24 July 2015

The Australian Christian Lobby today welcomed the prospect Labor might entrench a more generous refugee intake in its party platform.

Refugee policy will be debated at the ALP’s National Conference in Melbourne this weekend where there is a proposal to make it party policy to support a doubling of Australia’s humanitarian intake to 27,000.

ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said Christians were concerned Australia was not doing enough to respond to what has become the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.

“Christians and other religious minorities are suffering terribly at the hands of Islamic State persecution in the Middle East.

“With borders closing around Iraq and Syria, Australia had a responsibility to do more as part of international efforts to bring people to safety.

Poland recently granted visas to 158 Christians who were airlifted to Warsaw out of harm’s way.

“There is a very real danger that the religious cleansing occurring in Iraq and Syria could leave that region without Christians for the first time in nearly 2000 years.

“I hope ALP delegates support the proposal to make it party policy to double the refugee intake and that this in turn helps the government to consider matching this.

“Bi-partisan support for a generous refugee intake with weighting given to those suffering from the greatest persecution is the policy response Australia should pursue,” Mr Shelton said.

ACL is hosting a symposium entitled Policy Solutions for Persecuted Religious Minorities at the ALP National Conference as part of the ALP Fringe program.

Note: ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton is attending the ALP National Conference as an observer.