Nuclear Tanks Could Have Been a Disaster For Enemies… And Drivers


Here’s What You Need to Remember: Maintenance would have been interesting, too. Pity the poor mechanics at the depot, or the recovery crews, who have to fix or tow a damaged tank leaking radioactive fuel and spitting out radioactive particles. Bombing a tank repair shop wouldn’t just disrupt maintenance: it would create a contaminated zone.

In the 1950s, America was enthralled by the atom. There were plans for atomic-powered cars, atomic-powered aircraft and atomic-powered spaceships.

So why not an atomic-powered tank?

Even by the standards of the 1950s, with its visions of Jetsons-style technology, the Chrysler TV-8 was strange. Almost monstrous, like some mutated mushroom creature out of a 1980s post-apocalyptic nuclear horror flick.

Chrysler’s design was essentially a giant pod-shaped turret mounted on a lightweight tank chassis, like a big head stuck on top a small body. The crew, weapons and power plant would have been housed in the turret, according to tank historian R.P. Hunnicut’s authoritative “A History of the Main American Battle Tank Vol. 2“.

The four-man vehicle would have weighed 25 tons, with the turret weighing 15 tons and the turret only 10. It would have been armed with a 90-millimeter T208 smoothbore cannon and three machine guns, including a remote-controlled .50-caliber operated by the tank commander. “Closed circuit television was provided to protect the crew from the flash of nuclear weapons and to increase the field of vision,” writes Hunnicut.

Various power plants were considered, including a Chrysler V-8 engine coupled to electric generators connected to the tracks, a gas-turbine electric drive,  a vapor-cycle power plant using fossil fuels, and finally a vapor-cycle power plant using nuclear fuel.

The turret and chassis were designed to be separated to enable both components to fit inside air transports. “The heavily armored inner turret was surrounded by a light outer shell that gave the turret its pod-like appearance,” Hunnicut writes. “This shell was watertight creating sufficient displacement to allow the vehicle to float. Propulsion in the water was by means of a waterjet pump installed in the bottom rear of the turret. The outer turret shell was of sufficient thickness to detonate shaped charge rounds and it acted as spaced armor to help protect the inner turret.”

The Army eventually rejected the idea by 1956, though it did promise that the “novel features” of the TV-8 would be used in future tanks.

In addition, at about the same time as the TV-8 was proposed, the Army also examined a concept for a nuclear-powered tank designated R-32, which was seen as a potential replacement for the M-48 Patton. The 50-ton tank — twice the weight of the TV-8 — would have been armed with the 90-millimeter T208, and propelled by a nuclear power plant that created heat to drive a turbine engine. The range of the vehicle would have more than 4,000 miles.

“Obviously, such a tank would have been extremely expensive and the radiation hazard would have required crew changes at periodic intervals,” Hunnicut notes.

This is an understatement, to put it mildly. The logistics of a nuclear-powered main battle tank would have been stupendous. True, like a nuclear-powered warship, a nuclear tank wouldn’t need constant refueling and vulnerable gasoline tankers. But it would need radioactive fuel sooner or later. And even a nuclear tank still needs ammunition, so it would still be tied to its supply lines.

Maintenance would have been interesting, too. Pity the poor mechanics at the depot, or the recovery crews, who have to fix or tow a damaged tank leaking radioactive fuel and spitting out radioactive particles. Bombing a tank repair shop wouldn’t just disrupt maintenance: it would create a contaminated zone.

On top of the usual dangers such as fire or explosion, crews in combat would have worried being irradiated if their tank was hit. U.S. nuclear regulators would almost certainly have insisted that tank crews, who would be sitting on top of an atomic reactor, receive nuclear materials and safety training, which would have eaten up time for regular training such as gunnery.

Perhaps most important, nuclear-powered tactical vehicles would make a mockery of nuclear non-proliferation. A fleet of atomic tanks in Europe during the Cold War would have meant hundreds or thousands of nuclear reactors spread out all over the place.

In the end, tanks wouldn’t have been the only mutants.

Michael Peck is a frequent contributor to the National Interest and is a regular writer for many outlets like WarIsBoring. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook. This article first appeared last year.

Image: Reuters.




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US, 13 Other Nations Concerned About WHO COVID Origins Report


The United States and 13 other nations issued a statement Tuesday raising “shared concerns” about the newly released World Health Organization report on the origins of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The statement, released on the U.S. State Department website, as well as the other signatories, said it was essential to express concerns that the international expert study on the source of the virus was significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples.

The WHO formally released its report earlier Tuesday, saying while the report presents a comprehensive review of available data, “we have not yet found the source of the virus.” The team reported difficulties in accessing raw data, among other issues, during its visit to the city of Wuhan, China, earlier this year.

The researchers also had been forced to wait days before receiving final permission by the Chinese government to enter Wuhan.

The joint statement by the U.S. and others went on to say, “scientific missions like these should be able to do their work under conditions that produce independent and objective recommendations and findings.” The nations expressed their concerns in the hope of laying “a pathway to a timely, transparent, evidence-based process for the next phase of this study as well as for the next health crises.”

Along with the U.S., the statement was signed by the governments of Australia, Britain, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, South Korea, and Slovenia.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday further study and more data are needed to confirm if the virus was spread to humans through the food chain or through wild or farmed animals.

Tedros said that while the team has concluded that a laboratory leak is the least likely hypothesis, the matter requires further investigation.

WHO team leader Peter Ben Embarek told reporters Tuesday that it is “perfectly possible” COVID-19 cases were circulating as far back as November or October 2019 around Wuhan, earlier than has been documented regarding the spread of the virus.

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Brisbane's COVID-19 cluster grows, but authorities are optimistic




Queensland recorded two new community cases of COVID-19, as authorities decide whether to lift lockdown. Jessica Van Vonderen reports.

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Smoke from Sustainable Timber Tasmania planned burning risks tainting wine and beer, growers say


Wine and beer producers north of Hobart are pleading with authorities to stop planned forestry burns they say threaten their livelihoods — or do better in communicating that they are about to take place.

The complaints came after smoke from a planned regeneration burn in the Styx Valley, about two hours north-west of Hobart on Saturday, drifted over crops when the fire became out of control.

The state-owned forestry enterprise Sustainable Timber Tasmania said “gusty wind conditions” resulted in the fire escaping containment lines.

The fire is north-west of several vineyards — including Gerald Ellis’s Meadowbank Vineyard — and as of Thursday had burnt across over 130 hectares, with multiple aircraft involved in the firefighting effort.

Smoke from a planned burn rises into the sky near Maydena.(

Supplied

)

Mr Ellis has 50 hectares under vines and is watching the smoke haze nervously, concerned that winds will bring it close to the vineyards.

“We’re on the edge of the smoke and so it all depends on what happens over the next 24 hours, if it is controlled we’ll be fine, if it burns for the next three days we’ll be in trouble,” he said.

The vineyard owner has emailed Primary Industries Minister Guy Barnett to ask that all resources possible be thrown at the fire.

“Obviously our fruit, if we have smoke, sitting in the valley for three or four days it can cause potential smoke taint, in which case we’d have to reject our whole crop,” Mr Ellis said.

Peter Dredge is a winemaker in the same region and one of a number of producers who say the planned burns should not happen when crops are set to be harvested.

Mr Dredge said following the 2019 bushfires, “we’re very aware of it in the Derwent Valley”, adding producers in the Huon Valley, south of Hobart, were keenly aware after they “lost product [to bushfire smoke taint]”.

Mr Dredge said more should be done to notify producers of planned burns.

“When these controlled situations happen, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of communication going on,” he said.

On its website, Sustainable Timber Tasmania states it “notifies and engages with all immediate neighbours throughout the Planned Burning Program planning stage, prior to any burning”.

“This includes notifications to stakeholders who have registered their interest in particular planned burns and through agreed protocols with tourism and wine industries.

“We advise the public through daily media and Facebook notifications. We also publish our Planned Burning Program and daily information uploads to the What’s Burning Now? page at www.fire.tas.gov.au.”

Smoke rises over a wilderness landscape from forestry burn-offs in southern Tasmania.
Planned burn-offs are a regular occurrence in Tasmania in autumn.(

Supplied: Beth Heap

)

Mr Dredge is adamant the burns should not be happening at all.

“This time of year it’s inexcusable. Smoke can impede the quality of grapes, particularly after they’re fermented. I’m going to have to go down a series of protocols to test early grapes to see if we are at any risk of taint.”

Ashley Huntington has a craft beer brewery in the region and said, “five of the last six days we’ve been covered by smoke”.

He said visitors to his brewery fled the premises on the weekend when smoke closed in.

“On Saturday, my entire clientele left, we had visibility down to a kilometre. People had been sitting down enjoying a spectacular day.

“We called triple-0 because I hadn’t seen smoke like this since January 2019.

Fire-fighters near smoky bushland.
Sustainable Timber Tasmania fire-fighters working at a fire site.(

Sustainable Timber Tasmania

)

The brewer is also calling on Sustainable Timbers Tasmania to rethink its burning program.

“I don’t think it should happen in early March, full stop, it’s dangerous.

“If they have to do it could they wait until harvest is over and tourists numbers are down a bit.”

He added he would like to see better communication to those affected.

Farmer Charles Downie has a 20-hectare vineyard about 2 kilometres south of Meadowbank as the crow flies.

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He said he could smell smoke around his vineyard over the weekend. Today, his wife alerted him to the fact that a controlled burn had leapt containment lines.

“Personally, I would prefer there weren’t any forestry burns in March or April, however I do appreciate from their perspective it’s the best time to burn.

“I just hope they are deploying extra people and more machinery to make sure it’s contained and put out.”

Mr Downie said he would be “really nervous if we get a south-easterly and no wind for a couple of days”.

A helicopter flies near smoke from a Tasmanian bushfire
Bushfires burnt across huge areas of Tasmania in 2019.(

ABC News

)

In a statement, Sustainable Timber Tasmania said it was “currently managing a fire in the Styx Valley”.

“The fire originated from a planned regeneration burn conducted on Saturday that crossed containment lines on Wednesday due to gusty wind conditions onsite.

“Prior to yesterday [Wednesday], monitoring of the planned burn had confirmed that the original containment lines had been effective.

“The current fire size is 130 hectares. A smoke alert has been issued around New Norfolk, Bushy Park, Westerway and Gretna as there may be visible smoke and ash from this fire.”

Sustainable Timber Tasmania said, “fire crews, heavy plant and helicopters are onsite to establish and restrict the fire to new containment lines”.

“An operational review will be undertaken by Sustainable Timber Tasmania to understand and learn from the burn.”

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EXPLAINED: NSW’s first COVID case from hen’s party


UPDATE 12.45pm: 

A locally-acquired NSW case of COVID-19 has been recorded in connection with a Byron Bay hen’s party cluster.

Until 11.30am today (Wednesday), nine cases were associated with the cluster, all of them in Queensland. 

But the NSW Government has since confirmed a man in his 20s, who is in Northern NSW, became infected with the UK strain of the virus.

He was at the Byron Beach Hotel on Friday evening, at the same time as the hen’s party.

“That person did attend the same time, at the same venue, as the hen’s party,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

“The good news is the person did take our advice and got tested and has been in isolation.”

Ms Berejiklian said the NSW Health team have been able to respond quickly to the situation because of the mandatory use of QR codes.

 

>> New restrictions for four NSW locations, Bluesfest in doubt

>> CONFIRMED: infectious man visited popular Ballina pub

>> 800 Northern NSW residents get tested for COVID

>> Thousands vaccinated and more than 100 GPs ready for jabs

Henry Rous Tavern posted this advice on their Facebook page on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 after it was revealed a positive case attended the pub while unknowingly infectious with COVID-19.

Henry Rous Tavern posted this advice on their Facebook page on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 after it was revealed a positive case attended the pub while unknowingly infectious with COVID-19.

 

She said the NSW case did the right thing.

He did not know he was infectious at the time he visited two Ballina venues. 

“They checked in, they co-operated,” she said.

Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the man “sat in proximity to the travellers from Queensland who were infectious at the time”.

“Three of those friends (of his) have already been tested and were negative,” Dr Chant said.

Dr Chant said it was possible for more casual contact venues to be added to the NSW Health list as they obtain more information from infected people. 

“If you attended those, please immediately self-isolate and get a test,” she said.

She said people who had signed in at Ballina’s Henry Rous Tavern about the same time as the infected man on Sunday received a text message from NSW Health about 9pm Tuesday.

With Easter approaching, Dr Chant encouraged people to enjoy the sunshine in outdoor environments where possible, to reduce the risk of transmission.

Ms Berejiklian said restrictions announced for four Northern NSW local government areas – in force from 5pm Wednesday – was a “proportionate response”. 

“This is to ensure we keep the state open … however in those four LGAs … we’re asking people to take those extra precautions,” she said.

“This means that businesses can still remain open people can move around.

“We think this is very much a proportionate response.”

She said they weren’t explicitly asking people not to travel to the region for Easter. 

“We’re just saying if you choose to go, you’ll be subject to these extra restrictions,” she said.

“What the intention is of these restrictions is to avoid a super-spreading event.

“It’s not that you can’t go there, just be careful. Make sure you’re extra-cautious.”

 

Earlier:

There are now nine COVID-19 cases in a cluster linked to a Byron Bay hen’s party.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young have delivered their latest statistics for confirmed cases within the case.

Dr Young said there were two locally-acquired cases confirmed overnight, both linked to the Byron Bay cluster.

The first diagnosis in the cluster was a PA Hospital nurse who travelled to Byron among a hen’s party of ten people.

She is understood to have contracted the virus from a returned traveller from India at the hospital.

Her sister and six other partygoers had also contracted the virus by Tuesday, as well as a Queensland tradie who worked as an entertainer at the party.

Including the entertainer, there were 11 people at the party in total.

BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA – NewsWire Photos March 30, 2021: The Farm at Byron Bay is closed for business after a recent COVID-19 scare. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Scott Powick

BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA – NewsWire Photos March 30, 2021: The Farm at Byron Bay is closed for business after a recent COVID-19 scare. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Scott Powick

 

Dr Young said two separate, suspected cases which were under investigation on Tuesday were now ruled out as those people did not have COVID-19.

The two new cases include a second PA Hospital nurse and another person who lives in the same household, although Dr Young said only the nurse’s infection had genome sequencing confirm a link to the Byron cluster.

She had received her first dose of a COVID vaccination on March 19, prior to working a shift on the COVID ward, Dr Young said.

“We’re now working through whether this second nurse in that cluster acquired it on the ward,” Dr Young said.

She said this second nurse received asymptomatic testing because of her work on the ward.

BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA – NewsWire Photos March 30, 2021: An empty Byron Beach Hotel in Byron Bay after a recent COVID-19 scare. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Scott Powick

BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA – NewsWire Photos March 30, 2021: An empty Byron Beach Hotel in Byron Bay after a recent COVID-19 scare. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Scott Powick

 

Significantly, she said this and Queensland’s other current cluster had the highly-infectious UK strain of the virus.

She said it was “very encouraging” all new cases were linked to known clusters.

She said positive cases in hospital included two on the Gold Coast, one in Toowoomba and one in Bundaberg.

The NSW government has not yet confirmed whether there have been any new cases south of the border in the past 24 hours.

Dr Young said the first infected nurse should “be commended” because she “immediately came forward and got tested” after she first developed symptoms about 11am on Sunday, March 28.

Her result came back the same day.



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Victoria expects dry times ahead, opts to keep its desal plant running | North Queensland Register


The Victorian government is forecasting “drier conditions ahead” for the state.

Despite above average rain across much of the state last year, and good totals already so far this year, the southern state is preparing for the rains to stop.

The government is ordering a further 125 gigalitres from its controversial $3.5 billion desalination plant in Gippsland to secure Melbourne’s water supply.

Acting Water Minister Richard Wynne said he considered current water storage conditions, projected water demands, future climate conditions, risk of system spill and the balance between securing supply and keeping bills stable.

Melbourne has 10 water storages but the key reservoir is the Thomson and Upper Yarra.

The Thomson makes up more than half of the city’s storage capacity and is at 72 per cent capacity.

Overall, the storages are at a healthy 72.3 per cent.

Building of Victoria’s desalination plant started in 2009 when the Thomson was down to 16.5pc in the Millennium Drought but by the time it was finished, storages were up to 81pc and the plant was immediately mothballed.

MORE READING: They’re dingoes not wild dogs, say scientists.

Since 2016, the government has placed annual orders from the plant of about 125 gigalitres – it is able to produce 150-200 gigalitres a year.

Sydney also has a desal plant which was switched again during the recent floods to produce clean, drinking water. The government is considering increasing its size.

Queensland has one as does Adelaide and Perth.

More than 300 gigalitres of desalinated water has been produced and delivered to the Melbourne system since 2016.

Without these orders, the government says water storages would be about 15pc lower.

“High rainfall in key catchments since the last order has helped boost Melbourne’s water storages to 72 per cent – which has reduced the water order from the previously forecast 150 gigalitres to 125 gigalitres,” Mr Wynne said.

“With predicted drier conditions ahead and the underlying trend of declining storage levels, this order will help build a storage buffer to prepare Victoria for drier years to come.”

At the ABARE conference earlier this year, meteorologists produced an analysis of weather which historically follows the current La Nina saying there would likely be one very dry year in the next four years.

The government said the desalination plant is becoming more and more critical to Victoria’s water security with average rainfall continuing to fall and demand outstripping rainfall by more than 70 gigalitres a year.

The government says this gap is set to grow by another 10 gigalitres each year as the population grows and the climate continues to dry.

Mr Wynne said: “We need to build a buffer to make sure storages don’t reach critically low levels. Desal makes sure we can do that without water restrictions.”

“We are using more water and demand is outstripping supply. The desal plant makes up the difference, ensuring we have enough water to meet growing demand.”

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Royal Australian Airforce celebrates 100 years



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AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

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Covid confusion reigns supreme | Alice Springs News


By JULIUS DENNIS

Domestic travel, a key part of the Northern Territory’s economic rebound from Covid-19, was again cast in the shadow of confusion yesterday morning.

As Queensland Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk announced that Brisbane would be going into a three-day lockdown effective at 5pm, my partner and I were at gate 44A of the Brisbane Domestic Terminal, about to board a flight to Adelaide before connecting to Alice Springs.

Our first flight was due to depart Brisbane at 8:20am NT time and our second to land in Alice at around 2:30pm.

To say that there was little information at the airport is an understatement.

No one knew what would happen when we landed in Adelaide, let alone whether we would get to the Territory or what would happen when we arrived.

The idea of a $2500 two week stay at the Todd Facility (pictured) hung over our heads as we boarded the plane.

Chatter of quarantine in Adelaide was spoken of loudly by a group of young cyclists returning from a Brisbane race.

“What will we do in the hotel?”

“Get fat.”

Others spoke of cancelled Easter plans.

Muffled through masks, it was spoken of as a certainty that we would be staying in hotels on arrival.

When the captain spoke over the PA system he did not have the usual air of authority.

“We do not know what will happen upon arrival, if you wish to get off the plane, you may.”

So without any more information to go off, we got off. The airline was kind enough to refund our flights as credit.

However, one can’t help but think that at this stage of a pandemic there should be protocols; known situations with known next steps.

The NT government didn’t put out a media release until 12:27pm. That said arrivals from Greater Brisbane and a range of other locations were still subject to get a test and self-quarantine until a negative result was returned, a procedure that had been established two days prior on the 27th of March.

Then at 4:29pm I received a media release via email stating that anyone entering the Territory by plane after 4:30pm (one minute later) would have to quarantine at a facility, presumably at their own cost.

If entering by road after 4:30pm but before 11:29pm, quarantine would still be mandatory, but not at the travellers cost.

So would we have made it with the first restrictions of test and wait? Probably.

Could we have known whether that was the case while sitting on the tarmac in Brisbane? Absolutely not.

What is the role of the Federal Government in this mess at this stage?

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State MP’s staffer charged over child abuse material


An adviser to a state MP has had his employment terminated after being charged with child abuse-related offences.

Ben Waters, 38, faced Adelaide Magistrates Court on Wednesday after being charged along with another man whose identity has been suppressed.

Their alleged offending came to light after links were made to previous investigations, including one involving a man in Victoria.

In a statement, Labor MP and opposition human services spokeswoman Nat Cook said she was shocked to learn of the charges against her staff member.

“As soon as I was made aware of the charges, I took immediate action and advised the Department of Treasury and Finance and requested that his employment be immediately terminated and that all access to buildings and IT be blocked,” she said.

“I also advised the Labor Party who I understand held an emergency state executive meeting this morning and expelled this person as a member.”

Waters is charged with one count of producing child abuse material through a carriage service and four counts of possessing child exploitation material.

The other man, a 37-year-old from Port Lincoln, has been charged with two counts of producing child exploitation material, one count of indecent filming and with possessing and disseminating exploitation material.

The Australian Federal Police said the allegations stemmed from records of online conversations between a 39-year-old SA man and a 27-year-old Victorian man about the sexual abuse of children.

When Victorian investigators arrested the Melbourne man earlier this year and forensically analysed his devices, they allegedly found links to the two SA men.

The AFP said investigators found a large amount of child abuse material on a USB device when they searched the Adelaide man’s home this week.

“Police are working to identify the children in the vision seized from the warrants, to check on their welfare and remove them from harm,” the AFP said in a statement.

“Inquiries are also ongoing into any other potential offending.”

Waters has been remanded to appear in court again in April while the other man will next appear in the Supreme Court in a bid to have his suppression order continued.

– AAP

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Stranded Australians have filed legal action with the UN against the Morrison government

Stranded Australians have filed legal action with the UN against the Morrison government

Stranded Australians have filed legal action against the federal government in the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee in Geneva.

The group of Australians declared the Morrison government has “arbitrarily breached their right to return to the land of their birth or citizenship”, noting they were willing to comply with the public health measures required of them, including a 14-day quarantine period.

They said the caps on incoming flights prevented them from returning home.

Geoffrey Robertson QC, who has advised the petitioners, said: “International law recognises the strong bond between individuals and their homeland and no respectable government would impose travel caps to prevent, for over a year, its citizens from returning if they are prepared to do quarantine.

“Both our political parties have, in the past, done what they can to help Australians overseas but Mr Morrison is behaving as if in a moral vacuum – he does not seem to care very much about the suffering caused to fellow Australians.”

The initiative was started by a group called ‘StrandedAussies.org’, which includes volunteers who have been impacted by the flight caps.

Spokesperson Deborah Tellis described the petitioners as “a group of ordinary Aussies who have been left high and dry by an unfeeling government”.

“The government is responsible for quarantine and has a duty to allow its citizens to return and enter into it – it should force the states to admit us and provide for them to increase their quarantine facilities. What it must not do is to breach international law.

“The damage it is doing to many stranded Australians is terrible – they are unable to get back to see dying parents or sick relatives, unable to return to take up jobs or start university courses. By going to the UN, we hope to highlight what an unfeeling government Mr Morrison heads.”

In December last year, Mr Morrison told reporters he intended to get “as many people as possible home, if not all of them, by Christmas”.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt likewise said “we want to ensure that every Australian who wants to come home is home by Christmas”.

Almost 500,000 Australians have returned home since the pandemic began, but more than 36,000 Australians remain stranded overseas due to government-enforced travel caps.

A total of 4,860 of the 36,206 Australian overseas registered to return home have been described as vulnerable, according to figures released to the Senate from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) last week.

SBS News has contacted DFAT for comment.

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