Today Tony Abbott made two big decisions that directly affect the lives of Syrians caught in the middle of a vicious and complex conflict that has devastated their country for years.
There’s good news — after days of Australians standing up for compassion by attending vigils, signing petitions and pressuring the government to change its mind, it did. Today the Prime Minister announced that Australia will accept 12,000 Syrian refugees above our current intake. This is a welcome decision that will change the lives of 12,000 Syrians.
However, some government backbenchers continue to push for Australia to only accept Christian refugees. The Greens will not stand for discrimination on who is granted refuge based on their religion or any other factor.
But there’s bad news too. Tony Abbott decided that Australia will bomb Syria. This will only make a very bad situation worse. It won’t stop ISIS, it won’t make Australians safer and it won’t make Syrians safer. In fact, it’ll force more people to leave Syria in search for safety.
Whilst today brings good news for 12,000 Syrians who have been forced to flee their home in search for safety, Tony Abbott’s decision to bomb Syria rather than provide a long-term plan for stability is dangerous and will only make the situation on the ground worse.
The Greens will continue to fight this decision in and outside of Parliament.