SENATOR THE HON PENNY WONG

LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY IN THE SENATE

SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS

LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

MEDIA RELEASE

18 April 2020

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: BRING STRANDED AUSTRALIANS HOME NOW

Today marks one month since the Australian Government changed its travel advice to “Do Not Travel” – but it still has no coherent plan to repatriate those who have been stranded overseas.

Over 11,000 Australians have registered for consular help, with no commercial options available. 

They’ve spent the last month emptying their bank accounts on commercial flights that have been cancelled – while watching citizens of other countries rescued by their governments.

Enough is enough. Labor calls on the Government to:

  • Organise assisted departure flights for the 6600 Australians stranded in India – and stop relying on private citizens organising one-off charters
  • Arrange sufficient flights for the 650 Australians stranded in South Africa, 1100 in the Philippines, and nearly 2000 in Thailand and Bangladesh
  • Implement an urgent plan for the Australians still stranded in the Middle East and South America.

The need for more direct government intervention to get Australians to safety has always been obvious.

That’s why other countries moved so fast to organise flights to repatriate their citizens, including:

  • Germany arranged 170 special flights, with additional operations by other European Union countries to bring hundreds of thousands of Europeans home.
  • The UK has engaged in a £75 million effort to bring Britons home – including 19 flights from India alone.

We don’t want to look back and say there was more we could have done to bring stranded Australians home to safety.


Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra.