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.
Wednesday 20th August 2014
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the government’s announcement that 150 asylum seeker children held in residential detention will be released into the community.
ACL’s Managing Director Lyle Shelton said the processing of asylum seekers’ claims have taken too long.
“It has been concerning the length of time asylum seekers – particularly children – have been in mandatory detention. It’s no environment for the weak and vulnerable to be in long term,” Mr Shelton said.
“We welcome this announcement but urge the government to speed up the processing of claims. The inability of asylum seekers to find work is demoralising and demeaning and we need to find a better way to process asylum seekers and resettle refugees,” he said.
Mr Shelton urged the government to increase its humanitarian intake from its currently level of 13,750.
“It is disappointing that the government cut its intake from 20,000 to 13,750 and we want to be a nation that accommodates and welcomes those in need,” Mr Shelton said.
“This is particularly urgent given the sheer number of people fleeing persecution in Iraq and Syria in recent weeks,” he said.
Mr Shelton said he reluctantly supports offshore processing as a way to stop the people smuggling business and prevent deaths at sea.
For release: Tuesday April 22, 2014
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the government’s announcement that it will contribute $20 million to provide schooling for Syrian refugee children but says more should be done given the scale of the crisis.
ACL’s Managing Director Lyle Shelton said whilst the government’s pledge is commendable, the enormity of the humanitarian crisis in Syria requires a lift in our humanitarian intake from 13,700.
“So far, around 2.7 million people have been displaced as a result of the continuing crisis in Syria and 140,000 have died in what is one of the world’s biggest humanitarian crises since World War II.”
Mr Shelton said cuts to Australia’s Millennium Development Goal promise on overseas aid would also restrict our ability to respond.
“We are a prosperous country by comparison and have a moral responsibility to provide greater aid to those suffering around the world, especially given the large number of displaced persons in this instance,” Mr Shelton said.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop yesterday announced that $20 million would go towards a joint Australia, United States, United Kingdom and United Nations initiative to provide schooling for almost one million Syrian children.
Earlier this month, ACL expressed disappointment at a senate inquiry report recommendation to extend the time by which Australia increases its overseas aid in line with its bi-partisan MDG promise.
Mr Shelton said that the escalating number of asylum seekers from Syria meant a refugee intake of just 13,700 was too low for an adequate response to the sheer numbers of people displaced by the Syrian and other conflicts.
For release: Friday 13th September 2013
The Australian Christian Lobby supports Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young’s legal action again Zoo Magazine for objectifying her.
ACL spokeswoman Wendy Francis said the magazine demeaned the Senator and by extension all women who were seeking to make a serious contribution to public debate.
“Zoo magazine, obviously short of ideas and creativity, simply decided they could separate the senator’s head from her body and replace her body with that of a bikini model,” Ms Francis said.
“Who gains from this? Zoo magazine must think they do.
“Who loses? Well, apart from the obvious victim of disrespect, Ms Hanson-Young, every other Australian woman, old and young alike, who aspire to be taken seriously in their chosen profession.
“Not only did the cut-and-paste photographic job demean Ms Hanson-Young, it also demeaned one of the most important issues facing our country.”
The article, titled "ZOO's Asylum Seeker Bikini Plan" was published in July 2012, a week after the Senator addressed the Senate regarding Australia's humanitarian intake of asylum-seekers.
But NSW Supreme Court Justice Lucy McCallum does not agree, saying yesterday at the hearing into the matter that she did not believe the photo made the senator look incompetent or immature.
Justice McCallum, however, granted Senator Hanson-Young leave to argue her case in front of a jury. The case will be heard at a later date.
“I’m sure the jury will have no trouble seeing what Zoo Magazine is doing for the status of women through this sort of activity,” Ms Francis said.
Monday, 13th August, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby has welcomed the Independent expert panel’s recommendations on asylum seekers, as reported in Angus Houston’s briefing to the press.
The ACL’s Managing Director Jim Wallace said the recommendations strikes the right balance between compassion and the need to end the people smuggler’s trade.
“The ACL welcome’s the panel’s advice to process refugees on Nauru and PNG’s Manus Island and to continue to develop the Malaysian solution as a pilot model for a regional solution, provided, necessary protections can be ensured,” he said.
Mr Wallace said the committee’s recommendations on increasing the refugee intake to 20,000 immediately is a sensible idea, which is Labor policy and has been considered by the Coalition.
“The ACL has long advocated that Australia raise its humanitarian intake and that that be sourced from refugee camps, which would send a clear message that those in most need, the UNHCR-designated refugees, will be treated with real priority and generosity,” he said.
Mr Wallace said it was imperative for the Parliament to act on these recommendations and condemned the Greens for continuing to demand onshore processing when it clearly provides the magnet that sustains the dangerous people smuggling industry.
“It’s time for all parties to use this opportunity for genuine reform by government - too many people have died between Indonesia and Christmas Island for the political impasse over asylum seeker policy to be allowed to continue any longer,” he said.