Queensland MP Ewen Jones has called on his government to allow a one-off intake of thousands of Syrian asylum seekers — something to which the prime minister has so far not agreed.
Australia should resettle up to 50,000 of these refugees, saying community sentiment towards these disadvantaged people has shifted, Mr Jones said.
“I think if we’re going to play in that space we should have a significant number, somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 people,” he told the ABC’s 7.30 program on Monday night.
“This is something that we could do effectively and we could absorb relatively quickly into our country.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made no commitment to Labor’s request for a one-off increase of 10,000 extra places for asylum seekers. Instead, he proposed to increase the proportion of Syrians accepted under the nation’s current immigration quota.
He is awaiting the latest advice from Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, who has met with the UN High Commission for Refugees, before making a final decision — possibly as early as Tuesday.
Meanwhile, New Zealand pledged to accept 150 Syrians under its existing quota as well as 600 extra over the next three years.
Germany has accepted an emergency intake of 20,000; France promised to take 24,000; and Britain 20,000.
The Abbott government is also due to announce whether RAAF bombers will attack targets in Syria, following a formal request from the United States.
-with ABC and agencies