from Daily Telegraph and Cairnsnews
Liberal MP Ewen Jones defies public opposition and demands 50,000 refugees of unknown origin
GOVERMENT whip Andrew Nikolic fears some of his federal parliamentary colleagues are trying to “out-compassion” each other on refugee intakes in the wake of Syria’s humanitarian crisis.
“What we need to do is act on the basis of evidence, not throw figures out there,” the Liberal MP said today. Any final decision on how to help refugees should be bipartisan, he added.
His comments come after Liberal senator Cory Bernardi told parliament yesterday the refugee crisis in Europe was becoming an “opportunistic cycle” that was masking the true humanitarian need of persecuted Syrians.
The outspoken senator accused Greens leader Richard Di Natale of using the image of a drowned Syrian toddler to evoke emotion.
Senator Bernardi is concerned about a growing trade in fake Syrian passports and Pakistanis ditching their documents and pretending to be from the war-ravaged nation.
“Of course there is a problem, but you cannot just open your borders and allow any number of people come through without the checks,” he said.
Senator Di Natale says Prime Minister Tony Abbott is effectively “turning his back” on some of the world’s most vulnerable.
“Even if Mr Abbott agreed to fast-track the three-year increase in the humanitarian intake from 13,750 to 18,750 it wouldn’t be enough, he told ABC radio today.
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop wouldn’t be drawn on Australia’s refugee intake today but said she felt for those fleeing the terror of Syria. “It’s heartbreaking. I have been there,’ she said.
Appearing on Channel Nine today, Ms Bishop was asked how many asylum seekers fleeing war torn Syria and Iraq would be granted humanitarian visas, or if the number would increase from existing protocol.
“We’re focusing on women and children and families of persecuted minorities who are currently in camps on the borders between Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq,” she told Today host Karl Stefanovic.
Stefanovic asked Ms Bishop if she felt for those fleeing their homelands.
“Absolutely, it’s heartbreaking. I have been there, I’ve been in Lebanon, I’ve been in Jordan, I’ve met with people in these camps.”
Refusing to be drawn on whether Australia would increase its overall refugee intake, Ms Bishop said the crisis in Syria will involve offering temporary and permanent refuge.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has provided an initial report to the government on his talks in Paris with United Nations officials and is on his way to Geneva for further discussions with the UNHCR and International Organisation for Migration.
Labor says at least 10,000 extra places should be offered under the humanitarian and refugee program, aid groups say it should be 30,000 while federal government backbencher Liberal MP Ewen Jones has argued for 50,000.
Liberal MP Ewen Jones in action
“I think if we’re going to play in that space we should have a significant number, somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 people,” Liberal MP Ewen Jones told ABC TV on Monday night.
Ms Bishop said no decision would be made until further advice was received from Mr Dutton and she consulted with foreign ministers especially from the Gulf and Middle East regions.
However she said the government would consider both permanent places and temporary safe haven, similar to that offered during the Kosovo conflict, for those fleeing the violence.
“We will be part of an international response to this unfolding crisis,” she said.
Australia was also working with the international community on resolving the political crisis in Syria and stopping the killing of civilians by Islamic State fighters.
“It will require a military as well as a political solution,” Ms Bishop said.
On a domestic level, there was a need to ensure health care, education, accommodation and other services were available.
Refugee children make death threats and abuse Rockhampton teachers
‘We will have huge problems down the track’….Pauline Hanson on Channel 7 today.
Ms Bishop was making her comments as Pauline Hanson, on Sunrise, was warning that Tony Abbott faced a backlash if the government increased its refugee intake.
“On a per capita basis we take in more refugees than any other country throughout the world,” she said.
“When we see the photos … yes our hearts go out to these people, but let’s step back and ask where is the money coming from?”
The former One Nation leader claimed that refugee children in Rockhampton high schools were abusing and making death threats to their teachers, while their parents were taking jobs off local residents.
“If you want to have peace and harmony in this country you cannot keep increasing the Muslims, Islam, in Australia … we will have huge problems down the track,” she said.
“There are millions of Australians that are concerned about this, so go and speak to the Australian people because that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.
“And I warn Tony Abbott, he will have a backlash if he takes a lot of these people in at the next election, so he better prepared for it.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is considering fast-tracking the government’s planned four-year increase in Australia’s total refugee intake to cater for displaced Syrians stranded in the European humanitarian crisis.
The government had planned to increase the total refugee intake from 13,750 this year to 18,750 by 2018-19, but that rise could be expedited to allow Australia to devote the 5000 extra refugee places created to Syrians.
Sydney’s Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher, meanwhile, has joined calls for the overall refugee intake to be “very substantially” increased.