Asylum seeker protesters call for meeting with Scott Morrison outside Kirribilli House

Protesters have descended on the PM’s Sydney residence and demanded he face them, holding signs saying “Come outside and learn the truth”.

The group of about 20 “boat refugees”, who fled their homelands of Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Syria for a new life in between 2011 and 2014, gathered peacefully outside the PM’s Sydney residence to demand permanent visas.

Some said they had not seen their families for up to nine years, and had been unable to leave the country as their visa status would not allow them to return.

Camera IconAbout 20 people attended the rally. Credit: News Corp Australia, NCA NewsWire/Damian Shaw

The protesters held signs reading “We are humans too”, and chanted for the Prime Minister to “come outside and learn the truth”.

Organiser Jamal Daoud of the Social Justice Network said many of the protesters were in Australia on indefinite temporary protection visas, meaning they were denied family reunions, and feared their stays being cancelled for “minor issues”.

Mr Daoud claimed that as the former immigration minister, Mr Morrison was the “architect” of laws that had left thousands of people “living on the margins” with “no rights”.

Jamal Daoud led the protest.
Camera IconJamal Daoud led the protest. Credit: News Corp Australia, NCA NewsWire/Damian Shaw

“We are here to send a message to this government: enough is enough,” he said. “They lost nine years because the government wanted to win an election based on race.”

Temporary protection visas last for three years and can be granted to asylum seekers who arrive in Australia without a valid visa.

Holders are able to work and study, can access government benefits, and can apply to renew their visas when they expire.

One of the protesters, Iraqi lawyer Raad al Zamil, said he had been unable to study law in Australia due to his visa status, and has struggled to learn English.

Mr al Zamil said he had been cut off from his family: “I want to ask him (Mr Morrison) – can he live without his kids?”

Police were in attendance at the peaceful protest.
Camera IconPolice were in attendance at the peaceful protest. Credit: News Corp Australia, NCA NewsWire/Damian Shaw

Sabah Mohammad, originally of Baghdad, said the government wanted him to leave the country in order to apply for a permanent visa, despite his wife and two children all holding Australian citizenship.

“They want to separate the family for one year, two years, for no reason,” Mr Daoud said.

Lebanon’s Hassan Nabbouh arrived in Australia eight years ago: “We just want to live in peace. We just want a normal life.”

Hassan al Ghzey said he had not seen his six children since he left Iraq in September 2012.

“When I put my head down on my pillow I think of my family,” he said. “I am tired. I can’t sleep.”

The group has been protesting outside the office of Immigration Minister David Coleman in Revesby for the past year and have pledged to return to Kirribilli House every Sunday.

Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said the temporary protection visa holders had the opportunity to live, work and study in one of the “safest and most generous countries on earth”, with access to a range of government services.

“Our strong border protection policies allowed us to regain control of our borders and we now have one of the most generous humanitarian programs in the world,” he said.

“We won’t be changing our policies.”

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