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Letter to Minister Andrews re: Afghanistan

Subject: Afghanistan

Dear Minister Andrews,

Like everyone else, I have watched the TV footage of the chaos in Kabul with deep dismay. The spectacle of seeing thousands of people fleeing for their lives is truly shocking.

As one of the countries which has had a military presence in the country for the past twenty years, we  surely have a moral responsibility to help those who now are begging for our assistance. In previous crises, the Australian government has shown compassion and generosity in making additional humanitarian places available to refugees from Vietnam and Syria. It was, therefore, deeply disappointing to hear the Prime Minister tell the nation that we would accept just 3,000 refugees from Afghanistan, and, disgracefully, that these places would come out of our already much-reduced humanitarian intake. This is an utterly inadequate response.

Afghanistan is now in turmoil, and Kabul is not a safe place, particularly for girls and women nor for the thousands of Afghans who, for the past two decades, have assisted the coalition forces in a range of activities. There should be no question of ever sending any of the several thousand Afghans currently living in Australia on TPVs back to Afghanistan against their will.

I therefore urge you and your government to urgently:

  • ensure the safety of refugees from Afghanistan in Australia by providing them with permanent protection visas so that they can remain here safely.
  • increase the humanitarian visa quota with a generous one-off intake for the people in Afghanistan in the most danger.
  • provide a pathway for refugees from Afghanistan to apply to reunite with their families in Australia.

This is NOT the time to be warning darkly about people smugglers or people drowning at sea. The government solved that problem seven years ago, and it’s time to move on.

I look forward to your early response to this most urgent crisis.

Yours sincerely,

M... G.

Valla Beach


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