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Yeah, So Malcolm Turnbull's Favourite Refugee Is From One Of Trump's Banned Countries

"Australia would not be the country it is today without their contribution."

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During Malcolm Turnbull's refugee speech at the UN last September, the PM spent considerable time talking up the inspirational story of AFL player Aliir Aliir.

Frank Franklin Ii / AP

"He was seven when he and his family came to Australia," Turnbull told the General Assembly. "Tall, fast and agile, Aliir was a natural for Australian Rules Football and once he took up the game, hasn’t looked back."

Dan Himbrechts / AAPIMAGE

"Earlier this year, I was delighted when Aliir debuted for the AFL team I support, the Sydney Swans."

Tracey Nearmy / AAPIMAGE

Turnbull said refugees like Aliir made Australia great.

"There are thousands of migrant stories like Aliir’s: leaders of government, of business, of science, of the arts.

"Australia would not be the country it is today without their contribution."

There is one thing about Aliir, and Turnbull's focus on him, that is particularly relevant now.

Tracey Nearmy / AAPIMAGE

Last week, US president Donald Trump not only suspended his country's refugee program, but temporarily banned all Sudanese citizens from entering the Unites States.

Instagram: @aliirmayom

Aliir is not the only Australian-Sudanese success story potentially caught up in this mess. Here's Aliir pictured with Milwaukee Bucks star rookie Thon Maker, who has an Australian passport.

Instagram: @aliirmayom

Maker is based in the US and Bucks officials had expressed concern that the rookie would not be able to get back into the country when he travelled internationally for games. (Luckily for Aliir and Maker, it was confirmed on Tuesday that Australian passport holders would be exempt from the ban.)

I appreciate all the fans concerns and prayers for Thon. And, today a Sudanese refugee who fled oppression and is an incredible young man 1/

But Turnbull has still refused to denounce Trump's controversial executive order.

Mick Tsikas / AAPIMAGE

“It is not my job as prime minister of Australia to run a commentary on the domestic policies of other countries,” he said on Monday.

In fact, he likened the US president’s approach to the Australian government’s brutal crackdown on asylum-seekers in recent years - and invited other countries to follow Australia's lead.

“We have, here in Australia, border security arrangements which are the envy of the world… if others wish to emulate what we’re doing, they’re welcome to do so."

Mark Di Stefano is a media and politics correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Mark Di Stefano at

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