Senate debates

Tuesday, 6 October 2020


COVID-19: Repatriation

4:55 pm

Photo of Kristina KeneallyKristina Keneally (NSW, Australian Labor Party, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

I, and also on behalf of Senator Wong, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

  (i) the Australian Government is responsible for borders, quarantine, and assisting Australians in jeopardy and stranded overseas,

  (ii) the Prime Minister agreed to cap international passenger arrivals on 13 July 2020,

  (iii) since then, the number of stranded Australians overseas has risen dramatically, with 27,000 Australians unable to get home,

  (iv) over 3,000 of these Australians are classified as vulnerable by the Morrison Government, including many with health and financial concerns requiring urgent attention,

  (v) the United Kingdom Government says Australia is the only country in the world to have actively restricted its citizens returning, and

  (vi) the Government has no meaningful plan to lift flight caps or increase quarantine capacity, including identifying new quarantine facilities and training quarantine personnel; and

(b) calls on the Government to take urgent steps to help every stranded Australian return home by:

  (i) increasing the number of permitted arrivals under international flight caps through using Commonwealth resources to increase quarantine capacity,

  (ii) stopping price gouging by airlines flying into Australia, and

  (iii) putting all options on the table to return stranded Australians, especially from places like the United Kingdom, India, Philippines and Lebanon—including charter flights.


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