“Australia is a country which has always taken it’s international obligations seriously…”
With those words Tony Abbott pledged Australia to accept and care for 12, 000 refugees over the next two years.
That apparently generous offer came early in September, just days before the Liberal leadership spill saw him removed from the Prime Ministry.
But controversy surrounds the number. Paul Power, CEO of The Refugee Council of Australia, questions the numbers, suggesting it was a smoke and mirrors act to make the Government look good on the world stage.
“The Abbott Government went to the last election promising, very prominently promising, to cut the humanitarian program as a cost saver,” Mr Power told The Newsroom.
“But had the policy remained as it was before [the Coalition] were elected we would have already had more than 12,000 refugees settled.”
Malcolm Turnbull, who deposed Mr Abbott, has reiterated the Liberal party’s promise to help Syrian refugees and immigrants with resources and accommodation.
But exactly how is this process going to take place and what is the current emotional state of the Syrian immigrants who have been displaced?
The Newsroom’s investigative team led by Lily Mayers has interviewed some of the people working on the ground to help refugees settle in Australia to explain what such migration implies for families and communities. Our team also met some of those new Australians who shared their stories, their fears and their hopes.
This special presentation was produced and presented by the Newsroom Investigations Team: Lily Mayers, Alexandra Cheevers, Jessica Best and Ashleigh Cant. Sam Jenkins and Zoe Hugon contributed to the work.
Top image of Syrian children from the Refugee Council of Australia’s website (photographer/source not stated).