Zaki Haidari - Address to the Australian Parliament

By David Smith

16 February 2021

Address to the Federation Chamber, House of Representatives, Australian Parliament House

Constituency Statements

Tuesday 16 February 2021

Mr DAVID SMITH (Bean) (16:06): Since September last year, Zaki Haidari has been running to raise money for refugees in need of legal support. To date he has run over 770 kilometres, and over $26,000 has been raised.

Zaki knows from experience the value legal support can offer refugees. An ethnic Hazara man from Afghanistan, he was forced to flee after receiving threats from the Taliban and his father and his brother went missing. He arrived in Australia in 2012 at the age of 17. He has since been granted refugee status, spending almost five years on a temporary protection visa.

In this time, Zaki has proved his value to the Australian community. He was awarded International Student of the Year for his studies in Sydney and was recognised by the Human Rights Commission for his refugee advocacy work. He recently worked at the Australian National University, and I've
received letters from his colleagues in praise of his work and the value of his friendship.

However, his visa will run out in September this year, and he fears he will be sent back to Afghanistan. No-one on his type of visa has ever become a permanent resident. Temporary protection visas should be abolished, and eligible refugees in Australia should be transitioned onto permanent arrangements. Otherwise, people like Zaki are in an ongoing state of uncertainty and prevented from meaningful settlement, creating unnecessary hardship and denying Australia the benefit of their contribution.