PM walking the immigration tightrope

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is walking a tightrope of adverse public sentiment in regards to immigration laws in Australia.

He was in New York this week attending a summit convened by US President Barack Obama to discuss refugees.

More than 65 million people around the world are currently displaced – or around three times the population of our ‘lucky’ country. It’s a shocking statistic.

President Obama called on wealthy countries such as Australia to do more to help with the refugee crisis. Mr Turnbull told the summit that Australia would increase its humanitarian intake to 18,750 permanently – up from the previous figure of 13,750.

This new figure makes Australia one of the generous countries in terms of taking refugees on a per capita basis in the world and should appease those from the Left of politics in Australia.

As part of the new agreement, Mr Turnbull also pledged Australia’s involvement in a new program to resettle refugees from Central America currently housed in a Costa Rican resettlement centre.

Back home, Mr Turnbull’s recently returned Coalition government is under pressure from some quarters to be more generous in terms of resettling asylum seekers.

He’s also under pressure to shut down our offshore detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru, which have been at the centre of claims of both physical and sexual assaults. Not everyone shares that conviction.

The re-emergence of firebrand Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party certainly surprised most political commentators. In its home state of Queensland, the anti-immigration party even out-polled the Greens at the recent federal election.

This week, an Essential poll showed that half of all Australians want to ban Muslim immigration.

According to the poll, 49 per cent of Australians are in support of a ban on Muslim immigration, citing an increased fear of terrorism. That should concern all moderate-thinking people.

All sides of politics need to work together to dispel the myths surrounding extremism and any potential relation to immigration.

Showing compassion to people in desperate need of our help regardless of where they are from should always be front and centre of our immigration policy.

It should not be dictated by our misplaced fears and irrational misconceptions.

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