House debates

Monday, 26 October 2020

Statements by Members

COVID-19: International Travel

1:51 pm

Photo of Sharon ClaydonSharon Claydon (Newcastle, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

In recent months I have been inundated with Novocastrians reaching out from all corners of the globe. While their stories vary, their reason to contact me is the same. They are stranded, they're desperate and they need to get home. I've heard from people trying to return home to attend weddings or, sadly, to see loved ones for the last time before they die. I've heard from people who've lost their jobs and have no means of supporting themselves. Others have been trying to get home for medical reasons, like a man stuck in France without access to medication. I've even had one gentleman in such a dire situation that he was forced to sleep in his car in Canada while he waited in vain for a flight home. Sadly, my constituents aren't alone in this plight. Indeed, they are among 32,000 stranded Australians across the planet. Despite all the Prime Minister's announcements and so-called fixes this number keeps growing as Christmas gets closer. But it seems not every Australian is in the same situation. Indeed, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been able to leave and return to Australia not once but twice in recent months. This double standard is appalling. Please, Prime Minister, I urge you to bring these Australians home as a matter of urgency.