Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra on September 9, 2015. Photo: AFP PHOTO / MARK GRAHAM.

Australia to take 12,000 Syrians

Australia will boost its refugee and humanitarian intake by 12,000 permanent places and provide more than $40 million for United Nations efforts to deal with the Syrian crisis.

It’s also understood the green light has been given to RAAF bombers entering Syrian airspace to hit Islamic State targets.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is expected to announce the cabinet decision, endorsed by the party room, in Canberra later on Wednesday.

Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne told reporters Australia was doing much more than Germany, the UK and France.

Mr Pyne said the government wanted to get the process right and make a considered and methodical decision.

The intake would cover a range of persecuted ethnic and religious minorities.

“We have a colour-blind policy in terms of humanitarian support and that will not be changing,” Mr Pyne said in Canberra on Wednesday.

Liberal senator Cory Bernardi told the ABC on Wednesday the party room had been briefed on the decision to increase the humanitarian refugee intake by 12,000 “starting immediately”.

“The focus is going to be on women, children and families from persecuted minorities,” Senator Bernardi said.

However, the 12,000 figure involves bringing forward the already-budgeted increase in the intake scheduled for 2018.

“They’ve brought it forward to today and they’re going to increase it by a couple of thousand. It is good news,” Senator Bernardi said.

 

Source AAP

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