The Morrison Government must urgently deliver a coordinated, national response to the cruise ship situation to safely support the thousands of people currently on cruise ships in Australian waters.
We acknowledge the work of the New South Wales and Western Australian Governments who are seeking to resolve situations off their coasts.
But Prime Minister Scott Morrison cannot push this issue onto State Governments that have multiple other responsibilities during this crisis.
Only the Commonwealth has the capacity to deliver the required national response as it controls our borders, our biosecurity responsibilities, and our management of diplomatic relationships.
The Federal Government is responsible for Australia’s border security, at seaports or airports, and must provide a solution to these problems, including assisting State Governments with medical assistance, quarantine and the transportation of passengers if required.
We have international obligations to assist people who need our help and the basic human rights of individual crew members and passengers must be respected.
The Morrison Government must show leadership and support cruise ships in Australian waters just as we trust and expect other countries will do the same for our citizens stranded overseas.
We need national consistency at our borders, which at present is sorely lacking.
Labor will be constructive and supportive, but we will speak up if things look like they are going off track. This is a national crisis and, above all, we want the Government to get the policy right.
With Shadow Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Kristina Keneally.