Bring Our People Home

Stranded Central Victorians are increasingly desperate for clarity from the Morrison Government on how it is helping them get to safety.

With borders and airports closing, airlines cancelling services, and only five days of international Qantas and Virgin flights remaining, time is running out for Australians trying to follow the Government’s advice to come home.

“I have had a number of locals who are stuck overseas contact my office, plus their family and friends back home,” Chesters said.

“I really feel for these constituents and their families and recognise that this is a stressful and uncertain time.

“I have and will continue to write to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, we need to bring our people home.”

 In an effort to quell rising anxiety, a statement was released yesterday afternoon by the Deputy Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. 

“This statement is appalling,” Chesters said.
 
“Any Australian reading that statement would be none the wiser as to what the Morrison Government is doing to help them.”
 
A vague indication in that statement that the Government will consider offering direct support on a “case-by-case basis” is better than nothing – but for Australians who demonstrably have no viable commercial option to return to safety, the Government must do more.
 
There is no time for delay. With just five days before a further serious reduction in commercial options, Labor again urges the Morrison Government to:

Follow the lead of other countries in providing direct support to bring stranded Australians home, including subsidised and assisted departures where commercial options are not viable.

  1. Engage in active, plain-English communication with Australians overseas, including updates on action being taken so they know they are not on their own.
  2. Expedite the processing of visas for immediate family members of Australian citizens who are rushing to return home.
  3. Properly resource our consular teams in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and visa processing teams in the Department of Home Affairs to meet the unprecedented demands to assist Australians and their families overseas.

I urge the Australian Government to communicate a clear plan to help Central Victorians overseas get to safety, including appropriate quarantine and health care.

We need to bring our people home.