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PM ‘blames’ Aussies abroad for struggle to return home

written by Adam Thorn | August 26, 2020
Qatar Airways Airbus A380 A7-APE at Sydney Airport. (Qatar Airways)
Qatar Airways Airbus A380 A7-APE at Sydney Airport. (Qatar Airways)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has written a personal letter to Australians stranded abroad that appears to blame them for their struggles to return home.

He said the unique nature of the crisis is “why I asked Australians to return home on March 17, 2020” and defended the international arrival caps as “frustrating” but “essential” to protect the country.

The restrictions limiting the number of Australians who could fly home at any one time were first introduced in July to regulate the flow of people arriving into government quarantine facilities and were extended again last Friday.


The correspondence was sent to Aussies who had contacted him to complain about the country’s cap, which many have blamed for driving up prices and reducing availability.

The PM wrote, “Thank you for contacting me about the difficulties you are facing in returning home to Australia.

“These are difficult days for our country. The COVID-19 pandemic is a once in a hundred years event – an international health crisis.

“It is why I asked Australians to return home on March 17, 2020. At the time, DFAT expressly warned of the difficulties, noting that travel was becoming ‘more complex and difficult’.


“As an island continent, control of our borders has been a means by which we have kept Australian safe.

“We are also dealing with an evolving situation. In view of recent outbreaks, we have put measures in place to help manage the pressure on quarantine facilities, including caps on international arrivals.

“I recognise these measures are frustrating, but they are essential to continue the success that Australia has achieved so far in minimising domestic spread of the pandemic.

“Flexibility remains with these caps to as much as possible minimise disruptions to returning Australian citizens and permanent residents.”

He then advised those abroad to find a safe place to stay, follow local rules and keep in contact with Australian embassies.

Recipients of the letter, reports Daily Mail Australia, have taken to social media to complain about the “heartless” and “ignorant” response. Many abroad argue they were only recently made redundant, or have struggled to get flights for months.

Separately, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Wednesday that four Coalition MPs have raised the issue of the cap at a meeting in Canberra. The newspaper says those complaining included Victorian Liberal MP Tim Wilson and NSW MPs Trent Zimmerman and Dave Sharma.

“One in three Australians was born overseas,” Sharma said later. “There are usually 1 million Australians working, studying or travelling overseas at any given time.

“The health risks of this pandemic are serious and we need to take prudent steps at our borders to defend against this but we also need to allow Australians to come and go.”

The restrictions were introduced at the start of July to ease pressure on the country’s government isolation facilities after some blamed apparent breaches in Victoria for causing a second wave of cases.

The move has attracted criticism because it has reportedly led to airlines prioritising business class passengers – thereby hugely inflating the cost and availability of tickets.

Currently, all Australian citizens, permanent and dual nationals, are banned from leaving the country, and only citizens and permanent residents can arrive.

When the cap was first introduced, the Prime Minister said there would always be “capacity” for people to return home.

“There will be continuing access to Australia but the number of available positions on flights will be less and I don’t think that is surprising or unreasonable in the circumstances,” PM Morrison said.

Then last Friday, announcing the extension of the cap system, PM Morrison claimed 4,000 Australians are still returning every week and hinted Melbourne could soon restart its own program.

“We acknowledge that some of them are in some difficult circumstances. Our consular teams are doing a great job to help them in those circumstances, and we’ll be doing more to help them in those circumstances and to assist them to get home,” the PM said.

It’s currently thought that as many as 18,000 Australian residents are no longer in the country but hoping to return.

The current limits are:

  • Melbourne – no international passenger arrivals;
  • Sydney – 350 passenger arrivals per day;
  • Perth – 525 passenger arrivals per week;
  • Brisbane –500 passenger arrivals per week; and
  • Adelaide – 500 passenger arrivals per week.

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  • Ron Lambert


    Do not open melbourne int again until dec. We need to clean up the mess here. Dont need int pax with covid arriving starting this nightmare again.

  • Arif khan


    Simple maths, less than 20000 australian stranded overseas. If the cap is 4000 a week than it will take mex 5 weeks to get home. If you contact any international airline so they don’t have any ticket to any state of Australia until end of October which is more than 10 weeks. What is wrong????

  • Patrickk


    Arif there is the small matter of a cap on each flight thus limiting them to business class. I suspect the government may send rescue flights with QF A333s and quarantine people at the mining camp they used outside of Darwin for the earlier rescue flights.

  • Jeremy


    Because your simple maths is missing the fact all those flights for 10 weeks are booked out. So there’s already 40,000 Aussies booked home in the next 10 weeks. There’s an additional 18,000 ON TOP of that who need to travel.
    That also only accounts for people who actually registered. The actual figure will be higher.

  • Alison


    The 18,800 number is clearly wrong or all Australians would be able to get home within 5 weeks and planes wouldn’t be booked out until November. With 1 million overseas for work or study and the majority of those already returned being tourists, how many are actually overseas wanting to come home? I daresay the number is much higher than 18,800.

  • A.Almeida


    Hi Mr Prime Minister this is ridiculous, because there are no places/tickets in the planes. Are we ready to accept more Australians per day? Of course we have got capacity to receive more people. Just unblock barriersyour Government is creating.. we can cope with 5oo people a day where companies must reserve 40% for business and 60% for normal passengers. Governments Stop doing mistakes. Thx

  • Lee


    Funny how it has become “heartless” to tell people they are responsible for their own decisions.

  • Peter Matthews


    Our population has more than its fair share of idiots. We were warned 7 months ago to get back to Australia and even at that time flights were being cancelled, changed and warnings were out there about the future. People had the choice to return and chose not to, only themselves to blame. Returning travellers seem to be the people that have made up majority of new CV cases. I just think Australians are getting dumber as time goes on

  • Andrew Grey


    As an Australian overseas now for 9 months, family in Australia, Morrison is correct, i/we assessed the options and made a decision. No sour grapes here.

  • JP


    CV-19 is here to stay. And by that I mean everywhere. Stop trying to contain it, that horse has bolted. We need to get the economy firing again with realistic plans and goals to reopen all borders to business and leisure. We are an island that is NOT self-sufficient so we need to interact with the rest of the world to fund our lifestyle and the wages of our government. To protect those at risk and perceived risk, the rest of us need to work. It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

  • Barry Strawn


    I find it hard to empathise with travellers especially if they left Australia after 20th March. Like many of us we had to make tough decisions to change travel plans due to the government warning to prevent not being able to return home. My question to the people currently overseas, why should you put the people that have done the right thing at risk because of your poor decision making? The letter from the PM is not heartless as it states the facts by reinforcing that decisions have consequences.

  • Ben


    I think he meant 4000 want to return every week… clearly the math there in the caps doesn’t equal 4000.

    But people need to think a little outside the box. Everyone is looking at international airlines, this is a perfect time to consider a corporate jet. Expecially for families considering what ticket prices are right now. It’s also safer from a COVID perspective compared to being jammed in a tube with random people. You might find that the price is ball park similar and unlike an airline they are unlikely to cancel.

  • Herbie Fletcher


    Fully support the Australian Government on this one. It was made quite clear at the time that DFAT were advising Australians to return home.

  • Patrickk


    Arif the issue is that the cap basically man business class tickets. Why can’t the government support qantas to a weekly A333 run to the UK and US and quarantine people in the mining camp out of darwin or Christmas Island they used earlier . There may also be other underutilized mining camps or defence facilities that could be opened.

  • Paul Robson


    One of the problems for stranded Australians as I understand it, is that the airlines operating into Australia with limited capacity because of the caps, are maximising loads in business class.
    So you make a booking in economy class weeks in advance, then close to departure the airline cancels your booking, as it has picked up business class.

  • Luke


    Why are you scared of death? Have you not lived your life? To travel and connect with this world is fundamental to our species survival – forget economies.

  • Tom


    The Australians trying to get home are newly unemployed, returning to support sick or dying family or ill themselves. How is the fault of stranded citizens? Given flights are full it also means any Australians trying to exit for the same compassionate grounds now cannot return. It also means ALL government approved essential business travel Cannot return. The airlines have NO seats to sell. A complete lack of understanding by the PM

  • Greg


    It’s hypocrisy to ask States to open their borders, and praise NSW for its “open borders” policy, then to allow rich and prominent Australians to leave the country to pick up luxury yachts and take up jobs in London, but refuse to allow those with dying relatives to leave the country, and refuse to resource hotel quarantine adequately to cater for returning travellers. We should temporarily lift returnee numbers for Australian citizens and families of Australian citizens only, they must test negative to COVID-19 before boarding and submit to supervised 14 day hotel quarantine and testing every 5 days at their own expense.

  • Stevo


    People who left their return too late are upset they have to pay more for airfares and pay for quarantine.
    They were warned. Many, many times.
    They should have returned when there was cheaper flights and free quarantine.
    No sympathy.

  • Phil



  • Didn't choose


    Not everyone “chose” to stay abroad – many have had multiple flight cancellations stretching out months. Many had employment contracts to see out. I know of people who have been waiting since February for the Australian government to issue their newborn with recognition as an Australian citizen and a passport, so they are allowed to return home with them. Sure, those who were holidaying in Bali could get home quickly – great for them. But I don’t think you should presume to speak for everyone’s circumstances.

    Are there any other countries in the world where the government is actively making it more difficult for their citizens to return home in this way? Instead of finger-pointing and blame games, maybe the state governments could focus on increasing capacity in an efficient and safe quarantine system, with appropriate infection-control practices this time. After all, aren’t we looking to rebuild the economy? Currently, Aussies abroad are pouring money into foreign-owned airlines in the form of business class tickets, and weeks/months at foreign hotels while we wait for a window to get home, instead of creating jobs and contributing to the economy in Australia. Seems to me like the poorest “decisions” have been made on Australian shores.

  • Allan


    I’m sorry – It’s not as easy as that! My wife and I are in Singapore and want to return to Australia – We have to 2 small dogs (we will not leave them behind) that have to be quarantined in Australia’s only quarantine facility in Melbourne as the Government of the day Shut down the Sydney and Perth facilities, even though they were warned at the time its was dangerous to so. I know of several families like ours who are waiting till Melbourne reopens to be able to return to Australia with their pets. As far as Melbourne’s Covid19 problems, you only have to look at Singapore on how to handle things, they’ve had thousands of passengers arrive, quarantined for 14 days all passengers tested twice while in quarantine and they were guarded by the army and the police, no problem.

  • Nicholas


    His comments just reflect reality.

    We are struggling to find enough adequate hotels to manage the current isolation requirements and home isolation has been proven to have issues.

  • Linda Weaving


    I hate Morrison but I believe his response in this instance is perfectly reasonable. People overseas should show a little more understanding & a little less selfishness. Especially those in high risk areas like the USA.

  • Nick Jones


    I don’t think the Governments position in having a cap is unreasonable but it is certainly causing airlines to force people to buy business class tickets in order to guarantee a seat on a flight. Perhaps the government could look at offering financial assistance or zero interest loans to those in real need. They also need to ensure that compassion and common sense is used for compassionate cases for example those that are returning to sick or dying relatives etc. Quarantine is still essential though at this time.

  • Neville Norman


    Hi Scomo, no doubt these are not your words but of your ADVISORS who have no concept of what is happening in the real word. I am ADVISED because I have lived in the the real world and overseas in the period February to mid July 2020. I was lucky and was able to secure a flight when flight caps were limited to 50 passengers. It was a nerve wracking period as a result of many cancelled flights during this time. Perhaps you Mr Prime Minister and your advisors should be taken to one of the Philippine outer islands of which there are over 9000 and left there with instructions that you must return to Auistralia. Lets see how you do it. And by the way you are not to contact AU Embassy in Manila as they cannot offer any assistance just like they did to us. Best of luck!!!!!!

  • Steve


    I would just like to have the choice to leave and not be treated like a prisoner and an idiot. There are idiots out there, but the majority will do the right thing. Prime minister, you are becoming a dictator!

  • Marum


    Boo hoo! I wanted to go to SE Asia later this year. Now I will have to put it off till next year. I have even been learning the language of where I intend to go.

    It’s all Scott Morrison’s fault! I demand compensation! WAWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

    Hissss….Marum Katze.

  • Peter


    These selfish irresponsible so called Australians are unable to understand how serious this is. Whenever flights arrive the infected rise. Hence Victorias problem. I say let them stay where they are until Vaccine found.
    They were warned. .

  • Kalpana Giri


    Hi sir,what about the temporary visa holder who have been stuck offshore.I don’t think government is showing any concerns about it,who have got job,house and family in australia.

  • David


    How about we swap lives at the moment and we’ll see how you feel then – It is obvious not one of the people posting her are in this situation – Some really ignorant comments. For those who say we should’ve have come home, then think about this – Leave job, pay for removal, come home, sit at home unemployed on jobseeker (thats really clever)- or Stay as we were advised to do, or for many couldn’t travel due to the lockdowns in the country they were in. Then when things opened up – Australia closed down. There are thousands, and I would suggest the 18000 is the tip of the iceberg, who have had changed circumstances. Many are now redundant, no visa, living in their cars or on the street because they can’t get a flight home.
    The caps have nothing to do with room availability – there are thousands of empty rooms in every city – it is about controlling the population because every state has a different agenda. They caps achieve nothing. The State premiers have more power than the PM.
    As for those that say overseas people bring the virus in – who cares – the border doesn’t start when they arrive – it starts after 14 days or when virus free later. So it is a non issue and you are becoming Chicken Little here.
    And what on earth are people talking about by sending people to mining camps or an island – we are citizens of this country ! Not lepers. Most have gone through far tougher lockdown periods than anywhere in Australia. Even Melbourne now is nothing like many parts of what the world have done. They have done the hard yards and understand what is needed, the problem is the locals in Australia who can’t seem to get their facts right, act out of ignorance or who think they know better.

  • EQS


    I am surprised to see BNE taking in as much arrivals as ADL – as the third biggest city – and leaving SYD to take a massive load during a time when MEL needs to avoid the arrivals. Or is this perhaps like everything in QLD being extra precautionary of any Quarantine slip-ups that would make the government look bad coming to an Election? There’s always a shifty political reason behind these plans and the QLD government has stood out like this during 2020.

  • Pra


    Okay so due to health issues my partner went to India for delivery. On 29th Feb, we got a baby boy. then how are we supposed to fly on 17th March? we got all Aussie passport and all sorted out on June 15. People are different and situations are different Mr Morrison. Lockdown is not the only solution and those who stuck outside or inside country are facing financial hardship.
    people getting jobseeker job keeper, we are paying still working without these benefits. Why we not getting any benefit to be treated well and get Govt help to let us in. CAP is making Airliner running only with Business class + Quarantine cost. People are paying 10s of thousands of dollars for families to come back.

    Keep the cap but give per flight more passengers so people can get the Economy class.

    Good Luck

  • Mike


    Like all political statements it does not cover ALL of the facts. The Aus Government advice he quoted has also been selectively edited. The actual DFAT advice also contained the statement ‘If you don’t need to return stay where you are!’
    Many expat workers followed this advice but due to the impact of Covid on the world economy have subsequently found themselves unemployed ie they now need to relocate when before they did not. At no time have they not followed formal Government advice. What this means is they are now being penalised for following the Governments advice as due to change in circumstances they now need to return to Australia.
    Additionally there is a very limited number of seats allowed per flight whatever the available Class of travel is. The comment writers quoting simple division are performing flawed calculations as they do not acknowledge this when determining the number of citizens that could be returned weekly as there is a significant drop in the number of flights into Australia thus the number of seats available.
    As long as any Australian Citizen can not regain entry as they wish there should be no exceptions made for non-citizens (students or otherwise). Doing anything different is denying what is a fundamental right of citizenship.

  • Rod


    Some comments here are missing a vital point. Not every Australian overseas is on holidays. Many like myself are working, have moved families and established a life. This life does not include a permanent residency however, many of my collegues have recently been made redundant and lost their right to this residency and are required to leave.. They have to return home to Australia. So did the PM expect every Australans to resign from their overseas jobs pack up a family and return home to no job? Do some maths and work out the Jobseeker bill to welfare that would have created. It is a sad reflection of modern Australian culture that the country is content to leave some of its citizens behind.

    • Moana


      Rod, you chosed to lived overseas. Now, you want to come back….

      • Ali


        Which they are perfectly entitled to do.

  • Chris


    I never had the choice to return when COVID hit.

    I left Australia for a work contract 3 years ago. Under Malaysian law, all those with work passes must get clearance from the government that tax etc has been paid. If immigration determine that you are trying to leave the country without this (ie with one way ticket etc), then you are liable for 6 months imprisonment.

    We started the process to return to Australia in NOVEMBER. When the lockdowns came, the government closed down as well, meaning that clearance was not able to be obtained until late July. The Malaysian government has extended our visa until 14 Sep, after which we face arrest and detention, and have indicated that no visa extension is likely.

    Now, tell me exactly how we should have broken local laws to comply with the PM’s advice, and now he wont let us in. What are we to do? We cant flee to a third country, we have no visa or citizenship of anywhere other than Australia.

    TLDR: If we tried to leave in March, we could have gone to Malaysian jail. Now there are no flights, no visa and a possibility of arrest.

  • Richard


    There are many aspects to consider when making these decisions. From my personal point of view, I have being and international airline pilot based overseas with my young family for over six years. As COVID unfolded and the majority of the aviation industry ground to a halt some of us were lucky enough to retain employment and even somewhat privileged to fly the empty skies. With the odd aircraft passing and the occasional radio chatter Airspace like India and Europe where now peaceful and quite sky’s to fly. With the importance of medical and protective equipment needed around the world, myself and many others, would do five week stints of self isolation from our families to do our job and deliver these much needed items. From quarantined hotel room to company transport to aircraft to destination to destination hotel room and return to do it all again. After five weeks and maybe a few days at home you would repeat. We did what was needed and personally I did it to retain an income for my family and to provide and protect in these uncertain times. Saying no or calling sick would land you out of a job with nothing to go to. As COVID continues I have now been made redundant and looking to return home with my family. Australia is a beautiful country with a system that works. Many parts of the world are failed states due to high level corruption, so we must all be proud. COVID is what it is and we must be greatful for what we have and treasure our families. My family and many others like us are in this situation and now attempting to return home to Australia and our families. Fingers crossed the flights continue as planned and some relief is coming.

  • Mark


    Most of these comments are so ignorant. In March; a lot of Australians abroad had jobs and were employed. Their families settled and had no idea; that Australia would embargo itself from the world. Now; many have lost their jobs and have no choice but to return. The caps are actually stopping Australians from returning to Australia. The “simple maths” only applies if the even spread of aussies returning want to go to the available locations. Unfortunately most are trying to get to sydney or Melbourne. So 350 per day; doesn’t go too far!

  • Mylene


    Heartless may be too harsh as it’s coming (I hope) from a good intention. I have family in Australia and would certainly want them to be protected. But for someone like myself trying to get home, I would expect something more constructive. For example, what can we do to get home without being at the mercy of an airline’s decisions? Perhaps, map out some plan to get included in the cap so that if we’re confirmed for a flight, there’s a better likelihood of it flying us home than the current reality of the opposite.

    The comments from people at home have been disheartening. I understand where they’re coming from, but what happened to “We’re in this together”? It’s time to stop demonising people who are trying to go home. We’re NOT here to deliberately contract the coronavirus to transmit to you. It’s not just international arrivals who caused the second wave in Victoria after all.

  • Jeff


    Easy for all these stupid people to judge. I have been stranded here in the Philippines since March 17. I was about to return last April I but they cancelled all the flights here. How am I supposed to go back to Manila airport when I was stranded on the island? There is no flight, no ferries going to Manila. And when finally they open the borders, Melbourne close its border. Easy for people back in Australia to judge. Try to walk on our shoes so that you’ll understand what all the stranded Australians are going through. All lives matter. Whether you’re old, young and stranded!

  • Jeff


    You should walk with our shoes on so that you will understand what Stranded Australians are going through. Easy for you to say we were warned. How are we supposed to get home when we are stranded on an island, no flights, no boats

  • warren tuckett


    Hi Mr Morrison. Iam an Australian living overseas and I am quite happy to stay bere for now. Why would I want to come back and be locked in my house, my state or .y country and be subjected to martial if i disobey.
    What have you done to Australia?
    You would have had access to all of the best advice regarding the this flu. But you chose to follow the pandemic line. I don’t need to tell you the facts and the facts are backed up by the statistics which you would have seen. This covid is just another flu and more people die with flu each year than people who die with covid. Note i said with covid not from covid. Even Fauchi and Gates have stated this just an experiment. You used this to bring in Quantative Easing which means the Government or RBA can print as much money as they like. The Australian economy is now stuck with a $230 billion debt and you have trashed the economy for whatever weird idea you had.
    Enjoy Australia Iam happy where I am for now. I miss my family but thats my problem and I believe one day in the future I will be able to come back and see them

  • James


    After 5 years in the UK, last year we planned to return to Australia in May 2020. Obviously COVID made it difficult to sell our UK property to leave. It wasn’t a ‘choice’ to not come back in March.

    If we were ‘travellers’ we would have: 100%. But we are not travellers. We have a home and life we can’t just pack up and abandon.

    Others couldn’t travel back as they were pregnant, ill, had jobs to finish and other commitments such as relocating pets (very hard to do this year) and caring for relatives. Why is this so hard to understand?

    Some Australian’s lack of empathy for fellow Australians wanting to return home is really insular and sad.

    I’m glad I’m not one of them.

    Anyway, seeing my friends and family in Victoria all in harsh lockdown with a military-like government, living in fear at something that has been grossly over exaggerated, I’m glad I’m now not home in Victoria.

    I don’t recognise the place I use to call home.

  • Deane Shane


    We were warned many say, we COULD NOT RETURN as were were locked up where we were staying.



    I recall tens of thousands of people ignoring the PM’s advice not to travel and flying away. I recall tens of thousands of people scoffing at the PM when he advised Australia may not be able to help them return.
    Most people can only learn the hard way. No sympathy!

  • Julie


    This situation seems to bring out the worst in people. Fancy saying that the PM warned us to get back to Australia so those who did not only have themselves to blame if they did not return months ago. There are so many Australians who were not able to return at that time. Was my husband supposed to check himself out of the Coronary Care Unit in a hospital to jump on a plane back? The PM justifies the terrible situation of leaving Australians stranded by saying he is protecting Australia . Is that the Australian trees? The buildings? Maybe the Australian people? Aren’t the Australian people overseas also part of his Australia? Apparently not.

  • david allen


    We seem to be forgetting that there are no direct connections from everywhere to Australia. So having to transit through other countries is an added complication to getting home

  • Lee


    @ ALLAN if you want to make dogs just as important as humans, that’s your problem.

  • Kathryn Hamblin


    I see some really uneducated and unsympathetic comments on this feed.
    My husband had been stranded overseas since beginning of March in Portugal. He tried to get out when directed by PM, he could not get on the mercy flights as they were booked out, Portugal were one of the first to close there borders, airports closed and no flights out of the country. His ticket to leave on 18th March cancelled, he has since then had 15 tickets all booked and cancelled at the last minute. Portugal finally opened their borders in July so he could get out and then Australia closes there’s in July. The Australian Embassy in Portugal is useless and has not helped us one bit, telling us there is nothing they can do, they don’t get involved in flights we have to deal with the airlines it’s there fault.
    Our family has suffered financially and emotionally. My husband’s business is ruined, our our savings have been depleted we have no money left and I am a nurse working 6 days a week looking after the sick. I have 4 young children am barely surviving on one wage as the government does not give us any handouts. Please don’t sit there on your pedestals telling me I am selfish and that we had enough time to come home. We have exhausted every avenue to try to get home, whilst you sit at your keyboard in your comfy home getting money from the government.

  • Erin J


    Ridiculous! What if the country you were in didn’t have flights available? There were very limited embassy flights at the time from Dubai and all of them were full! Some people tried to stick it out and then lost their jobs. Even if everyone had of decided to return home they weren’t able to due to lock downs and cost of flights, even in March! Australia – the only country in the world not allowing their citizens to return home! Also hoteliers are losing money, so why not bring more quarantine partners on board to support the quarantine requirements? Disgusting.

  • Benjamin St Aubyn


    The 300 International Students arriving in Adelaide next month must have priority.


  • Zoe


    To all pro-border cap Australians, imagine you had moved your life over to another country and set everything up there – home, career, school for kids, pets, etc – but all of your extended family are still in Australia. COVID happens and you quite understandably want to be back with your family, but you simply cannot just up and leave your whole life to come home within the short timeframe Morrison allowed. You start preparing to leave but by the time you have everything sorted and are finally able to, flight and border caps prevent you.

    Or imagine you are an expat living overseas and when Morrison called you home you made the choice to stay in your residential country, where you had a career and a home and friends etc. but then something happened – maybe a family member in Australia got sick, or you lost your job and had no money and no access to centrelink like other unemployed Aussies. But because of flight and border caps you cannot get back, and even exceptions for compassionate circumstances are waitlisted. Imagine your desperation and the heartbreak of not being able to be close to your loved ones.

    These are two common situations for so called selfish Australians stranded overseas. Please have a little compassion and a little empathy.

  • Paul


    A few weeks ago my mum passed away unexpectedly in the Netherlands. I applied for a travel exemption and was given one by my government. When you apply for the exemption they want to know what your travel dates are and I would assume that if there is no hope for me to be able to return that I would not be given an exemption. As far as I am aware I did everything by the book – but here I am stuck in the Netherlands for at least 1.5 months longer than I planned after my ticket being cancelled twice now (first time 2 days before I was due to return). I knew about the $3k that I have to fork out to stay in quarantine when I return – I do not question this. What I do question is – why does the government first tell me that it is OK for me to travel and then not allow me to return?

    With regard to Business class passengers getting preference, there are also NO business class tickets for sale. When my return flight was cancelled the second time I have offered the airline to pay for a business class ticket but was told there simply is no capacity due to Oz Government restrictions.

    I do by the way believe it is possibly to safely shorten the quarantine from 14 to 8 – 10 days. Get returning travellers to take a Covid test by an approved lab no longer than 48 hours before their return flight. You must be certified negative to fly. Then do the quarantine for 8 – 10 days and test every 2 days. If you are still negative then the incubation period is well past and it should be safe to return home. A reduction of the quarantine period by 4 – 6 days would mean a huge increase in the number of people who can return home.

  • David H


    I am an Australian citizen living in Italy and fortunately have no urgent need to go “home”, however I know of people who are trying and have suffered because of these indiscriminate quarantines. Italy has introduced mandatory airport testing for arrivals from designated countries. Although inflating the figures for Rome, it is proving an effective strategy to prevent the spread of infection. Australia could put in a system of mandatory testing on arrival with those testing positive going into quarantine or care. Anybody travelling from here has to to a test 72 hours before then quarantine themselves until travel, and they are tested again in transit in Dubai or Dowa, so that would be three tests over the space of four days. This would be more cost effective and would allow people to move in an out while keeping the Australian population safe. It would also help keep various industries in Australia alive and people prevented from being laid off.

  • Peter B


    Spot on Lee
    Many people chose to go on vacation and visit family overseas when this pandemic started back in Feb/March. My wife and I were going overseas in early March and chose to cancel. Costing us quite alot. It was a responsible decision.. We knew, if we did get caught out overseas if flights were cancelled…….and they were ( and yes, the Aussie borders were closed too when we would have been out of the country) We’d be responsible for any costs….accommodation and airfares. Why should anyone else (The tax payer) pay for the cost of us getting home if we’d thrown caution to the wind and gone anyway, despite the pandemic like many did. There are some exceptional circumstances I understand. By and large though, many made an irresponsible decision that chose to be a wrong one and expect others to bail them out. (bring them home)

  • Sarah


    Wow – so many uneducated people making comments, doesn’t surprise me! Most of you commenting that we ‘should have come home when we were told’ obviously don’t know anyone living/effected or have lived overseas. So many people trying to get home since March, when ‘we were told’ but airlines keep cancelling flights or bumping people off flights because ScoMo’s caps. Airlines are taking the most expensive airfares to try and recoup some of their expenses (which makes sense for a business) and one way airfares are more than AUD$10,000 – not so affordable when you have 4 people in your family. I wouldn’t care where I quarantined, happy to do it in one of the many army bases and old refugee camps to get home – and I would assume lots of Aussie’s would do that to get home too. But seriously guys, educate yourself before you comment so stupidly and pretend you know what is going on, but you have no idea. Aussies are supposed to support each other in times like these, not make things worse.

  • Em


    Yes Scott Morrison on 17 March you said “come home, or if it is safe to do so, stay put.” We did the latter. We had jobs, housing, income (although reduced to 50% salary). Four months later we lost those jobs. Thankfully we were given 3 months notice which is giving us time to sort things out. But we’re running out of time! By the 10 Oct we loose our visas, housing, all income, all medical insurance. We need to come home! I’m 5 months pregnant and cannot give birth in the country we are in without medical insurance. If we could stay put we would, but it’s just not an option for us. Circumstances change!

  • Wendy joy


    My son has been in united states for a year. He has been able to book flights to return quite easily but feels ery comfortable there. Friends of friends have had Covid but all just had a mild cold with it fortunately. He has had open borders and was able to fly from LA to York to Las Vegas. He booked United Airlines to return tomorrow but decided to cancel and re book for next month instead. There has been no issue. Its around $1200 to return tomorrow but when he rescheduled he got a partial refund as the new flight was cheaper.

  • Linds


    Anyone born in this country, lived and worked in this country, paid tax in this country and who has no criminal history in this country or any other country SHOULD and MUST always have the preferential support of this country to return home in a crisis to this country. It should be enshrined in the Constitution. That’s not to say other Australian Citizens don’t also have a right to return. However some one at the “end of their working life who has just become an Australian Citizen last week at the local Mayors Ceremony and not paid Tax,” should be in line after others who have been born here and worked and contributed here. This rule should apply when determining who gets preferential return rights. In my view there should be a hierarchy of rights in this new world of Covid, anything less is appeasing the scumbag socialists in the Chinese Communist Party who inflicted this Pandemic and economic catastrophe on us in the first place.

  • Ashley


    Morrison’s ignorance knows no bounds, He doesn’t stop to think that it was impossible for a lot of Australians who are stranded in places like the Philippines, down in the provinces who were caught up in lockdowns in those areas, to get to the capital eg Manila, to get an international flight back… I guarantee if it was one of his family members, there would be no expense spared.

  • L mcCurtayne


    For Morrison, there is only one view on the matter, “His”, how can anyone make rock solid commitments to dates and times when the Air Travel industry won’t give you any guarantees or solid departure times and dates. Typical Liberal donkey.

  • L mcCurtayne


    For Morrison, there is only one view on the matter, “His”, how can anyone make rock solid commitments to dates and times when the Air Travel industry won’t give you any guarantees or solid departure times and dates. Typical Liberal donkey.

  • Anna Cullen


    I didn’t return “home” in March because my home is in East Africa. My husband, children, house, pets are all Kenyan. But I am and always will be Australian. My mother is terminally ill (as of August) and I cannot get to her because of the narrow mindedness of our privelaged nation. The rest of the world is functioning WITH covid. Australia is trying the NO COVID route at the expense of the lives of its citizens. The door has been closed to thousands of us.

  • Zion Laterre


    I am a born and raised Australian Citizen who has done nothing but contribute to our great county. I feel like i have been abandoned by my own Government and for you to say that Aussies have had plenty of chances to return home is just god damn arrogant of you. Do you know how many of us are struggling and stranded because of reasons that were and are out of our control?? I have been stuck in Manila Philippines for almost 6 months now and have booked with different airlines since July only to keep getting bumped off now 4 times, i have no job no income and my kids (11, 12yrs) are in desperate need of my return to care for them. Airlines keep blaming it on Aus Government and when i speak to Aus Gov. they blame it on the Airlines!! PM do your job and get us Australian Citizens home this is ridiculous, you keep saying its for the safety of Aussies well what about the safety and well being of your Aussies stuck overseas desperate to return home to family and loved ones. Put yourself for a second in our position? what would you do if your children were in danger and needed your care ASAP? you need to get us home we deserve that much for what I have done for my country, uplift the incoming flight restrictions ASAP we are begging you from one Aussie to another! Please i need to get back to my children and god forbid if something happens to them i will never forgive you or our government.. Please do something to return born Australian citizens home!!

  • GF


    If the Prime minister and his advisers pulled there heads out and Have a look at the way Hong Kong are handling returning residents , including expats, they could get every home as quick as the airlines could fill their planes. Here Quarantine processing takes place on arrival at the airport , which includes receiving a smart wristband and mandatory downloading of the “stay home safe “app. You are then bussed to a “quarantine hotel” for a 10 hour stay while COVID test is processed. If negative you grab a cab to your home were you must not leave for 14 days. $25000 fine and imprisonment for 6 months being the deterrent to go wandering. It works.

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