Greens MPs Caged Themselves Outside Park Hotel To Demand The Release Of Refugees

There are 32 refugees still locked away in Park Hotel.

Greens Park Hotel

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A handful of Greens MPs have shown solidarity with Park Hotel refugees in Melbourne by locking themselves in a cage on Wednesday.

Leader of the Victorian Greens Samantha Ratnam, was joined by Ellen Sandell, Sam Hibbins, and Dr Tim Read as the four entered ‘The Freedom Cage‘ — an activist installation stationed outside the hotel in Carlton. Previous visitors include former Socceroos coach Craig Foster, bishop Philip Huggins, and author Arnold Zable.

There are currently 32 Medevac refugees being indefinitely held at Park Hotel after nine years of detention both in Australia and offshore . The building gained international attention in January after tennis player Novak Djokovic was temporarily held there over a vaccination medical dispute with his visa ahead of the Australian Open.

It costs taxpayers more than $56,000 for Park Hotel to detain refugees every night, with Labor Senator Kristina Keneally expressing in February that it would be $19 million cheaper annually to release the men into community detention.

Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said last month that they couldn’t be released for “various reasons” including questions of character and health concerns, but claimed the Morrison Government is working with the US and New Zealand to explore resettlement options overseas.

A month before that, Hobart City Council moved a motion to offer their state up as an alternative place to settle the Park Hotel refugees in the community, in a majority vote.

“Dozens of refugees have been cruelly detained in Melbourne for years now, and both our state and federal governments have done nothing about it,” said Ratnam.

“We’re urging the Victorian Premier to advocate to the Prime Minister for the immediate release of the 32 men currently locked up in the Park Hotel,” she said. “The inaction of our Premier and Prime Minister to date has been nothing short of inhumane.”