COVID-19: Bring Stranded Aussies Home


Peter Khalil: There are almost 37,000 stranded Australians overseas who want to come home—Australians abandoned by this government during a deadly global pandemic. Eight thousand of those are considered vulnerable—Australians crashing on couches and people who need medical care and have spent thousands of dollars on cancelled flights. Many from my electorate of Wills are stuck overseas. I’ll give you just two examples. Ludmilla is stuck in Moscow, struggling to get by, separated from her loved ones and in a vulnerable financial situation. Her flights have been cancelled twice because of Australian caps. Brendan is stuck in Cape Town. He wants to return home to his job so he can just pay back the enormous, crippling debt that he’s got due to being stuck overseas. Those are just two out of 37,000 stories.

But where is the Prime Minister? In September, he promised to get all stranded Australians home by Christmas. Well, Prime Minister, there are 23 days until Christmas. You’ve still got an opportunity. But what have you been doing? You’ve been blaming others. You’ve been passing the buck, blaming states and territories for their lack of quarantine capacity. Prime Minister, if there was ever a time to demonstrate leadership, it’s now. It’s not hard, and you know that, if you wanted to do it, you would. You’d get your ministers together, you’d make a plan, you’d actually create federal quarantine spots, you’d organise the flights and you would bring our stranded Aussies home.