Senate debates

Monday, 30 August 2021



1:36 pm

Photo of Louise PrattLouise Pratt (WA, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Manufacturing) Share this | | Hansard source

Today I rise with sadness to talk about the apathetic response that we have seen from the government when it comes to the terrors that were known to come forward in Afghanistan. It was a foreseen event, and the government did not act to process people's visas in a timely way over many years before now, and that has meant that, in the rush to exit Kabul in Afghanistan quickly over the last couple of weeks, we have abandoned too many people, including Australian citizens and their families in Afghanistan. It was a tepid response that was too little too late. I have to say that those opposite bear responsibility for the underfunded and over-run immigration system in Home Affairs, and our embassy in Kabul simply did not have the tools it needed to address applications with the priority they deserved in what should have been foreseen circumstances. Like many other MPs, my office has had calls from fathers and parents begging for help because they don't think their remaining relatives can protect the children of Australian citizens, including young girls, from the Taliban for much longer. They've been waiting for visas for far too long—in many cases, more than six or seven years already. They are terrified and turn to Australia for help in their time of need, and it was far too little too late. (Time expired)