ZAKI HAIDARI WOULD MAKE A GREAT AUSTRALIAN
MONDAY, 23 AUGUST 2021
Zaki Haidari is a Hazara refugee from Afghanistan. A decade ago, the Taliban took away his father, Mahram. Zaki has not seen his dad since. The Taliban beheaded Zaki's brother, Ali, at a checkpoint when they discovered that Ali was carrying a student identification card.
Zaki came to Australia in November 2012 and has been on a temporary visa ever since. Like the 30,000 other ‘legacy caseload’ visa holders, he must renew his visa every few years. Temporary visa holders have no path to citizenship and cannot sponsor family members. Their ability to travel overseas is heavily restricted.
It is unthinkable that Australia would return a Hazara refugee to Afghanistan. Yet our cruel Prime Minister says that people like Zaki ‘never have and never will’ get permanent residency status. The Prime Minister wants to keep Zaki living in limbo. He is a decent man. I got to know him through the Refugee Marathon Project. He would make a great Australian citizen.
After the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre Bob Hawke offered asylum to 42,000 Chinese people. Tony Abbott offered 12,000 new refugee places to those fleeing Syria and Iraq. Yet the Morrison government has for months ignored warnings from Labor that it needed to do more to get vulnerable people out of Afghanistan. Its approach has been tardy and heartless when it should have been swift and generous.
Its approach has been tardy and heartless when it should have been swift and generous.