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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Albo says PM plane should bring home Aussies

Opposition leader, Anthony Albanese is this morning continuing to call for the Federal Government to bring home Australians stranded overseas using RAAF aircraft.

In an ABC Radio interview, Mr Albanese said it was the Government’s responsibility to do so.

“Well, look, it’s the commonwealth’s responsibility to look after our national borders, but it’s also the commonwealth’s responsibility on quarantine.”

“What we’ve had through this so-called national cabinet that isn’t national and no longer looks anything like a cabinet is the prime minister handing off these core responsibilities to the states and then being critical of the states.”

Mr Albanese said the Prime Minister should look to his own resources to facilitiate returnees.

“It seems to me that the only thing that’s lacking here is national leadership.”

“Scott Morrison is in a position to do so, and that’s underlined by the fact that he does have access to RAAF aircraft and in terms of those aircraft, of course, one of the things that will be occurring is that the RAAF personnel have to get their hours up. They will be flying around empty.”

Mr Albanese said the PM could dispatch a fleet of Royal Australia Air Force VIP jets to bring stranded Australians home “100 at a time”.

Around 23,000 Australian citizens remain overseas due to border closures and a lack of availability of international flights.

Mr Albanese said Mr Morrison should dispatch the VIP aircraft – usually reserved for transporting the PM, the Governor-General, and visiting dignitaries – to help bring stranded Australians home.

He said the RAAF fleet was “sitting idle” and there was “nothing to stop those planes being utilised”.

Named ‘Shark One’ after the PM’s beloved NRL team, the Cronulla Sharks, the PM’s $250 million KC30-A tanker was previously a Qantas and Jetstar commercial A330.

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