Bill Shorten proposes Australian government to accept more refugees.
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Bill Shorten proposes Australian government to accept more refugees.

“I want us to accept more refugees, and treat refugees more humanely.” Federal Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten has caused a stir during his speech at Saturday’s ALP National Conference by addressing the controversial issue of refugees and asylum seeker boats.  Mr Shorten has outlined a number of proposed changes to immigration policies and implored members of the ALP to embrace a “new direction, for Labor’s immigration policies.”

Some of the policies spoken about by Mr Shorten included:

  • Delegating $450 million over three years to the United Nations refugee agency, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • Doubling the refugee intake by 2025 to 27,000
  • Abolishing Temporary Protection Visas
  • Introducing legislation to impose mandatory reporting of child abuse in detention centres
  • Reinstating references in the Migration Act to the UN refugees convention
  • Continuing to support the policy of turning back boats of asylum seekers

The issue of the coalitions policy of Turning Back the Boats still continues to cause controversy so much so that the National Conference in which Mr Shorten spoke at, was interrupted by protestors against the policy. Mr Shorten pledged his commitment to the policy and acknowledged the concerns, “The challenge before us is real — and the questions we grapple with are as elemental as life and death”. He continued to enforce that overall the approach to refugees and asylum seekers should be looked upon differently. “I stand here determined, determined for us to be a welcoming, compassionate, kind and safe destination”.

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