Weekly media wrap - 24 March 2019

Refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and other countries were among the victims of the Christchurch terrorist attacks last week. Khaled and Hamza Mustafa, a Syrian father and son, were the first to be buried this week. Abdul Aziz, a former refugee from Afghanistan, was hailed as a hero for chasing off the gunman at Linwood mosque. Meanwhile, Australian Defence Industry Minister Linda Reynolds linked the Christchurch terrorist attacks with parliament’s passing of the medevac bill.

Doctors signed off on the first applications for medical transfer under the new medevac bill. The applications were expected to be put to Department of Home Affairs Secretary Michael Pezzullo and Immigration Minister David Coleman by the end of the week.

Refugees living on Nauru were exposed to potentially deadly asbestos after local workers left it next to the Fly Camp settlement. Documents leaked to the ABC say refugees have been ‘using the asbestos to build sheds’. 

Sprent Dabwido, former President of Nauru, called for an end to the offshore processing of refugees and said he regrets agreeing to reopen Australia’s offshore detention centre on the island. Mr Dabwido has applied for asylum in Australia after being classified as an ‘enemy of the state’ by current Nauruan President Baron Waqa.

SBS News reported that a backlog in citizenship applications is taking a toll on refugees living in Australia who, among other things, cannot apply for passports until citizenship is conferred.