Politicians abandon Aussies, roll out welcome mat to foreigners

One of the most disturbing situations to arise from the coronavirus pandemic is the contempt shown towards Australians stranded abroad, abandoned by our politicians.

More than one year on from the beginning of the pandemic and there are still an estimated 35,000 Aussies stranded overseas, shut out by limited flights and quarantine places, as well as punitive costs, with abandoned Aussies required to pay $10,000 for flights and $3,000 for quarantine.

Former foreign minister Alexander Downer labeled the situation an “outrage” last week and has backed the stranded Aussies claims to the UNHCR on the basis that the Morrison Government has violated its convention that “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country”.

To add insult to injury, the latest international arrivals data from the ABS, published in The Australian, shows that the volume of foreign nationals arriving into Australia now outnumbers the volume of Australians entering:

While the number of inter­national travellers has fluctuated since the borders were closed in March 2020, the percentage of ­arrivals who are Australian citizens has steadily decreased throughout the pandemic.

In April 2020, 69 per cent of overseas arrivals were Australian citizens. In July, that number had dropped to 58 per cent. By February, it was just 44 per cent…

Over recent months we have seen:

  1. State governments fly in temporary migrant fruit pickers, with taxpayers subsidising the cost of their flights and quarantine.
  2. State governments hatch plans to fly in international students, with their costs also to be subsidised by taxpayers.
  3. The federal government’s skilled migration committee recommend that “the Government reserve places on flights and in quarantine for skilled migrants”.

What is abundantly clear is that politicians at all levels and all persuasions have abandoned Australian citizens in favour of foreign nationals. In the process, they have abandoned their most sacred responsibility to look after the welfare of Australians.

The Morrison Government is obviously most at fault given it is the national government with constitutional responsibility for Australia’s international border and quarantine.

Months ago, the Morrison Government should have established national quarantine facilities and chartered flights to bring Australians home. There are plenty of planes sitting idle in Alice Springs, as well as many furloughed pilots.

Sadly, the Morrison Government seems more concerned about supplying its big business mates with cheap migrant workers than looking after actual Australians abandoned to their pandemic fates.

The whole situation is a bloody outrage.

Unconventional Economist
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Comments

  1. Lord DudleyMEMBER

    The average Australian doesn’t care, and if they do hear about it, they’ll blame the stranded Australians for “not coming back early when they were told to”, or “going on holiday and expecting MY tax dollars to bail them out”. I’ve heard both of these.

    Don’t be upset with the politicians. They’re just doing what the electorate wants in this case.

    • You’re running a restaurant that is almost full, only a few empty seats remain. There came a few more customers. Meanwhile, a few of your employees who came back from their delivery duties want to use the empty seats to take a break. Nah, you guys stay on your feet and serve the new customers. They bring in money, you guys don’t. Oh, by the way, I heard that your house prices keep going up. That should give you guys a good shot in the arms.

    • Even StevenMEMBER

      I care, but I want consideration of their circumstances to dictate level of support provided. Indeed, I don’t believe tax payers should have to pay for those who didn’t want to return from their holidays. I hardly think that’s unreasonable.

      Conversely I am entirely comfortable for generous tax payer support for those who are stuck on compassionate grounds or due to work reasons.

      • Frank DrebinMEMBER

        Wouldn’t have thought it was that hard to organise – every citizen who sticks their hand up gets one repatriation flight which they have to cover the cost of.

        You aren’t a citizen then you don’t get on the plane.

        Might require Qantas to get off its @ss and help out though. The tagline “Spirit of Australia” has never been more apt.

        • I’d clarify that in regards to dual citizens.

          If you are a dual UK / Australian citizen then we might organise a flight if you are in Indonesia, but not if you are in London.

          Same with a dual Indian / Australian citizen “stuck” in India. You are also a citizen there.

          To Lord Dudley – one of the problems is that when most people read “Australians” stuck overseas they also wonder if they are Australians or merely Australian passport holders. Did you see how many “Australians” were in Beirut when that fertiliser port blew up! Let’s not worry about wasting Australian taxpayer funds when they are resident in a country they also have citizenship of.

      • This is not really that hard. Say there are 10k stranded Aussies in Europe. Govt charters 30 flights from Europe, user pays. Hard to imagine this could be more than $3k per seat, but happy to be challenged on that. Quarantine is in demountables in remote areas. Again, user pays. Nobody is asking for this to be subsidised. (That’s just a convenient cop out for Little Ozzers who are secretly quite pleased to see people more adventurous than themselves suffer.) The quite reasonable expectation is that a govt would step in to address a catastrophic market failure whereby airlines are not able to profitably offer seats to stranded Aussies at reasonable prices. Isn’t that what governments are for?

        • Even StevenMEMBER

          Yep – sensible for the Govt organising charter flights, sending the details of the charter flight to a mailing list of Australians in each country who have registered they wish to return. Minimal cost to taxpayers, reasonable cost to returning Australians.

          Presumed this type of approach is already happening. Are we sure it’s not? I wonder if some are people holidaying in Marseille complaining that the flight the Australian Govt has organised is departing from Paris and it’s just “too hard” to get there or “I’m having my hair done at the salon on that day”. Tongue in cheek, but you get my drift I’m sure.

          • Its not happening. I have to deal with sick family in Oz but stuck in UK. cost is circa $15K+++ return as forced to go business class. Then wait 6 months for a seat. Also I might not be allowed to get back. Im sure the Murdoch press will program the idiot class with the right “one size fits all” opinion re why people shouldn’t get home and say little about the LNP undermining citizens in favour of corporate petty wants.

  2. Read somewhere most of the stranded were indians.
    They can stay with their death stare grannies.

    • TailorTrashMEMBER

      Would be interesting to know how many of these Australians got their passports in the last 5 years
      There are lots of Australian passport holders around the world holding them as an escape route . When things go to custard call up the embassy and demand a plane

      • Does Australia have a time-limit on how long “permanent residents” can be out of the country before losing that status?
        If I’m out of the US for more than 180 days then I lose my green card and that was a major component of my decision last year to stay here since I’ll be eligible to apply for citizenship in a few months.

    • working class hamMEMBER

      So much this. The only preference shown is towards cash. If you don’t have the cash to be an Australian or on the flip side be a slave for an Australian we don’t want you.

      • As they say, cash is the king. Anyways, you’ve got to admire their transparent honesty, which has been rare in the world of politics.

  3. Property is supposed to be booming because of all the returning Aussies. Is that true or not?

    • It is certainly true for the *right* postcodes, and that is why Aussies with serious amounts of money, that is, who can make positive contributions to the perpetual housing boom, have been rightfully given preferential treatments. The right kind of people, in reusa’s words.

  4. So I was right to blame the states for mass immigration. Sanctuary cities.

    This is just like the gas gouge. No gas reservation, no job reservation, and no quarantine reservation.

  5. Yeah but, non-citizens are energetic and vibrant, they create businesses and boost jobs. Citizens, what good are they?

    Labor should be going in much harder on this. But they’re still walking both sides of the street on immigration.

    • Arthur Schopenhauer

      They only ever walk on one side of the street. The same side as the LNP on this issue.

    • Labor have not yet woken up to the fact that most modern immigrants vote in favour of their money and property way ahead of quality of life, real opportunity across the board for all or other issues that build a high quality, equitable society.

  6. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    “they have abandoned their most sacred responsibility to look after the welfare of Australians.”

    Their sacred responsibility to themselves seem to be as strong as ever though.
    Ya gotta give em that.

    • Arthur Schopenhauer

      For Ermo:

      ‘The New Class War’, Michael Lind
      https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/607661/the-new-class-war-by-michael-lind/

      Chases the same themes as John Ralston Saul’s “Voltaire’s Bastards”, but less wonky. Managerial Class vs the General Populace.

      Go a long way to explain the cynical position of our politics.

      See link to ‘The Age’ story below for a contemporary example of management vs production playing out with WFH.

      PS Do you listen to Audiobooks while on the job Ermo?

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        Almost finished Gore Vidal’s Burr.
        Its my 7th Audio Book and I only started my Audible account in January.
        Ha ha,… it’d Normally take me a couple of years to get through 7 books!

    • peterbruceMEMBER

      Ermo, I could never understand why Whitlam did not blame CIA etc in his accounts of the dismissal. I only learnt of it in the movie, Falcon and the Snowman in the eighties, which led me on to further research.

    • Ritualised Forms

      The simple fact of the matter is that those Citizens of Australia who have been stranded offshore have been outrageously treated. And outrageously treated for the shabbiest of politics by their own government. They are effectively being treated as second class citizens, and they are effectively being held to ransom for the tourism and ponzi dependent sectors of the Australian economy.

      I speak of those who are citizens and have Australian passports – regardless of whether they have another or not – as opposed to those who simply have Australian visas. The simple fact of the matter is that those who have Australian citizenship and Australian passports are not broken down into Australian citizenship or passport class 1 or class 2. They are Australian citizens and Australian passport holders and they are all equal. Australian governments and Australian embassy and consular officials should have a responsibility to support such people and to assist them where those people require it.

      If there are issues with Australian citizens and Passport holders also being the citizens and passport holders of other countries, then those issues should be addressed before those people are given Australian citizenship and Australian passports. I certainly agree that there may be issues which should be addressed, and certainly think that far greater establishment of the bona fides under which people apply for and are given Australian citizenship may, in some circumstances, be appropriate.

      The ‘Special Investor Visas’ are an absolute disgrace and it would appear that the circumstances behind these are one source of dismissal about the need to bring stranded Australians home. The other major source of dismissal is the fairly open encouragement of a class of Australians over the years since circa 2005, who desire either legal protections in a homeland other than Australia by sheltering behind an Australian passport, or who desire for mainly economic reasons to bring other family members to Australia, often to utilise Australian social welfare supports. Questions about the motivations for people to seek Australian citizenship certainly do exist, but that should not mean that those who have Australian citizenship should be treated as second class citizens, and it certainly does not excuse the appalling treatment of Australians by Australian governments and consular officials.

      The real reason why the treatment is a disgrace is because the ‘model’ behind the treatment is a model known in the public services as ‘service delivery’ – it is about being cheap, and it is about marginalising those who seek to access any service or support. It is about denying them scope to press their needs, about channeling them through substandard processes with ill trained and ill informed people in the hope that those people will simply drop their claim for support. It is manifestly obvious to anyone accessing services through Human Services, MediCare, the DVA and elsewhere. And it is about a level of generally very well rewarded psychopaths in the upper echelons of the public services who interpret ‘public service’ as not doing anything the Minister or the Minister’s office doesnt want, in the context of Australian Ministers, certainly since 2013, but arguably much much longer, not wanting to provide any service and wanting to make any service they do provide as niggardly as possible and as difficult to access as possible, with as much trauma as possible for those seeking the support as possible.

      When we look the other way on Stranded Australians, we are in fact giving our government what it thinks is an OK to look the other way on a whole heap of issues which revolve around blame apportionment and cactus insert style ‘service delivery’ designed to traumatise those seeking support.

      • Even StevenMEMBER

        Agree with many of your comments. You miss one major category of people: those Australians who were overseas at the time, received warnings from the Australian government to return immediately, but did not do so. The level of support I advocate to individuals “stuck” overseas depends very much upon the REASON they did not return. There are a myriad of reasons, some reasonable, some not.

        Bottom line: If they had reasonable opportunity to return and did not do so, it’s on them.

        What I don’t have any clue about is what proportion deserve support and what proportion don’t. So ascertaining that is step one. The Government should have completed this process by now. If not, that’s rather pathetic and the Government is deserving of scorn.

    • Hilarious. The wait list for psychologists for actual mental health problems is currently ridiculous, patients are telling me that waiting lists are exceeding 6 months for an initial consult. This is probably down to the increased number of subsidised appointments, but I wouldn’t be surprised if financial stress/end of jobkeeper etc is having a role to play too.

  7. > What is abundantly clear is that politicians at all levels and all persuasions have abandoned Australian citizens in favour of foreign nationals.

    Australia is the land of Mateship and looking after your fellow brother. Its time to bring em home.

    While we are at it, if Julian Assange is guilty then so be it but he should be serving time in Australias Prisons… and not left to rot in a foreign Jail. Prisoner Exchange? He belongs in Australia. Bring the man home.

    Australian Woman might want Feminism but when the “Chaos” comes, who will those Woman look to when they are all being [email protected] murdered and Australia turns to hell? It’ll be the men of Australia.

    Aussie men arent the Misogynists of Australia. They are Australias Sons of Hero’s. This disrespect Australia shows its men is disgraceful. We watch Aussie Men die and just look the other way. Disgraceful.

    • Straya is not Australia once was. Australia was still on the right path as recent as in the late 1990s – trying to diversify its economy from the primary industries. Sure, Australia was financially poorer back then – and a second-hand car commanded a dearer price than a brand new car in the US.

      Then the great mining boom hit. It is said that nothing sedates rationality like large doses of effortless money. How true it is.

      • The vast majority of people I know dont give a rats about politics. NSW and VIC are another Country. They couldnt care less about the goings on in Parliament or have any interest at all. The last place you’ll find them is sitting on MB ( like me ) being a rancid little tit. They’ve got better things to do.

        I think the only reason people even care about politics at all is because suddenly, they’ve discovered they cant live life anymore. Everything they once had which allowed them to ‘Live Life’ is being taken away from them and for reasons they cant fathom, its all due to Canberra. Meanwhile, we’ve got Boomers strutting there stuff as they walk around Australia saying, ” We built this Country. We own it. You young whipper snappers have no place. “.

        I was walking along the footpath and the depth of Boomer arrogance is astounding. The courteous thing to do is move left so you dont walk into each other. This Boomer just kept walking straight without a care in the world because ” That young sh*t will get out of my way and I dont have to move “. Guess what? I didnt move. I kept walking. We rammed each other and boy was he salty. This idiot turns and starts his usual Baby Boomer crap, ” Get out of the way you idiot. I built this Country. Im entitled and get anything I damn well want. “.

        Most blokes I know arent Misogynists, [email protected] or any of that garbage. They are just boring, uninteresting aussies who probably dont shower as often as they should. That being the case, they are just men. Most of them dont even know what the word Misogyny means ( nor do they care ).

        My fear is that while the rest of Australia has divorced itself from the boring mundane stupidity that goes on in Politics ( when Aussies walk away it means Politicians get to keep there Salarys ), we are literally seeing Canberra declare war on all of Australia. There’s no words I can use to say that any better, ” Canberra has declared War on Australia “.

        The fact Scott Morrison hasnt been assassinated by some Suicidal Australian who saw no future to there life and decides to take one for the team, is astounding. I wake up each and everyday reading the papers to wonder, just when will someone take this guy down. Not only would it make National News but I doubt any Australian would even blink an eye.

        Leith is right. Canberra is no longer working for the Country, it has turned into its own MAFIA hit squad with politicians protecting there own self-interests against the bequest of the entire Australian Nation. Canberra is our ” Enemy “.

        Personally, I see Baby Boomers and the Chinese as the greatest threat to Australia since World War 2.

        Sooner or later, in order for Young Aussies to ” Live Life “, they are going to have to start taking these people down or suicide either way. Run a up a street with a match and set every single house you see on fire. If going on strike doesnt get Australias attention then what will it take?

        • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

          “The vast majority of people I know dont give a rats about politics.”

          Well for Democracy to be able to deliver what ever the fk “the people” want, then the people need to pay attention to whats going on and participate in the process.
          As so often in life, when people complain about this and that, they have only themselves to blame.
          Being a half decent citizen, worthy of respect, within a Democratic Nation state requires individuals to do more than just endlessly obsess over satisfying their consumer desires and their “need” to be constantly entertained by professional sports, celebrity spectacle, gambling and the like.
          Maybe your mates are just lazy fks Mathias.

  8. I escaped Australia several years ago. It was like moving into another planet. Like I was absolved from hell and entered heaven. Never looked back. The only ties I have are family members. I’m 38 and the country that I was born in and my ancestors arrived to in the 1850s is a lost cause. The future is very grim. The country runs on everyone (yes everyone) being employed (getting income) by some level of government. The gov’s plastic currency will continue to be valuable so long as China finds value in the iron ore and that is all there is to it. Everything else (real estate, massage parlours, nail polish shops ,gyms, personal trainers, and so on and so on) is just a result of China valuing the red dirt still.

        • Thanks.
          If it is Russia I think maybe you have made a viable choice.
          If it is a former Eastern Block country that has joined the EU then I’m not sure.
          It won’t be long before the ECB have them bow down to their tyrannical masters.
          All countries need to borrow nowadays, and it will come with strings attached.
          But good on you and wishing you good luck.

  9. But, as I’ve said here before… When China stops wanting the strayan dirt, Australia does have a very prosperous future based on real estate and the rich citizens of the world retiring there and the development (destruction) of all the coast. I’m not a real estate agent and I don’t care for it. Nor am I a tradie. Education has already gone to poop in straya, Not the place I’d want my kids or grand kids to grow up in.

    • > Not the place I’d want my kids or grand kids to grow up in.

      I can understand why.

      I wish I wasnt as Aussie as I was to have such an Australian attachment… but your right about everything you say. At some point, the people are going to have to bring ” War ” to the Government or watch there brothers suicide… yet again.

      Canberra can throw Tampons at us. Im pretty sure Feminism wont save them.

      Australian Woman can hide behind there Baby Boomers.

      • F-ism and “diversity” and PCness have gone to extreme structural and societal irrationality and destructiveness in Australia and it is actually a dangerous place for white males to live. People are very slowly starting to realise this. I would only place NZ as a distant second extreme and near Australia in that regard – Australia being the most extreme on the planet. A contributing factor of my reasons to leave.

        • My mates died here. I can see myself dying here ;p

          There’s plenty of time inbetween.

          I’ve had people in Australia tell me I dont belong here and should just leave. I’ve seen a Government betray its own citizens.

          I walk around Australia like I was born here. I walk around like I belong here. One thing I will never be is afraid to walk around in my own Home because some moron in Canberra decided to grab some easy cash on there way out.

          • Sounds good. Just don’t ever have a divorce or a need to go to a family court or be accused by a female of anything lest it be of a sexual nature (hearsay from female parties can and will be used as incriminating evidence against white males in all Australian courts). Have fun but be careful!

  10. drsmithyMEMBER

    Former foreign minister Alexander Downer labeled the situation an “outrage” last week and has backed the stranded Aussies claims to the UNHCR on the basis that the Morrison Government has violated its convention that “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country”.

    This is the same Alexander Downer that has basically told the UNHCR to get fvcked when challenged about Australia’s less than stellar human rights records on Aboriginals and refugees.

  11. My sister is 1 of them, she was in Botswana at the start of the pandemic, then moved to the UK, but can’t get home as she cannot afford the quarantine costs on top of flight costs etc.. so she’s working in the UK (thankfully she has an Irish passport as do I).

      • I don’t think so, but even if she did costs is a barrier given her income from Africa. I believe she’s found work in the UK now. But minimum wage.

    • Even StevenMEMBER

      Gavin: why did she not return to Australia when the Government provided its instructions to Australians overseas to urgently return?

  12. Ive known that the borders have been open for some time. Where we are you cant hide it.
    You hear on the news that the borders are closed just before you go into the supermarket and immediately think “pigs arse they are”. The ponzi has barely skipped a beat.

  13. The return laggards are likely to have a higher incidence of Covid-19 and will require significant investment in quarantine facilities. How many of the Aussies are living in India, which now has the virus running rampant. What percentage of the 35K are in India?
    We should allow any of those who were living back in India or wherever to return, but they will need to stand up for the cost and they will need very careful handling to avoid bringing the virus back into Australia.