Unionists calls for permanent visas for refugees

Unionists for refugees. Photo: Arie Huybregts

Unionists and refugee activists gathered at the State Library on May 7 to show solidarity with refugees who continue to be denied safety and security.

Called by Unionists for Refugees Victoria, the rally demanded resettlement rights and an end to indefinite detention.  

Speakers included Reza Mousavi, a recently released Medevac refugee, Hassan Jabar from Justice for Refugees as well as union representatives from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), the Health and Community Services Union and Victorian Trades Hall Council.  

The release of refugees detained in the Park Hotel was a win for the refugee movement. However, the fact they can only have temporary visas means they are denied the security of permanent resettlement.

Mousavi, imprisoned for more than two years after arriving in Australia, spoke about his predicament since being released from the Park Hotel.

Unable to “gamble” on his temporary visa, he said he had to make the difficult decision to resettle in Canada, where he will receive permanent protection.

Jabar said the federal government must allow refugees to access more supports and allow family reunification. NTEU secretary Mel Slee said Scott Morrison must be kicked out and the “monstrous racism” of its refugee policy ended.  

[The Refugee Action Collective Victoria will host a public forum ? on May 30.]