Australian government urged to enlist air force to rescue citizens stranded overseas

Source: Xinhua| 2020-09-16 14:27:03|Editor: huaxia

CANBERRA, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The leader of Australia's Opposition has called for the nation's air force to be deployed to bring home thousands of Australians stranded overseas.

Anthony Albanese, the leader of the Labor Party, said on Tuesday that the Royal Australian Air Force's fleet of VIP jets should be dispatched to bring Australians home "100 at a time".

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) earlier in September revealed that about 23,000 Australian citizens were stranded overseas after a government cap on international arrivals caused a reduce in flights to the country.

Albanese told reporters that the fleet of VIP jets -- which are usually reserved for the PM, foreign dignitaries and the Governor-General -- was "sitting idle" with "nothing to stop" them from being used.

"There are two large aircraft, but there are other smaller aircraft available as well," he said.

"It is simply unacceptable that the Prime Minister continues to say that there's nothing he can do about it and he hopes to have these families home by Christmas.

"Well, I think those who are desperate to get home should be brought home in September."

Labor's Home Affairs spokesperson, Kristina Keneally, recently called for the cap on international arrivals to be lifted from the current limit of 4000 per week.

In response, Peter Dutton, the Minister for Home Affairs, said that the number of people who could arrive in Australia per week was dependent on how many arrivals states could take into hotel quarantine. Enditem