
Alex
7 months ago

Erdogan is like Putin, he will never leave his role until he’s dead, i assume. Turkey needs a revolution but yeah it’s a different topic.

Denis
Denis
7 months ago

Hmm. Its still fishy. So athletes traveling to and from Australia isnt a risk factor? Or all Hollywood stars currently occupying Australia isnt a risk? No one thought they could bring Covid to Australia? Where is risk assesor for that? How is it deemed safer?

James
James
7 months ago
Reply to  Denis

Different cases. In Montaigne’s case, the public broadcaster had to assess if allowing the delegation to go ahead and travel outside serves is the responsible way to go considering there is still a pandemic happening. If athletes return and become the reason there’s another outbreak in the country then that is a burden SBS wouldn’t want Montaigne to bear with.

Alex
Alex
7 months ago
Reply to  James

Not different at all. They allowed a football team to travel to Netherlands for a friendly match. Tennis players are travelling from and to Australia.

SBS didn’t want to spend coins.

James
James
7 months ago
Reply to  Alex

SBS also don’t want to overwhelm hospitals either.

MALTESER
MALTESER
7 months ago

How lame. I thought Australia wouldn’t qualify. Now I hope they don’t.

Esc fan
Esc fan
7 months ago
Reply to  MALTESER

I agree.i don’t believe it

Dawid
Dawid
7 months ago

Honestly, it’s not like sending a few people would make that much of a difference. Especially since they’d looked at, so they’d have to “behave” no matter what. If it’s no problem for sportsmen, then it shouldn’t be any problem for ESC representative.

James
James
7 months ago
Reply to  Dawid

It’s still a risk regardless that they don’t wanna gamble on.

Novak Djokovic’s own charity tennis tour in the Balkans became a moving superspreader event with many invited players getting infected, and may have exposed others upon coming home.

Besides, SBS, as a public broadcaster, has a responsibility to maintain that trust with their stakeholders, including their viewers, thus the decision they made before needing to ask permission from travel authorities whether hey can be granted permission to leave the country or not.

Hello hi
Hello hi
7 months ago

Don’t leave the house at all then . There is much more bigger dangers in life than Covid .
Cue the negative ratings on my comment

Eurovision2016>
Eurovision2016>
7 months ago
Reply to  Hello hi

funny thing is that if everyone just stayed at home and followed orders to the tea then covid would have lasted for a maximum of three months. unfortunately some people in this world (mostly conservatives) think that their individual freedom is way more important than saving lives and the governments are too afraid to punish people breaking lockdown, which really should accord to a life in prison.

Samo
Samo
7 months ago

It’s not possible for everyone to stay home. Someone has to produce your food. Someone has to maintain the electric grid. Someone has to care about ill people. Someone has to extinguish fires. Someone even has to hand out those fines you dream about. And so on. The idea that we can make entire population sit at home for several months is completely unrealistic and so is therefore the idea of eradication. Covid is here to stay. Get used to it, it’s just another of many diseases. If someone wants to isolate themselves (or their country), feel free to do… Read more »

Ashton Schier
Ashton Schier
7 months ago
Reply to  Samo

would you like to tell the remaining families of the millions dead that we are moving on from taking necessary precautions because apparently you think it’s unrealistic?

Last edited 7 months ago by Ashton Schier
Samo
Samo
7 months ago
Reply to  Ashton Schier

Keeping every single person in the world home for several months is not possible. Period. If you don’t like it, too bad, but it just can’t be done.

As I said before, if someone wants to stay isolated, it’s their call. Most other humans have been accepting that having a life comes with some risks for centuries and they will continue to accept it.

Kim
Kim
7 months ago
Reply to  Samo

You don’t. Essential services only go to work, hospitals, police and.Supermarket staff . It’s clothing stores restaurants (they can do deliveries – non contact . They just don’t want large groups of people together . You don’t stay strictly at home – you are allowed out to do essential stuff like shop and exercise but only for a few hours per day only within 5 kms of your house . You wear a mask when out. No country made every single person stay at home an shut down the country . They set out the rules and the population followed… Read more »

Samo
Samo
7 months ago
Reply to  Kim

If you have a large community spread, cancelling non-essential activities won’t eradicate the virus. The idea above was that we shut everyone at home and the virus will disappear. That wouldn’t happen because essential services staff will continue to spread it among each other and when we reopen, the circulation starts again.

Lockdowns are deeply inhuman, there is no justification for preventing people from going out of their home. I’m glad that I live in a place where lockdowns aren’t constitutionally possible and the government never had an appetite to extensively close the society.

Eurovision2016>
Eurovision2016>
7 months ago
Reply to  Samo

that’s literally why I said three months and not two weeks because I get that doctors can’t stay home.

Last edited 7 months ago by Eurovision2016>
Denis
Denis
7 months ago

If everybody stayed at home then society would collapse entirely. Even in crisis we must have a society. If everybody stayed at home who would care for the ill? Who would drive an ambulance if you needed it? Who would teach our children? Who would make sure we have food to eat and buy? What if youre pregnant, who would help deliever if all midwives have to stay home?

Jonas
Jonas
7 months ago
Reply to  Denis

Nobody has ever suggested that. Stay at home, unless it’s essential. That’s what’s being asked.

Samo
Samo
7 months ago
Reply to  Jonas

But then you can’t get to the eradication. The idea above was that if everyone stayed home for a few months, the virus would just go away. That is not possible. Some people will always need to go out and meet rach other. Thus, staying at home is merely postponing the problem. We need to learn to live with the covid.

Kim
Kim
7 months ago
Reply to  Samo

Mate there are a few countries that have eradicated it totally and the only covid comes in from overseas from returning citizens. Australia and New Zealand and Singapore. It can be done with restrictions. Those that were essential workers followed the rules to prevent the spread. Limited numbers working means limited numbers spreading. We have eradicated it from our country but we are obligated to take our citizens back and unfortunately they are coming from counties that are struggling with covid.

Kim
Kim
7 months ago
Reply to  Hello hi

Jeez. Isn’t it lovely to hear how much contempt there is for other humans beings lives. It’s survival of the fittest is it ? So other people’s loved ones hold no value to people because it’s just a virus ? 3 million dead and counting , 3 mutations and counting , how many more millions not counted by governments because they didn’t test the cause of death , governments denying that covid even exists .Parents dying and leaving their kids orphans What a lovely world we live in with this type of attitude. It’s a cold world out there not… Read more »

Samo
Samo
7 months ago
Reply to  Kim

I hate to break this to you, but humans are mortal. Around 50 million people died each year during the last decade. Most of them died from some kind of disease. As we get older, our bodies get more vulnerable and have a hard time fighting various threats, including bacteria and viruses. Other people die of preventable causes such as traffic accidents – should we ban all car traffic forever to save lives?

There is no such thing as 100% safety.

Last edited 7 months ago by Samo
Kosey
Kosey
7 months ago

Wow Montaigne, what a completely selfless attitude. You’ve shown incredible leadership here in what must have been a really difficult decision. Huge, huge props to you!!

Sot
Sot
7 months ago

“Sending love from across the pond” lol, that’s why I love the Aussies

Micky
Micky
7 months ago

Montaigne avoiding Covid19 and Natalia G looking for it. Point for Australia!

Alex
Alex
7 months ago
Reply to  Micky

it just shows you that wealthy people like Kirkorov will always get a pass.

Kim
Kim
7 months ago

I think the pre recorded version is actually going to be better for Montaigne and will see her head to the grand final. SBS will throw everything to ensure that the pre recording is perfect and visually exciting.

Donkey
Donkey
7 months ago
Reply to  Kim

I believe the pre recorded version has already been recorded and montaigne said that she would prefer to go to Rotterdam but oh well.

Alex
Alex
7 months ago
Reply to  Kim

the prerecorded performance will be more simplistic compared to the Rotterdam performance bc it was recorded in a small studio without the options that the Rotterdam production will provide.

It’s a shame and i feel sorry for her.

Robert
Robert
7 months ago

Understandable.. At the same time I’m like isn’t that where quarantine is for? Do think qualification will be hard for Australia now..

James
James
7 months ago
Reply to  Robert

I don’t see the correlation between not going and qualification.

Henry
Henry
7 months ago

Getting that feeling that this is a huge detraction that will cause Australia’s first NQ…. Hopefully giving a deserving song like Belgium and Croatia a better shot at qualifying.

Alex
Alex
7 months ago
Reply to  Henry

Croatia was always going to qualify and do better than Australia. Belgium is a different song.

I think it will help Azerbaijan and Sweden. Russia is locking their qualification.

NickC
NickC
7 months ago

They could have chosen a Europe based Aussie artist for this year, and let Montaigne represent them next year. Just a suggestion.

Fred
Fred
7 months ago
Reply to  NickC

Please no… She can’t sing live whatsoever.

Neil
Neil
7 months ago
Reply to  Fred

She has (one of) the most hardest song to sing this year and she aces the vocals
idk what u are talking about…

Roodi
Roodi
7 months ago
Reply to  Neil

did you watch her performance of her song on Australian pride.

Trina
Trina
7 months ago
Reply to  NickC

I think this is a nice thought, but I don’t think it is realistic. They would have had to make this decision months back (probably back in 2020), and, being they only just did the risk assessment recently, I don’t know that they would have predicted the situation are in. I also think this would not be fair to Montaigne, who has already put so much work in, and would basically have to put another year of her life on hold. So I agree with the sentiment, but not the practicalities that this would involve. I really do feel for… Read more »

Denis
Denis
7 months ago
Reply to  NickC

I actually think Montaigne and us should just let her move on from the whole ESC debacle, bring back Australia Decides and start fresh

Alex
Alex
7 months ago
Reply to  NickC

well they did not know what would happen when she was internally selected for 2021.