For release: Monday 8 September 2014

Liberal Member for Longman Wyatt Roy’s call for a doubling of Australia’s humanitarian intake should be heeded, according to the Australian Christian Lobby.

Mr Roy’s call comes a week after the Coalition’s junior partner, The Nationals, voted unanimously in favour of an urgency motion seeking an increase at its Federal Council meeting in Canberra.

ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said 19,500 people had signed ACL’s on-line petition calling for an increase in the wake of the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

“The Government deserves credit for stopping people smuggling, halting the deaths at sea and removing children from detention,” Mr Shelton said.

“But the problem of 51 million displaced people in the world is massive and has been further exacerbated by the persecution of hundreds of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq.

“While Australia’s refugee intake of 13,700 is generous on a per capita basis, much more needs to be done to help suffering people.

“Extraordinary brutality requires extraordinary generosity and Australia, as a relatively wealthy nation, is well-placed to do more.”

Mr Shelton said Mr Roy was right to point out the escalating persecution of Christians in north Africa and the Middle East.

While resettlement of refugees was necessary, the international community should also be ultimately seeking to establish safe havens for Christians and other persecuted religious minorities so that they could return to their homes in Syria and Iraq.

“The Islamists’ goal of purging Christians, Yazidis and other Muslim minorities should not be allowed to stand,” Mr Shelton said.