House debates

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Statements by Members


1:50 pm

Photo of Alicia PayneAlicia Payne (Canberra, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Over the past weeks I've been speaking with Afghan members of my community, including on Monday, when I met with representatives of the Canberra Hazara community with the member for Scullin, and I thank him. The situation for the Hazara ethnic group in Afghanistan is now extremely dangerous, as their historic persecution becomes emboldened and amplified under Taliban rule. It is really hard to fathom what these people are going through, some of them having been separated from family for up to nine years while waiting to get visas. They share their stories with me and I want to help them as much as I can, but, ultimately, we need the government to really step up to help the people in Afghanistan and the people here, particularly those on SHEVs and temporary protection visas, who are trying desperately to have a future for themselves and to get their families to safety.

We need the government to increase Australia's refugee and humanitarian intake drastically. The UK and Canada have pledged to accept 20,000 Afghan refugees, and there is no reason that we cannot do the same. We need to process the partner and family visas of Afghan applicants with absolute urgency. The discrimination which has left people languishing for up to five years must stop now, and we need to scrap temporary protection visas and safe haven enterprise visas. The crisis in Afghanistan shows us in stark clarity that the situation of refugees is rarely ever temporary.