Riz Wakil to discuss humanity with Tony Abbott during surfing lesson won at auction

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AAP, June 17, 2010 8:44AM
RIZ Wakil will use a surfing lesson from Tony Abbott to tell the federal opposition leader about the plight of refugees and his own success story.

The Afghan refugee, who spent nine months in the Curtin Detention Centre courtesy of the previous Howard government, was among a group of six who made a successful $16,100 charity auction bid last night at the Press Gallery’s Midwinter Ball to surf with Mr Abbott.

Mr Wakil, now an Australian citizen, is hoping to convince Mr Abbott to take a more humane approach to refugees.

“He’s a human being like you and me, his heart beats like us,” he told ABC Radio today.

Mr Wakil, who runs a printing business in Sydney, will tell Mr Abbott about his flight from Afghanistan, his time in detention and the process that led him to becoming “a proud Australian”.

Riz Wakil is interviewed on SBS World News Australia

He also has some advice for both Labor and the coalition: “The decisions the Australian government makes has nothing to do with the flow of refugees around the world.”

The Rudd government, in a bid to stem boat arrivals, has suspended the processing of new asylum claims from Afghans and Sri Lankans.

The coalition plans to reintroduce temporary protection visas and offshore processing in other countries.

As part of the Canberra Press Gallery’s Midwinter Ball Charity Auction, Mr Abbott offered a personal surfing lesson to the highest bidder.

Mr Wakil’s winning bid was funded by members of the left leaning activist group GetUp, which raised $50,000 in three hours.


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