Entertainment While celebrities fly in, these Gold Coasters stranded overseas 'feel less Australian'
'Paraphrased' or verballed? Labor's claim about Scott Morrison and Wellcamp Airport misses the mark
Federal Labor politicians claim Scott Morrison rejected the idea of using Wellcamp Airport near Toowoomba as a quarantine facility because its runway isn't big enough for jets. But RMIT ABC Fact Check could find no record of the Prime Minister saying such a thing.You can read the latest edition below, and subscribe to have the next newsletter delivered straight to your inbox.
On the day she was supposed to get married last year, Michelle Doherty tested positive for COVID-19.
"Initially it was like being hit in the face," Michelle says.
"I'd walk into the kitchen and be like, 'I need to sit down'."
But even after enduring Spain's lockdown, where Ms Doherty could only leave her home for one hour a day, the lowest blow came in February this year, when both of her grandparents on the Gold Coast died.
"Even with my family, my sisters, I was like 'Can you just keep me on the phone in the room with everybody?'"
"With the funeral, I was just sitting in my living room, can't even talk to anybody there … like I was watching TV."
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Ms Doherty is one of more than 30,000 Australians stranded overseas, unable to returnand flights priced 10 times higher than their pre-pandemic rate.
But with celebrities,, being granted exemptions as the number of international arrivals permitted entry are cut back, some Aussies abroad are questioning what their citizenship actually means.
'My friends in Australia don't realise'
Ms Doherty has lived in Madrid since 2017 but, after postponing her wedding three times, is desperate to travel home.
"My friends in Australia don't realise, they think I can book a flight," she says.
"That's about $4,000 Australian for a one-way flight that in the past might have been $400, $500, $600.
American Airlines pulls all flights to Australia
A major airline has confirmed it is pulling all flights between the USA and Australia. American Airlines will no longer fly to the nation for at least two months in response to the tightened coronavirus travel rules which mean planes must fly with only a handful of passengers.The only route, LA to Sydney, will be cut.LIVE UPDATES: NSW awaits virus numbers update © AP American Airlines confirmed some planes will not bring passengers to Australia. Just last week the airline said it would fly some planes as cargo only - but now it's pulling out altogether.
"People like [Katie Hopkins] can come into the country on an exemption for a reality TV show but it's so expensive, it's near impossible for me to go home for my grandparents' funeral."
But Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said this week that such exemptions are granted "from time to time".
"It happens reasonably regularly, that state governments approach the federal government on the basis that there is an economic benefit to some people coming in over the quarantine caps," Ms Andrews said.
She said 80 per cent of travellers to Australia in June were Australian permanent residents and their families, with the remainder considered critical workers.
But Tessa Daly, who moved from the Gold Coast to Vancouver in 2016, said the celebrity exemptions, along with, "very much feels like a divide in society".
"It stinks," she says.
"There is such a divide between the middle class and the upper class."
No option to leave
Tessa Daly saysis bittersweet.
"Even if my parents wanted to come here, they have to seek an exemption from the government and what's the excuse gonna be — I haven't seen my daughter in two years?" she says.
"Please imagine what it's like."
Bonnie Williams and her husband Oliver moved from Burleigh Heads to Orange County, California, five years ago.
"People are being denied the right to be with a dying loved one, it's inhumane, yet we can find a way for actors and sports people to travel safely," she says.
"It feels like a slap in the face."
Whento return before borders closed, Ms Williams says she was put in an impossible position.
"I know the sentiment from some people or politicians is like, 'Well, people have had time to come home, they were told come home, and if they didn't — well, too bad'," she says.
"It's not like we had the option to leave, we can't afford to do that and we have businesses to keep running."
COVID-19 lockdown drama for performers as favourite musical opens on glitter strip
Nearly three decades after The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert broke down barriers for the queer community and became one of Australia's most successful films, its story's enduring popularity has seen tickets to a new musical sell out.When the cult Australian film was released in 1994, it broke down barriers and opened up queer culture to the broader community.
Hopes to return home
Ms Williams hopes to return home in December to introduce her family to her newborn son.
"My best friend had a baby, we've had relatives pass away, grandparents in the last stages of Alzheimer's — it's like life's pause button has been hit over here," she says.
"It will have been two years since we've seen the people that we love the most in the world."
Ms Daly said Australia's troubled vaccination program along with the media's reporting on rare instances of blood-clotting has been frustrating.
"We had a gutful long ago," she says.
"But it's only now that Australians are saying, 'Hang on a second, now we're going into lockdown and the rest of the world is opening up — what's going on?'"
Michelle Doherty's hopes of returning home are still on hold, as her fiancé waits up to 28 months for a visa approval.
"I'm in therapy and I really just try to distract myself and that's not always healthy," she says.
"It's kind of changed me from being the bubbly fun person I was before to all this, all the time, now [I] can't even have a conversation without crying."
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Bencic wins Olympic gold | Svitolina takes bronze .
Belinda Bencic became Switzerland's first female Olympic gold medallist in tennis with victory over Marketa Vondrousova to continue a dream week in Tokyo. The 24-year-old battled to a 7-5 2-6 6-3 victory in a match that finished at 11.28pm to follow in the footsteps of Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka, who won gold in men's doubles in 2008, and 1992 singles champion Marc Rosset. © Associated Press Belinda Bencic celebrating with her gold medal from the women's singles tournament Bencic dominated the junior game but has struggled with injury and this was her biggest moment on the senior stage.