Stranded travellers wait at Manilla Airport. Sunshine Coast resident Lawrence Russell (not pictured) says the government is not doing enough to get Australians home from the Philippines.
Stranded travellers wait at Manilla Airport. Sunshine Coast resident Lawrence Russell (not pictured) says the government is not doing enough to get Australians home from the Philippines.

Desperation worsens as Aussies left stranded abroad

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

I am asking the Prime Minister to step down for failing to look after the people of Australia.

Here is the truth behind stranded tourists in the Philippines and no doubt the rest of the world.

I believe the Australian Government has broken the Australian constitutions and discriminated against Australians stranded abroad.

The government is basically blaming people arriving home for the virus.

As we are all aware the virus started in China.

The government has stopped flights in case the virus is spread by people returning from overseas.

In January I contacted Queensland Health to ask about the risk of flying with the airconditioning circulating units.

The reply from Queensland Health said there was no evidence of risk.

If this is the case, why stop flights returning?

The cap on people returning from overseas is between 30 and 50 a day.

Does the Prime Minister think an airline will just carry 30 to 50 people from overseas?

Is this a deliberate attempt to stop Australians coming home and telling their story to the press?

My wife and I travelled to Davao to see family in February.

Unexpectedly our airline cancelled our flights in May after the Philippines Government closed the country with little notice during the month of March.

Since March, we have been on tight restrictions in Davao, with the public only being allowed to go for medical supplies or shopping three times a week.

Two weeks ago, I tried to book another flight with Philippines Airlines for August 3.

After the airline took our cash, they announced no flights until November and cancelled the ticket.

Today, they are showing flights in October, but we cannot afford to pay for a third booking when we are still waiting for a refund for flights in May and August.

The airlines are claiming it can take up to five months to obtain a refund.

Some people have had their flights cancelled with two hours' notice and been left to fend for themselves.

The Australian Government has put Australians abroad in severe financial hardship.

The Smart Traveller register is useless.

It gives no advice for Philippines and today they informed us not to travel to Nicaragua, Serbia, and Russia.

What is the use of that information stranded tourist cannot even leave the Philippines?

The Manila Embassy ambassador just enjoys doing videos to the people, rather than giving stranded Australian people proper advice of what the government is doing to get us home.

The Smart Traveller advice did not even inform us that Philippines Airlines was taking bookings for August, we found that information ourself.

The sweeper flights were booked here within 30 minutes and no one had a chance with first come, first served.

So far, the airlines seem to be taking people's cash and delaying refunds.

People just have not got the cash to keep paying for a ticket and finding out the flight has been cancelled.

We currently pay $430 rent on the Sunshine Coast each week, plus power and water. We also must pay here.

No doubt by December, my wife and I will homeless in Australia.

Prior to December, I was awarded damages for an injury in work.

Under Queensland rules I do not qualify for any Centrelink until February next year.

I have no job now and my wife works casual as a cleaner.

Due to her being on a 820 temporary visa she does not qualify for Centrelink either.

Under Queensland rules you get nothing for your injury, stress, or loss of job when you look at it in a whole picture.

We are renting a room here about 10m x 10m in size.

We have a fridge and a TV but hardly any exercise for me due to government restrictions on going out.

I am disgusted by politicians claiming tourists had enough time to leave.

This is totally untrue, and they have not experienced the situation for themselves to comment.

The Philippines might be one of the poorest Asian countries, but they certainly know how to look after their people and get them home.

The Prime Minister is keen to help people from Hong Kong but wants to keep Australian residents and citizens away.

The Prime Minister's priorities seem to be back to front from where the stranded tourists see it.

A second wave of payments for people on benefits will not win votes for the government.

The cash would be better invested in finding a cure and getting people home to Australia.

Delaying people returning will only make the virus drag out longer in Australia.

The government has failed in its efforts to make Victoria safe.

Blaming people returning from overseas for the virus is total and utterly wrong.

The Australian Government is putting everyone at risk by keeping its people overseas.

The Prime Minister said we are all in this together.

If so, why are people stranded overseas and at risk because the Australian Government has failed to offer financial help or to get people home from overseas.

The Prime Minister not only owes the Australian public an apology, he needs to apologise for suggesting to the public everyone stranded had plenty of time to get home.

He needs to say sorry to the stranded people and offer them compensation.

Where is his evidence everyone had a chance to return home?

He has no evidence because he was not stuck in all the countries with all the world leaders' rules.

I am sure stranded people around the world would agree with this statement.

The Prime Minister should step aside for failing to protect Australians, whether within Australia or abroad.

I am keen to get home, as I need to be checked for early signs of liver cancer.

The government has not only left me with medical issues, but thousands of other people stranded also need to get home.

LAWRENCE RUSSELL, Sunshine Coast


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