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Letter to Luke Hartsuyker (and reply) - 23 February 2016 performance on settling Syrian Refugees

Hi Mike

The plan was always to resettle the additional refugees from the Syrian crisis over an extended period of time, not necessarily by the end of June. I’m not familiar with the Canadian resettlement process, so I cannot make an informed comment about their approach, but I know the Australian Government is taking a deliberately cautious approach to ensure that health and security checks are done properly. The Australian Government is also providing support for around 240,000 displaced people in refugee camps near Syria, in addition to Australia’s existing foreign aid commitments through bodies like the UN.

Kind regards,

Luke Hartsuyker MP
Member for Cowper

From: Mike []
Sent: Tuesday, 23 February 2016 2:57 PM
To: Hartsuyker, Luke (MP)
Subject: Syrian refugees

Dear Mr Hartsuyker,

In the news last week, I learned that the Canadian government has welcomed 20,490 Syrian refugees to the country in the past three months. They expect to reach their interim target of 25,000 in the months ahead.
Our then-Prime Minister Abbott, under intense public pressure, reluctantly agreed that Australia would accept 12,000 Syrian refugees in the current financial year. Sadly, since then, there has been very little concrete action, with the result that, to date, we have admitted just 26 people from this war-torn region. I have to ask you this question: If the Canadians can carry out the necessary  security and other checks prior to the refugees arriving on Canadian soil, why is it that so far our government has done so little? Millions of Syrians have been forced to flee their country, and the numbers continue to grow day by day. Their plight is urgent. Our government made a commitment to assist with this crisis, but has spectacularly failed to deliver. Why the foot-dragging on such a scale?
I urge you, as my elected representative, to press the government to make good its commitment to the Syrian refugees and to allocate the necessary resources to ensure that the 12,000 refugees do in fact arrive in Australia before the end of the financial year.
Yours sincerely,

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