THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG
THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
THE HON RICHARD MARLES
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND BORDER PROTECTION
MEMBER FOR CORIO
RESPONSE TO SYRIAN REFUGEE CRISIS
Labor welcomes the Abbott Government’s announcement today that it will provide an additional 12,000 places for people fleeing persecution in the Middle East.
Australians called on Mr Abbott and his Government to do more – and this response is welcome.
At last, Tony Abbott has recognised that Australia has a role to play in dealing with this significant humanitarian crisis that has seen the biggest number of displaced people since the Second World War.
We welcome the fact that Tony Abbott has been forced to change his mind and these places will be on top of Australia’s annual humanitarian intake.
Tony Abbott must commit to making these places available this financial year.
It is vital that Australia offers these additional humanitarian places on a needs basis, without qualification or discrimination. Australia must be guided by the UNHCR to determine who is placed.
While Labor acknowledges the Abbott Government’s commitment of an extra $AUD44 million to the UNHCR, we believe that contribution falls considerably short of what is required for this crisis.
Labor has made it clear that based on need, an extra $AUD100 million is required to aid humanitarian relief efforts effectively in response to the Syrian crisis.
There is a high amount of goodwill within the Australian community, and we renew our call on the Abbott Government to convene a meeting of state, community and religious representatives to harness the many offers of assistance that have been made.