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Issue #1702      September 16, 2015

Free the Syrians in detention

It is a welcome fact that the Abbott government will take 12,000 Syrians on top of the existing humanitarian intake of 13,750, says the Refugee Action Coalition.

But the failure of the government to say over what time period the 12,000 will be brought to Australia, makes it impossible to know how generous the government is being.

What we do know is that 12,000 is on the low side of the suggestions that have been recently made regarding the numbers that Australia could reasonable take. At the moment, Germany is taking more than this number each day.

“The Abbott government cut the refugee intake from 20,000 when it was elected. So we are already taking 18,000 fewer people because of the anti-refugee policies of the government. Abbott wants to look like he is doing something, but is doing as little as possible at the same time,” said Action Coalition spokesperson Ian Rintoul. “Even Liberal NSW Premier Mike Baird said that 10,000 was a minimum. Some Liberal backbenchers were suggesting 50,000, which is more like it.”

What is also shocking is that the Abbott government is making a fundamental break with the policy of a non-discriminatory humanitarian program.

“The stipulation that Australia’s selection would be from minority groups is also transparently anti-Muslim,” said Rintoul. “Abbott is continuing to inflame anti-Muslim sentiments which have been on display from the likes of Cory Bernadi and George Christensen.

“By making the announcement of bombing Syria at the same time as announcing the refugee intake, Abbott is trying to hide the reality that it is the US bombing in Syria that creates refugees.

“Lastly, the Abbott government, and the Labor Party, have turned a blind eye to the Syrian asylum seekers that have been left rotting in Australian-run detention centres.”

Next article – Taking Issue – No, China’s economy is not going to crash

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