#949 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 24 Aug 2014.
Australia’s decision to quarantine one-third of its humanitarian program for Iraqis and Syrians has come under fire from refugee advocates who see the decision as politically motivated and lacking in compassion.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison last week reserved 4,400 refugee places for Iraqis and Syrians fleeing violence and genocide, but this does not reflect a net increase in the refugee quota.
Churches have cautiously welcomed the decision as many of those on the move are Christians facing the threat of severe religious persecution.
But Refugee Action Coalition spokesperson Ian Rintoul described the government’s actions as
phoney generosity, trying to mask the fact that Australia has cut its refugee intake from 20,000 to 13,750. This is not a humanitarian response, this is hiding the fact that we are accepting fewer refugees than we were.
In contrast, Norway has increased its refugee intake by 1,000, Germany by 10,000 and Sweden has announced it will accept unlimited numbers of refugees.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.