Some of the world’s poorest, most war-torn countries are welcoming more refugees than Australia, despite the Federal Government’s high praise of its own welfare efforts, shows analysis of the relevant data.
The latest United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) figures reveal that several countries with their own civil strife and human rights problems – such as Lebanon, Sudan, Republic of Congo, Yemen and Chad – are admitting more refugees than Australia.
In Australia, 14,350 refugees were recognised or resettled during 2014. That made up 0.43 per cent of the global total, with Australia ranked 22nd overall, 27th on a per capita basis and 46th relative to total national GDP.
That did not stop Liberal senator Cory Bernardi claiming on Monday that Australia had “the largest intake per capita in the world” and needs to maintain a “measured humanitarian program”.
He also called on the Middle East to do more to house the tens of thousands of refugees fleeing the bloody Syrian civil war and making their way across to Europe to find refuge for a better life.
But according to the UNHCR figures, many Middle Eastern nations have been doing more than their fare share when it comes to accepting refugees.
In fact, on a per capita basis, Australia accepts just 0.6 refugees per 1000 people. That’s a long way behind top nation Lebanon, which accepts 73.3 per 1000 people.
Violence and civil war in Syria has displaced millions since it began in 2011. The death toll during the war was estimated to be more than 240,000.
In the 2011-12 financial year, Australia granted nine Syrian nationals humanitarian and refugee visas.
In 2012-13 it grew to 98, then to 1007 (of 20,000 applicants) in 2013-14 and 2232 in 2014-15.
Labor leader Bill Shorten is calling for an extra 10,000 refugee and humanitarian places to be offered in Australia as the Middle East crisis grows.
The Opposition has challenged the government to spend $100 million in humanitarian assistance.
“I believe at a moment such as this, Australians expect our parliament to show leadership, decency and compassion,” Mr Shorten said.
Mr Bernardi was slammed for claiming refugees from around the world were ‘opportunistically’ using the Syrian crisis as a way to flee their own country.
He accused Greens leader Richard Di Natale of using the image of a drowned Syrian toddler to evoke emotion and said the boy’s death was not related to the Syrian crisis because the family had been living in Turkey for years and were in no danger.
The Greens leader called on the Abbott government to allow an extra 20,000 refugees into the country, while taking a swipe at the plan to expand air strikes into Syrian territory to combat Islamic State terrorists.