During today’s press conference, Abbott said the newly announced numbers will be a one-off increase over Australia’s 2015 humanitarian refugee intake of 13,750, and all the refugees will be granted permanent residency.
“The world is facing the worst refugee crisis since World War II so while the government’s decision is progress, Australia could still play a much more significant role in alleviating the problem”, Mr Costello said.
“This marks the next phase of Australia’s contribution to the global coalition effort to disrupt, degrade and ultimately defeat the Daesh death cult”, Mr Abbott said.
“We will directly pay for the support of 240,000 displaced people in countries neighbouring Syria and Iraq through the UNHCR and other agencies”, Abbott said.
He also said the decision to expand air strikes was in response to a formal request from Washington.
The Abbott government is to extend Australian airstrikes from Iraq into Syria, although critics insist the move will worsen the migrant crisis and “aggravate extremism”. “That’s what our armed forces are doing in Iraq and we need to do that in Syria too”, Abbott said.
“Iraq is threatened by Daesh forces based and supplied from Syria and Syria is unable or unwilling to act against those forces”.
“I emphasize that our aircraft will be targeting Daesh, not the Assad regime, evil though it is”, the prime minister said.
“The women and children in camps, in particular the women and children from persecuted minorities in camps, they deserve a compassionate response from Australia and that is exactly what they will get from this government”, he said.
The Australian government will also provide an extra $44 million to assist the United Nations refugee agency with assisting refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.
“As a free and democratic country we must stand against those who wish to destroy life and to build a terrorist state, ” Said Abbott. However, global pressure appears to have forced the Australian government to do more. The extremist organisation could not be defeated in Iraq without being defeated in Syria, he said.
The opposition Labor Party was among the critics, calling for an additional 10,000 refugees to be resettled from Syria.
Calls for Christians to be given priority among Syrian refugees were branded as “discriminatory” and reinforcing a sense Muslims “are always going to be vilified in the Australian community”, the country’s highest Sunni authority has said.