House debates

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Statements by Members

COVID 19: Australians Overseas

1:45 pm

Photo of Lisa ChestersLisa Chesters (Bendigo, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to share with the House some of the words of one of the many Australians that are stuck overseas. This particular person is a constituent of mine, aged 31, who lives in Castlemaine. She's been stuck in the UK since mid last year, unable to return home. She knows she's not alone in this situation. She's currently in Glasgow and has been trying to get home since August, with no luck. She no longer has a valid visa and is very worried about what will happen to her. She's an Australian without a visa in the UK, yet her government is refusing to help. She did get an email from DFAT with a link to a government chartered flight to Darwin, but it was sold out by the time she clicked on it, which was within half an hour of the email being sent.

This government's efforts to help people return home is tokenistic. This Australian has been waiting months and months for help and is now without a visa. She's one of us, yet has been left stranded. The government needs to do more to bring Australians home. It is through no fault of their own that they are stuck there. While she recognises that the Prime Minister said in March last year, 'Come home', she wasn't in a position to do so because she was still legally working in the UK. Now she is without a visa and alone and stuck in strict isolation, hoping that that might help her get home. I implore the Prime Minister to do more to help bring these Australians home.