Australia has upped its humanitarian program, increasing the number of refugees by 6000 annually to just under 19,000, effective 2018. Announcing this at President Barack Obama’s invitation-only summit on refugees in New York, prime minister Malcolm Turnbull also revealed Australia will take refugees from Central America as part of a US-led program. Australia is also spending $350 million towards helping refugee efforts in Middle East countries close to Syria and Iraq.
This latest move comes at a point when Australia is seeking a deal with the US, Canada, New Zealand and other Western nations to provide a home for refugees currently stranded at offshore centres on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Under Australia’s tough border protection policy asylum seekers that seek to reach Australia by boat are taken to one of these processing centres for assessment on the basis that even if they are judged to be refugees they will not be settled in Australia. The policy has stopped the people smuggling trade, with no boat arrivals or deaths at sea for more than two years.
Australians have always welcomed immigrants, and is a multicultural country, but an opinion poll published today has 49 per cent of Australians opposing Muslim immigration. This is partly because the security services have identified 500 potential Islamic terrorists in the country, but more likely because of opposition to those elements seeking to impose Sharia law within their communities.