House debates

Monday, 8 February 2016

Statements by Members


1:54 pm

Photo of Michelle RowlandMichelle Rowland (Greenway, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications) Share this | Hansard source

Last Thursday, a draft document prepared for the Turnbull government's National Security Committee was leaked to ABC's Lateline program. This latest leaked document verges on bigotry and racism, extraordinarily singling out a specific ethnic group, namely the Lebanese Muslim community, as a migration concern. It is no surprise then that the Australian Lebanese community expressed their dismay at this document, with the Sydney Morning Herald reporting

Lebanese Australians have expressed fury over a leaked federal government document that singles them out as prone to extremism, calling it 'dangerous and divisive'.

As someone whose husband is Australian Lebanese and someone who is proud to have a daughter of mixed Lebanese ancestry, I find this document personally offensive.

The language used in this document has the potential to damage community harmony and threatens to undo the good work done by community organisations, law enforcement and, may I also include, Senator Fierravanti-Wells. Perhaps the most concerning, though, is the proposal to close the door to permanent resettlement for refugees. This proposal smashes the contract between Australia and those to whom we are seeking to give a new life. Critically, these proposals will make the settlement journey of recently arrived refugees impossibly difficult.

Making refugees feel excluded from the moment they arrive in Australia is not the way to fight extremism. People in the Humanitarian Program should be permanent residents. Refugees seeking to come here cannot be left in limbo, and these proposals should be completely rejected.


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