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UPDATE 20/03/2022: The Australian Government has promised 5,000 temporary humanitarian visas for Ukrainian refugees. The government’s announcement is welcome, but they also must commit to providing essential support services to these people and to reunite them with their families. They must also be offered a pathway to permanent protection. 

In a few short weeks, Russian forces have unleashed horror on Ukraine. They have struck hospitals and schools, killing civilians and children.

Right now, Ukrainians are fleeing their homes, and everything they have ever known, to escape these horrors.

Today, thousands of people from Afghanistan in Australia live in limbo on temporary protection visas. The Australian government has refused to grant them permanent protection, even as the Taliban tramples on human rights.

In 2020, Scott Morrison’s government cut 5,000 places from the humanitarian program. They have committed to take only 13,750 people seeking safety each year, until at least 2025. Australia had committed, following the 2019 election, to a program of 18,750 a year.

That means, each and every year, 5,000 people in need of protection, can no longer find safety in Australia.

We need the government to commit to reforming the humanitarian program so more people can find safety in Australia. People from all walks of life have had no choice but to flee their homes because of war, persecution, or violence.

In the last year, Australians have called out for reform, for the government to do more, so they can welcome these people, from Myanmar, Afghanistan, and now, Ukraine, into their communities.

The government needs to listen to these people. We need thousands of people to continue to speak out and call for reform. Because of people speaking out, the government committed to reforming the Community Sponsorship Program last year and released refugees from detention centres into the community.

Take action today, call on Anthony Abanese to welcome Ukrainians seeking safety, and reform the humanitarian program so more people seeking asylum can be welcomed.