The Australian Greens have announced they will introduce a bill into the Senate that would create a special visa class enabling the permanent resettlement in Australia for Afghan interpreters and other at-risk employees who worked for the Coalition forces, along with their families.
“Australia is indebted to the brave Afghan men and women who risk their lives by working with the Coalition armed forces in their home country,” Greens spokesperson for human rights, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
“I will be introducing a bill that would create a special humanitarian visa to enable the permanent resettlement in Australia of Afghan employees who worked for the Coalition forces, along with their families.
“Afghan people who work for our forces face an increased risk of retaliation from the Taliban and they clearly deserve to have protection afforded them by our political leaders.
“The need for this legislation is highlighted by the story of one brave young man, a 17-year-old Afghan boy who now lives in Melbourne after fleeing the war in his home country.
“He was 15 when his father, who was acting as an interpreter for the coalition forces in Afghanistan, was killed by the Taliban.
“He wants to bring his mother to Australia and I feel that it is the least we could do to recognise the contribution his family has made to this country.
“These people have helped to defend the Australian way of life and we need to extend the hand of mateship to them in gratitude of their service.
“The program I am proposing would assist eligible families by providing for the costs of visa processing, transport to Australia, settlement, health, education, employment assistance and time limited income support.
“Similar programs were established to facilitate the resettlement of people who helped our troops in the Iraq war and the United States and Canada have also offered similar support to Afghans who have helped them in the current war.
“With New Zealand recently announcing that they will be implementing a similar program, it is clearly time that Australia joined our coalition partners in recognising the efforts of those who risk their lives to help our troops overseas.”
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