27 October 2014
Mary and Mohammad meet Parliament
The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will bring the documentary Mary Meets Mohammad to the people who decide Australia’s asylum seeker policies. The documentary was a 2013 Walkley Awards finalist and won the 2014 UN Media Award.
Mr Wilkie will host a screening of the Tasmanian documentary that highlights the plight of asylum seekers on a personal and touching level for Australia’s federal politicians in Parliament House Canberra this evening.
Mary Meets Mohammad charts the unlikely friendship of Mary, a Tasmanian Christian woman, and Mohammad, a Muslim Afghan Hazara asylum seeker. It’s set against the backdrop of the now-mothballed Pontville Detention Centre near Hobart.
Mr Wilkie said he hoped that the story, directed by journalist and filmmaker Heather Kirkpatrick, would help educate the major political parties to adopt a more humane asylum seeker policy.
``I hope this powerful story inspires Australia’s decision makers to treat all people who seek asylum as a humanitarian issue and not a border-security problem,’’ Mr Wilkie said. ``If Mary can change her mind about asylum seekers, then so can the Prime Minister and the other politicians who share his views on refugees.’’
The event will start with a Vietnamese refugee, Tri Nguyen, presenting a wooden boat replica as a gift of gratitude to the Australian Parliament. Tri Nguyen walked 650 kilometres from Melbourne to Canberra, over 36 days earlier this year, towing a large model of the boat in which he and his father fled Vietnam in 1979. The purpose of the journey was for Tri to say ‘thank you’ to the Australian people for the gift of refuge he and his family received as refugees.
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