By Neeraj Nanda
MELBOURNE, 14 May 2021: The Australian Labor Party (ALP) commenting on India stuck Australians, wants the Scott Morrison government to have quarantine facilities for returning Australians across the country. It also expressed concern at the plight of 173 unaccompanied minors in India awaiting return to Australia.
Labor leaders Antony Albanese, Leader of the opposition, Senator Penny Wong, Leader of Opposition in the Senate, and Labor MP Michelle Rowland today interacted and answered questions on the issue in a webinar organized and conducted by Amar Singh of Turbans4Australia, Sydney.
Answering a question, Antony Albanese emphasized it was ‘commonsense’ to expect the Australian government to facilitate the return of stranded Australians in India and the creation of appropriate quarantine facilities across the country for the same. And some of these could be in Avalon and regional areas. I feel for the frustration of the people.
Penny Wong said, ” We understand the situation and the need for more flights with safe quarantine facilities. And, we will keep advocating for this.
I asked the question of vaccinating those coming in flights, but was told the government had no such plan,. This I feel is regrettable.”
Antony Albanese said, ” The government is slow in vaccinating even in Australia.”
The question of unaccompanied children came up in the webinar. Antony Albanese said, ” We will raise this issue with the government to change its policy of only a near family member can accompany them.
It’s heartbreaking for these children and families in the current situation.”
On a question by SAT as to why not other airlines apart from Qantas be used in the repatriation flights, Mr. Albanese said, ” The aircraft can’t be left just standing ideal which could make them unusable. Hence the job was given to Qantas.”
Michelle Rowland told the participants, ” Do not feel alone.”
Many of the participants were from other countries apart from Australia. Many specific visa issues were raised. Penny Wong asked those affected to email her to raise the issues with the Government.