15 February 2022
Ms STEGGALL (Warringah) (13:42): The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is devastating, and I thank the government for the cooperation and efforts made in assisting with the initial evacuation efforts. I've had the privilege of meeting some of the female athletes who were evacuated in those initial days and weeks, but unfortunately—for them, and for their family and friends who were left behind—the barriers to evacuation are increasing as the country descends further into crisis. I urge the government to offer greater assistance and hope for these separated families.
I also would like to draw attention to the case of refugees and asylum seekers who continue to languish in alternative places of detention, including the Park Hotel in Melbourne. Many constituents wrote to me during the Novak Djokovic saga in January, calling out for a more humanitarian approach. These people are languishing in the same hotel. Mehdi Ali, who fled persecution as a 15-year-old boy, has been detained for nine years, and says:
I don't know what is going to happen tomorrow. You might let me out, you might send me somewhere else, the staff might come to my room and take my belongings. Anything might happen …
I urge the government to end this absurdity. We sing our Australian anthem with pride—'for those who come across the sea'
End the abuse. Let them go.
Raise the standard in this place.
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