This announcement comes just days after Mr. Abbott rejected the idea of increasing humanitarian funds, which would assist the 13,750 refugees who have already been allowed into Australia this year alone.
The Abbott government has been steadfast on shooting down previous immigration issues. In May 7,000 refugees were fleeing Myanmar and Bangladesh by boat due to persecution. When asked if Australia would assist in the crisis Abbott’s response was “nope, nope, nope”.
This about-face comes on the heels of the United States asking Australia to move their military strength on more ISIS targets in Syria, where the majority of bombing strikes have been centered on Iraq in the last 12 months.
“As a free and democratic country we must stand against those who wish to destroy life and to build a terrorist state, ” Said Abbott.
Since the beginning of the Syrian civil in 2011 over 200,000 lives have been lost and some 4 million have been forced to leave their homes.
No timeframe has been set for identifying resettlement candidates, but Abbott has assured the public that officials will be sent “shortly” to begin the process in the warring region.
Abbott said, “Our focus for these new 12,000 permanent resettlement places will be those people most in need of permanent protection: women, children and families from persecuted minorities who have sought refuge in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.”
Some members of the Australian government have come under fire for remarks claiming that only Christians should be considered for asylum. These statements could be stemming from the fact that approximately 87% of Syrians are Muslim. Cabinet Minister Christopher Pyne tackled those remarks by stating, “Religion is not the issue here. The issue is persecuted ethnic and religious minorities. We have a color blind policy in terms of humanitarian support.”