Scott Morrison and the Australian Government are turning their backs on the world’s refugees.
There are approximately 80 million people displaced around the world today.
Despite this, the Australian Government has set the annual intake of refugees through the Refugee and Humanitarian Program at its lowest level in decades, at just 13,750 places.
This means that as Ukrainians, Afghans and Rohingya people flee their homes and everything they have ever known, Australia is reducing its capacity to save their lives.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s indication of an intake to resettle Ukrainian refugees that would be additional to Australia’s annual humanitarian program is welcome. However, it is noted with great regret that the same approach has not been applied to the still unfolding situation in Afghanistan – a country in a region where the options for resettlement are far fewer. Just last week, the Taliban announced that they are further extending their indefinite ban on female students above the 6th grade being permitted to return to school.
In contrast, countries such as the United States are now committing to resettling 125,000 refugees every year.
With the Federal Budget soon to be announced, Scott Morrison and the Australian Government have the opportunity to commit to increasing the humanitarian refugee intake to 20,000 places immediately, and to at least 30,000 places annually within three years – in line with global needs and Australia’s capacity. By doing this, the Australian Government can ensure that Australia’s ability to respond to crises in Ukraine, Afghanistan and Myanmar are not limited.
Due to the nature of the current crises, the Australian Government urgently needs to ensure an additional intake, above the current program for refugees seeking safety from these countries, prioritising family reunification.