The ABC reported that Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was At a ceremony in Jordan, where he has been visiting the UN’s Zaatari refugee camp, Mr Dutton presented the first four families — including 12 children among them — with their visas for Australia.
There are 600,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan alone. So Australia’s efforts so far represents 0.00003% of the total in Jordan. That’s 1/30000. To put it in perspective, imagine the MCG is full of Syrian refugees. Australia would take three and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton would get his picture on the front page of the newspapers giving them their immigration visas.
It’s almost an obscenity.
It is estimated there are in excess of 3 million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries so Australia’s contribution to date in resettling them is so small as to be almost meaningless.
As of February 2015, Turkey has become the world’s biggest refugee hosting country with 2.1 million Syrian refugees and had spent more than US$6 billion on direct assistance to refugees. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Turkey was worth 799.54 billion US dollars in 2014. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Australia was worth 1453.77 billion US dollars in 2014. The cost of resettling the 12,000 refugees will be approximately $700 million over four years.
In terms of bearing the cost and responsibility of the refugee crisis in the Middle East there are, to quote the great Joe Hockey, there are lifters and leaners.
But Dutton went to make this absolutely objectionable statement:
The Age reports Dutton as saying “The fact that we have a tough border policy in Australia means that we can offer a helping hand and a new life to those Syrians,” he said. “I am very proud of that. The lesson of today reinforces that we have made the right decision. I know as a parent that I would do anything for my children and I know that circumstances that people may have experienced in Syria or Iraq or Afghanistan or wherever it may be … that as a parent you would want to flee that circumstance to do whatever was necessary to put your kids in a better position,” he said.
But when asked about the Government’s border protection policies, he remained steadfast about the fate of Syrians in detention on Nauru and Manus Island.
In one respect he is right, as a parent, or in my case as a grandparent, I would do anything to protect my grandchildren from the horrors of the situation in Syria. I wish I was in a position to do more for those who are trapped there.
But Peter Dutton is in a position to do more. He is the Minister for Immigration and he could be pressing for a much higher intake and much greater speed in processing the applicants.
But he insults everybody’s intelligence when he says that Australia’s tough border policies means that we can “offer a helping hand and a new life to those Syrians.”
This is absolute nonsense. There is no connection between Australian border policies and our ability to accept refugees.
This is a return to the arrogant bull-shit of the Abbott government when the Prime Minister and his ministers expected the Australian public to accept every statement they made even when it defied reason and logic.
Eventually the Australian public got sick of being treated like idiots. The marvellous thing about our democracy is that, without an election, public opinion has effectively removed an elected prime minister.
But Peter Dutton doesn’t seem to have learned the lesson