In the ultimate insult, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has thanked the 40,000-plus Australians stranded overseas for their sacrifice:
In a video message to an awards ceremony held by a global network for Australian expats, Advance.org, Mr Morrison said they had carried a “very heavy burden” over the past year and a half.
“I know for Australians overseas, it has been a very difficult and frustrating time,” he said.
“It’s tough, living through a pandemic, and being separated from your family, and that’s brought its own heartbreak.
“Life’s moments missed that you will never get back. Zoom can’t do justice to these moments”…
“I also want you to know that these strong border controls though have been instrumental in saving over 30,000 lives here in Australia. Because on a per capita basis, that’s the lives that would have been lost if our death rate was just the same as the average of OECD nations,” he said.
“Your sacrifices have made that happen. You have saved lives by enduring and going through those difficulties.
“So thank you, I do appreciate it. And your fellow Australians do also.”
Many of these abandoned Australians have been unable to return due to hard caps on quarantine places as well as the extortionate cost and lack of availability of flights.
Those citizens that have made it home have been slugged $10,000 each for flights as well as $3,000 for their quarantine stays.
Even Australia’s former Foreign Affairs Minister, Alexander Downer, labelled the treatment of abandoned Australians an “outrage” and backed their claims to the UNHCR 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, while Aussies have been stranded abroad, the federal government has:
- Facilitated the entry of thousands of migrant fruit pickers, with their quarantine costs subsidised by Australian taxpayers;
- Granted entry to nearly 15,000 foreign millionaires under the controversial business innovation and investment visa schemes; and
- The federal government’s skilled migration committee recommend “the Government reserve places on flights and in quarantine for skilled migrants”.
The Morrison Government could have chartered flights whenever it wanted to bring Australians home. After all, there are oodles of idle airplanes parked near Alice Springs:
Instead, it chose to let Aussies rot overseas unable to return home due to quarantine/flight caps and exorbitant costs.
The fact that the Morrison Government has also prioritised temporary visa holders over actual Australian citizens desperate to return home is an outright disgrace and shows the corruption flowing through it.
It abandoned its most sacred duty to look after the welfare of Australians.