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Tuesday, 15 March 2016
Page: 3123

Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (13:47): I rise to speak about the Syrian conflict and the more than a quarter of a million people who, sadly, have lost their lives. I do that knowing that the parties are sitting down in Geneva now to strike for peace, and I wish them well.

However, I also want to note that there are many Syrians of Palestinian background who are not able to access the same resources as other refugees, particularly those registered with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the near East—the UNRWA. Sadly, these people are not able to access the same resources, because they are not eligible for movement to Australia or Canada. I call on the minister, who is here in the chamber, to consider this historical anomaly. They cannot ever come to Australia because they are registered as refugees in another location. I would ask the minister to be blind regarding the history of harm and merely consider each asylum seeker's claim on their merits, rather than rule out these 80,000 Palestinians. This is going back to the creation of Israel in 1948, when they fled the conflict seeking peace and harmony. Now, because of that historical conflict, they are excluded from the opportunity to be resettled outside of this horrible Syrian conflict. Hopefully peace will come from the Geneva peace talks, but, if not, we should consider the claims of these refugees.