House debates

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Statements by Members

COVID-19: International Travel

1:30 pm

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme) Share this | | Hansard source

[by video link] I have too many of my constituents stranded overseas. They want to come home, but the Morrison government won't let them. In fact, there are nearly 100,000 Aussies who want to come home. At least 3,500 are considered medically or financially vulnerable. Under the current cap-and-price-gouge system, they've been waiting for months. A young man in Strathmore in the UK writes to me: 'Australians overseas are being treated poorly by their government. I've seen the stress that it's putting them under. It's a disgrace.' These Aussies could be easily repatriated and quarantined, but their homecomings are being thwarted by caps, airline price-gouging and government inaction. If you're an Aussie stranded overseas, Australian citizenship should entitle you to have your government go in to bat. There are Australian families vying to leave France, New York, Texas, Slovakia, Singapore, Thailand—everywhere. But, at the same time, the red carpet is being rolled out to international students in their hundreds to go to Adelaide. I have heard from Mr Angus of Essendon, now in Singapore, who is watching Singaporean students get into Australia, but people with the emu and kangaroo on their passport can't. It's not a person's bank account that matters; it should be their passport. It's not good enough. Get your act together, Mr Morrison. Bring our people home from all around the world, back to Australia.