Australia's slow refugee intake slammed

Just 3532 of Australia's commitment of 12,000 Syrians, Iraqis reached in 1 year, while Canada taken in 25,000 in 4 months

Australia's slow refugee intake slammed

World Bulletin / News Desk

Twelve months after former prime minister Tony Abbott’s public committed to resettle 12,000 Syrian and Iraq refugees in Australia's borders, just 3532 have made it to the country.

On Friday, six aid agencies accused the government of dragging its feet, and are calling for the remaining 8468 to be resettled by the first quarter of 2017.

“When Tony Abbott promised to take 12,000 more refugees, he said it would reflect ‘Australia’s proud history as a country with a generous heart’,” World Vision CEO Tim Costello said in a joint statement along with the five others.

“But there is a point at which a promise begins to look hollow when it is not honored and Australia has reached that point.”

While the government says the slow pace is security related, insisting checks must be thorough in order to ensure the safety of the community, World Vision, Oxfam, Save the Children, Plan International, Care and Amnesty International have labeled the delay “incomprehensible”.

Speaking to the ABC on Friday, Costello scoffed at the suggestion that background checks were to blame for the pace of resettlement, underlining that Canada had fulfilled is promise to resettle 25,000 refugees from Syria in a four-month period.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton told ABC, however, that he would not agree to the early 2017 deadline, underlining that Canada and Australia have different approaches to their respective refugee programs.

“Canada has a very different approach to the security checks they are conducting and the scrutiny we apply is greater than Canada, there's no question about that," Dutton said.

 Asked if he thought that meant potentially dangerous individuals could have been given shelter by Canada, Dutton said: "I don't have any comment to make about the Canada program because I just don't have any details about the Canada program."

On Thursday, Dutton said in a statement that another 6293 people had been interviewed and assessed as meeting threshold requirements for a visa.

"As a government, we made it clear at the outset this special intake would take time to fulfill, that processing would be thorough, that there would be no shortcuts," he added.

According to a survey released Friday by the care organization Plan International Australia, most Australians believe generosity is a national trait. 

The survey showed three-quarters (74 percent) agreed with the statement that "Australia is a generous nation", with only one in 20 disagreeing.

One in four strongly agreed.

The vast majority (72 percent) believes "Australians always pitch in when someone is in need".

Only one in 20 disagreed and less than 1 percent (only 9 people out of 1000) strongly disagreed with this statement.

Asked their views on how Australia is viewed on the international stage, one in five agreed that "other countries see Australia as a mean-spirited country", but twice as many (42 percent) disagreed or strongly disagreed with this statement.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Eylül 2016, 15:53