Former refugees are looking forward to the first vote

It only takes a few minutes for Hassan Nagy to arrive at the polling place on Saturday, he says, which will be the culmination of decades of travel.

“This is very important to me. It’s the first time I’ve voted for a national election in 49 years of my life,” says Naji, an Afghan refugee living in the western suburbs of Sydney.

“I am very excited to vote to play a role in determining my future and the future of my children.”

The road from Afghanistan to Sydney’s voting booth was difficult. However, he says he was towed to Indonesia by Australian authorities in 2001 when he first tried to go to Australia by boat.

After the second attempt, he was sent to Nauru’s offshore processing center. He then returned to Afghanistan, but after fleeing again, he resettled in Australia in 2012 through a UN program.

He couldn’t vote in Australia until he was granted citizenship in late 2019 and just missed the election that year.

When Naji heads to the ballot box, he says he is thinking about the plight of other asylum seekers and refugees.

“I’m not just thinking about my own interests and the interests of the community, I’m thinking about the interests of the whole country, the economy, and the future of the Australian citizens I’m currently participating in,” he says.

“My children should benefit Australian society. They play a role in the country’s future for its growth and prosperity.”

Coalition and labor now have very similar border policies, but labor grants permanent visas to more than 19,000 people who are already recognized as refugees by Australia but now have to continue to reapply for visas. I promised.

The coalition recently introduced new measures to provide an additional humanitarian place for Afghan citizens fleeing the Taliban regime. This is a policy praised by the refugee community and its supporters.

This policy can come to mind for many who vote in and around the western part of Sydney, a populous multicultural area that is always important to the outcome of elections.

There were at least five tough election contests in the area, with a winning margin of less than 5% in the last election.

Another first-time voter, 51-year-old refugee Nouriah Eliasi, said he would use his vote to support policies that help refugees already in Australia provide permanent housing.

“They are integrated into society. Some of them have children born (in Australia) where they go to school, learn languages ​​and work here,” Elias said. ..

“It’s cheaper to stay here than to bring someone from abroad.”



Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.