Wednesday, 24 November 2021
Statements by Members
As the Taliban secured their hold on Kabul, Australians watched in horror, worried about their families, friends and those who helped our country over 20 years. In a moment that required national leadership and generosity, the Prime Minister stood up and promised Australia would bring 3,000 Afghans to safety in our humanitarian program. This was widely seen by the community, the defence forces who serve, Christian churches and Afghan Australians as an insult. But today, three months on, Afghan Australians are increasingly distraught because the government has failed to act with any urgency. We're shocked to learn that, even out of this miserly promise of 3,000 visas, the Liberal government has processed zero. None. Nada.
Last week I met with a large group of interpreters, people who risked their lives for our country working with Australia and our defence forces. They're worried sick about their families. They feel lied to by the Prime Minister. He promised them when he met with them—he was all over them when it mattered—that their families would get priority and be brought to safety. It turns out the government has told lots of people they'll be the priority: those who helped us, families of Australians, women, persecuted minorities. The Prime Minister just says what he thinks people want to hear, but the truth eventually catches up with him. There's more confusion now than when Kabul fell. Prime Minister, when will people whose lives are at risk get a decision on their visas? (Time expired)