SENATOR KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
WHEN DOES 14,000 EQUAL 26,000?
WELCOME TO SCOTT MORRISON’S LATEST BROKEN PROMISE TO STRANDED AUSTRALIANS
It’s hard to comprehend just how low Scott Morrison will go to mislead Australians about his failure to deliver on his promises.
But, today, he has set a new low.
On 18 September 2020, after coming under intense pressure to help the 26,800 Australians stranded overseas, Scott Morrison promised that everyone would be home by Christmas.
He confirmed his promise today, when he said:
The goal was to deal with the caseload that we had back in September and that was around 26,700 people.
As officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) confirmed today, only 14,000 of the 26,800 Australians who were registered with the DFAT on 18 September and wanted help to come home are home today.
But, today, Scott Morrison could not admit that he will not keep his promise. Instead, he tried to pull the wool over the eyes of Australians when he said:
We’ve already got 35,000 home. So, we are well on the track to deal with the scale of demand that we had at that time. In fact, we have exceeded it, in many respects, with the number of people that have come back.
Scott Morrison knows his promise to have stranded Australians home by Christmas was specifically to the 26,800 Australians who were registered as stranded with DFAT on 18 September. He knows only 14,000 stranded Australians have come home.
He also knows that the 35,000 figure he used today includes many Australians who had never registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Let’s remember that Tony Abbott would be included in the PM’s deliberately misleading numbers – and he was hardly stranded.
Stranded Australians are looking for some honesty and some action from their Prime Minister today. Instead, all they get from Scott Morrison is excuses.
The number of stranded Australians registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and wanting to come home has now doubled from 18,800 on 20 August to 36,875 today. And, the number of vulnerable Australians has increased from 4,000 to 8,000 in just five weeks.
During this time, Scott Morrison has been briefed three times by former Health Department Secretary Jane Halton on how we can safely boost quarantine capacity to bring more stranded Australians home.
However, he continues to do nothing, and the number of stranded Australians continues to grow.
The Federal Government is responsible for our international borders.
Scott Morrison must stop passing the buck on quarantine to the States, just like he did with the Ruby Princess and Aged Care, and take responsibility for our national quarantine arrangements to safely bring more stranded Australians home.