Australians locked out of Australia
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I left Australia on 13 Feb for Europe. No restrictions or warning about travel to this region at that time. In March a "come home" advice was issued by the Australian government on their web site. No SMS messages or emails sent by airlines or government as happens say if a flight will run 10 minutes late, or there is a typhoon or other event that will affect travel. It was instead assumed by the government that all the people overseas would be reading various government websites multiple times every day just in case a message was issued (they posted a "sorry the notification system is not working at this time message"). I am sure some people did not see the message at all. I was however on my computer and did see the messages as did thousands of people. Many dropped everything and rushed to airports to sleep on the floor for 1 or 2 days just in case a ticket could be obtained. Dangerous in a time of pandemic. Some got lucky and got on a flight. Many got turned away. From a newspaper article I have seen that the airlines are saying that number turned away is 100,000 Australian citizens that have been purchasing tickets but not got onto a flight. I had a ticket for April and at that time I was told it would run in May. That was not convenient but it did not seem too much delay but by May and all of June we had lockdowns, roadblocks and airport closures here. It was illegal to travel to the airport from my location during that time. The advise from Australian government was that I should comply with local laws. I spoke with the airlines and was told the airport was being opened on July 2 but the flights on that day were already full and i could get a ticket for July 3. I got a ticket. Unknowns to me however the Australia federal government decided that April, May and June was "plenty of time" to return. This decision did not take into account any restrictions that were in place by the governments in other parts of the world but it justified them putting a cap on how many people they would let into Australia. Those 100,000 people who had booked flights would now have to come back at a pace of 3,000 per week. That would be about 8 months to get everyone back except that the government officials are apparently still flying back and forth when they wish so that is taking up some of that quota, and they are also wanting to bring the fee paying Asian students back in so that will take further places away from Australians trying to return. The trouble with all this is that the government is not being open. They are not telling people that they will not be able to get home for 6 months or 12 months. They are instead continuing to tell people to book a flight home. So people book a flight, give up their safe accommodation and maybe even get to the airport - only to be turned away and then need to find somewhere and somehow to live for an unknown amount of time. Some Australians are apparently living in cars, or caravans or unsafe hotels with little money even for food with no idea of when they might actually get on to a flight they have booked. Many have become, or soon will become, illegal migrants in the countries they are in.
If you feel that the Australian government should not discard 100,000 Australian lives in this way please write to your local politicians and ask either for the cap to exclude Australians who have been trying to return for many months - or they assist people to obtain legal status in the country where they are stranded until Australia decides it will no longer lock them out
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