Statement on Syrian refugee intake

A number of media outlets have sought my views on the Government policy of accepting 12,000 Syrian genuine refugees over a period of time.

 The tragedy in Paris, a city I know and love, should never be far from our minds.

 But providing the Australian immigration system and humanitarian intake program continues to be very carefully, cautiously and methodically implemented, then I have no hesitation in welcoming genuine refugees as new Australian citizens.

 During the Howard years, careful checks were carried out on all new arrivals. In the six years of Labor however, Australian borders were thrown open, and many boat people destroyed passports and other personal papers and the Labor government, urged on by the Greens, welcomed this open slather approach.

 Under the Coalition government, we have returned to a very careful assessment of the background of would-be residents of Australia.

 It was only six weeks ago that every newspaper in Australia and every ABC news bulletin and current affairs program was demanding Australia take unlimited numbers of those victims of the Syrian tragedy, and these calls were supported, and in many cases initiated by, Labor and the Greens.

 Australia very generously agreed to take 12,000 genuine refugees with some focus on persecuted minorities.  And providing Australia continues with its exhaustive and careful selection process then I have no reason to change my mind on my humanitarian support of genuine refugees willing to be part of Australia and, over time, integrate into the Australian way of life.

 This is one of the reasons why I have supported the approach by various Councils in my constituency who seek refugees anxious to make a new start in a new land. 

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