Labor Senator for South Australia
18 September 2020
The staged increase of the international arrivals cap still risks leaving too many Australians stranded overseas for too long – as the Morrison Government stalls on using Federal resources to get these people home faster.In Scott Morrison’s own words it will be months until the tens of thousands of stranded Australians are home.Today Mr Morrison was happy to float the options available to him to fix this problem – including charter flights and the use of Howard Springs – but he isn’t willing to deliver them for those in need.Just yesterday DFAT briefed the media that the number of Australians registered as wanting to return home was 27,000, while the airlines estimate that there are up to 30,000 Australians in the UK alone who are seeking flights.The majority of these people have faced multiple flight cancellations with no refunds and price gouging - as a result some are now suffering serious financial hardship and homelessness. “Scott Morrison has multiple offers and options available to him to fix this problem quickly. Instead of showing leadership on what is a Federal responsibility, he has fobbed off these Australians in need to the Premiers,” said Senator Penny Wong, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs.Offices of MPs and Senators have been overwhelmed by stranded Australians seeking assistance – but their pleas have been ignored by the Morrison Government.“Qantas has resorted to joy flights to nowhere, but Scott Morrison can’t pick up the phone to arrange a few charter flights to help bring Australians home faster,” said Senator Kristina Keneally, Shadow Minister for Home Affairs.
“The Prime Minister announced no plans to charter flights for Australians desperate to come home. The answers are in front of him, and he has chosen not to act,” said Catherine King the Shadow Minister Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development.As tens of thousands of Australians wait to see if their airline tickets will be cancelled yet again, the Morrison Government has seen it fair to grant an exemption to British billionaire Lord Sugar, allowing him to travel to Australia to film a reality television show.
“Once again we see the Morrison Government has one rule for the privileged few, while stranded Australians are told to ask for charity or to go to homeless shelters,” said Senator Wong.
Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.
Authorised by P Wong, Level 4, 19 Gouger St, Adelaide