10 August 2021: Release the Darwin refugees

10 August 2021

(Northern Territory—Deputy Opposition Whip in the Senate): [by video link] I want to update the Senate on the refugees held in Darwin. We've had big changes in the last 24 hours. Mojtaba, his wife, Afsaneh, and their son Benham, who were waiting to go to the US, were moved to Melbourne in the early hours of this morning for their medical checks after being told about the move late yesterday. They will apparently have five days in quarantine there and it is a bit unclear as to whether they will then go into detention or the community. They also haven't been told whether they will be returned to Darwin after the medical checks or stay in Melbourne until they can get on flights to the US.

This means that the Maghames family are now the only ones in the Darwin facility. They are all deeply distressed. Hajar, the daughter, collapsed yesterday evening and was taken to Royal Darwin Hospital by ambulance. Her family were not allowed to go with her. I believe they've not been able to visit. I understand she remains in hospital. Malakeh, Hajar's mother, is also deeply distressed at the hospitalisation of her beloved daughter and, no doubt, the incredible stress of still being detained here in Darwin.

I support calls by Chief Minister Gunner that the family be welcomed here in the Northern Territory. I understand he has written to the Morrison government expressing this view. I certainly call on the Senate, the Australian parliament, to do everything it can. I'm urging the Morrison government to release this family into the community here in Darwin on Larrakia country.


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