Kevin Rudd criticises Scott Morrison's 'broken promise' to get stranded Australians home by Christmas

His criticism comes after Mr Morrison was forced to apologise for wrongly claiming in parliament Mr Rudd had left and returned to Australia during the pandemic.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has spoken out about the failure to return Australians stranded overseas home before Christmas.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has spoken out about the failure to return Australians stranded overseas home before Christmas. Source: AAP

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd says Scott Morrison has broken a promise by failing to return stranded Australians wanting to fly home by Christmas. 

His criticism comes after Mr Morrison was forced to apologise for wrongly claiming in parliament Mr Rudd had left and returned to Australia during the pandemic. 

There are more than 36,000 Australians stranded overseas who wish to come home. Mr Morrison in September said he wanted “as many people home if not all by Christmas”. 

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Mr Rudd told SBS News he was more worried about the government’s failure to return Australians than Mr Morrison being "sloppy with the facts".

“Look where there is a will there is a way,” he said.

“Beyond it being a broken promise - it's simply this - these 40,000 people need help, they’re our family … they want to be home for Christmas.

“That’s what's the important question here - not whether I get slagged off in parliament.”

Mr Morrison targeted Mr Rudd following a question in parliament on Monday from deputy Labor leader Richard Marles.

Mr Marles had asked why former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott and former Liberal foreign minister Alexander Downer had been able to leave and re-enter Australia multiple times this year.  

After Mr Morrison said “Mr Rudd had done the same thing”, he later wrote to the clerk of the House to correct the record and went on to apologise in parliament. 

“I am happy to apologise to Mr Rudd,” he told parliament on Wednesday.  

Caps on hotel quarantine arrangements have slowed the return of Australians who are stuck abroad.

But Mr Rudd said Mr Morrison had failed to put in place the flight and quarantine arrangements to deliver on his commitment.

He suggested if all other Australians were Tony Abbott or Alexander Downer more effort would have been made to return them home. 

“You can manage this. You can do it in a practical way and you can put in place," he said. 


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By Tom Stayner