Page 3162 - Week 10 - Thursday, 17 September 2015

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With this in mind, there is a role for our jurisdiction to take the same care and sense of justice that we show to people in our community into a continued national conversation around increasing Australia’s humanitarian settlement commitments. Once the 12,000 additional entrants begin to arrive, we will see the ability and the willingness of our communities to accommodate these people and to keep open the option of extending the program further.

As one of the foundations of modern Australian society, a generous and compassionate approach to refugees is always something that we should be striving for, and I commend the motion to the Assembly.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Urban Renewal and Minister for Tourism and Events) (10.35): I thank Minister Berry for bringing forward this motion this morning, a motion that goes to the heart of what our city stands for. The images that we have all seen over the past weeks have undoubtedly upset and distressed us all. People are fleeing for their lives to escape murderous ideologies and dictators who are more than willing to sacrifice their own people to remain in power.

We see mothers, fathers and grandparents forced to pick up their children and leave their homes, often with only the clothes on their backs. They are simply desperately trying to reach a safe place in countries where they will not be persecuted or caught in a murderous crossfire of competing armies. Which of us here would say that we would not do the same thing?

It is now well past time for Europe and the rest of the world to come to their aid and to offer them safe, permanent refuge where new lives can be made for themselves and their families, with the opportunity to contribute to a society and to prosper.

I am proud that Canberra is such a welcoming and inclusive community. We have a long and proud tradition of helping those in need, whether it be those resettling after the mass displacements of World War II, people fleeing the Vietnam War, and more recently families escaping the horrors of the Sudanese civil war and the ethnic cleansing perpetrated in the Kosovo conflict.

We have opened our arms as a city because Canberrans recognise our common humanity and our first instinct to help those who need it most. Each and every wave of resettlement has made Canberra a stronger, more inclusive and more vibrant place. Some of our most prominent and loved Canberra residents first came to Australia as refugees. They demonstrate that an inclusive community such as ours provides not only an opportunity to start a new life but an opportunity to give back to the city.

Today we face another international humanitarian disaster. We will again act to welcome refugees to our city and to provide them with the care and support they need to make their home here. We are not alone in wanting to help. It has been incredibly heartening to see the national debate shift from how we can stop it being our problem to focus on what more we can do. There is no doubt that in recent weeks the real

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