MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="----=_NextPart_000_0080_01D75D15.8AEC5740" This is a multipart message in MIME format. ------=_NextPart_000_0080_01D75D15.8AEC5740 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="UTF-8" Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit SENATOR PENNY WONG LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA SENATOR KRISTINA KENEALLY DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP SHADOW MINISTER FOR GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE MEMBER FOR GORTON VISAS FOR ALL AFGHAN STAFF MUST BE FAST-TRACKED Labor calls on the Morrison Government to fast-track visas for all Afghan interpreters and local staff, with growing reports of direct threats against their safety by the Taliban. Scott Morrison needs to deliver an urgent coordinated plan across the Departments of Home Affairs, Defence and Foreign Affairs to help these people and their families by the time the last remaining troops leave Afghanistan in September. During Senate Estimates last week Foreign Minister Marise Payne could not give any assurances that these visas would be processed with any urgency, saying that the Government would consider visa applications based on existing processes and “I can’t speak for Home Affairs”. This stands in stark contrast with the plans by the US, UK and coalition members to evacuate thousands of local staff to safety with widespread troop withdrawals planned. “Australia has a duty of care to these Afghan nationals who were vital to the Australian Government operations over 20 years,” said Shadow Foreign Minister, Senator Penny Wong. “They now face threats from the Taliban and we have a moral obligation to act urgently to get them to safety.” “In many cases, these interpreters wore Australian uniforms and helped keep our troops and diplomats safe, at great risk to themselves,” said Shadow Defence Minister, Brendan O’Connor. “This is not the time for buck-passing between Ministers,” said Senator Kristina Keneally, the Shadow Minister for Home Affairs. “Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews needs to get this done. These staff are facing real risks to their safety now, they can’t afford a year long wait for a visa.” Reports today suggest a small group have had their visas approved after lengthy waits and have been told to prepare for an evacuation flight later this month - but there are hundreds of interpreters and local staff seeking protection. Last week officials told Senate Estimates, staff would have to find “commercial options” to get to Australia once their visas and exemptions are processed – this just isn’t good enough. We know from the 36,000 Australians stranded around the world how difficult getting a commercial flight home is. The Morrison Government needs to explain what help it will provide to get all approved staff and their families to Australia. If Scott Morrison had acted sooner to deliver safe, federal quarantine, there would be more options to help get these people who have risked their lives for Australia to safety. TUESDAY, 8 JUNE 2021 MEDIA CONTACTS: CAITLIN RAPER (WONG) 0432 522 598 CHRIS OWENS (KENEALLY) 0409 945 476 KYLIE JENSEN (O’CONNOR) 0402 298 728 Authorised by Paul Erickson, ALP, Canberra. This is a broadcast email - please do not reply to this email. This email is confidential and may be privileged. If you have received this email by mistake: (1) please notify me immediately and delete the email; (2) you must not use this email or its contents; (3) client legal privilege is not waived. unsubscribe from this list. This email was sent to iq@canberraiq.com.au why did I get this? unsubscribe from this list update subscription preferences Leader's Office Media Unit · Parliament House · Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (ACT) 2600 · Australia ------=_NextPart_000_0080_01D75D15.8AEC5740 Content-Type: text/html; charset="UTF-8" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable WONG, KENEALLY & O'CONNOR - MEDIA RELEASE - VISAS FOR ALL = AFGHAN STAFF MUST BE FAST-TRACKED - TUESDAY, 8 JUNE 2021
3D""
=09

SENATOR PENNY = WONG
LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA

SENATOR KRISTINA KENEALLY

DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES

BRENDAN O=E2=80=99CONNOR MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR DEFENCE
MEMBER FOR GORTON


VISAS FOR ALL AFGHAN STAFF MUST BE = FAST-TRACKED


Labor calls on the Morrison Government to fast-track visas for all = Afghan interpreters and local staff, with growing reports of direct = threats against their safety by the Taliban. 

Scott Morrison needs to deliver an urgent coordinated plan across the = Departments of Home Affairs, Defence and Foreign Affairs to help these = people and their families by the time the last remaining troops leave = Afghanistan in September. 

During Senate Estimates last week Foreign Minister Marise Payne could = not give any assurances that these visas would be processed with any = urgency, saying that the Government would consider visa applications = based on existing processes and =E2=80=9CI can=E2=80=99t speak for Home = Affairs=E2=80=9D. 

This stands in stark contrast with the plans by the US, UK and coalition = members to evacuate thousands of local staff to safety with widespread = troop withdrawals planned. 

=E2=80=9CAustralia has a duty of care to these Afghan nationals who were = vital to the Australian Government operations over 20 years,=E2=80=9D = said Shadow Foreign Minister, Senator Penny Wong.

=E2=80=9CThey now face threats from the Taliban and we have a moral = obligation to act urgently to get them to safety.=E2=80=9D

=E2=80=9CIn many cases, these interpreters wore Australian uniforms and = helped keep our troops and diplomats safe, at great risk to = themselves,=E2=80=9D said Shadow Defence Minister, Brendan = O=E2=80=99Connor.

=E2=80=9CThis is not the time for buck-passing between = Ministers,=E2=80=9D said Senator Kristina Keneally, the Shadow Minister = for Home Affairs.

=E2=80=9CHome Affairs Minister Karen Andrews needs to get this done. = These staff are facing real risks to their safety now, they = can=E2=80=99t afford a year long wait for a visa.=E2=80=9D

Reports today suggest a small group have had their visas approved after = lengthy waits and have been told to prepare for an evacuation flight = later this month - but there are hundreds of interpreters and local = staff seeking protection.

Last week officials told Senate Estimates, staff would have to find = =E2=80=9Ccommercial options=E2=80=9D to get to Australia once their = visas and exemptions are processed =E2=80=93 this just isn=E2=80=99t = good enough.

We know from the 36,000 Australians stranded around the world how = difficult getting a commercial flight home is. The Morrison Government = needs to explain what help it will provide to get all approved staff and = their families to Australia.

If Scott Morrison had acted sooner to deliver safe, federal quarantine, = there would be more options to help get these people who have risked = their lives for Australia to safety. 

TUESDAY, 8 JUNE 2021

MEDIA CONTACTS: 
CAITLIN RAPER (WONG) 0432 522 598
CHRIS OWENS (KENEALLY) 0409 945 476
KYLIE JENSEN (O=E2=80=99CONNOR) 0402 298 728

=09

3D""
=09
This = is a broadcast email - please do not reply to this email.

This email is confidential and may be privileged. If you have received = this email by mistake: (1) please notify me immediately and delete the = email; (2) you must not use this email or its contents; (3) client legal = privilege is not waived.

unsubscribe from this list.






This email was sent to iq@canberraiq.com.au
why did I get = this?    unsubscribe from this = list    update subscription preferences
Leader's Office Media Unit = · Parliament House · Canberra, Australian Capital = Territory (ACT) 2600 · Australia

------=_NextPart_000_0080_01D75D15.8AEC5740--