THE Liberal Party’s only openly gay federal parliamentarian has said he would ask Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to include LGBTI refugees in Australia’s intake of people fleeing the Syrian civil war and ISIS-controlled areas of both Syria and Iraq.
According to The Australian, Western Australia Liberal Senator Dean Smith said he planned to urged the PM to consider them in Australia’s application process just like women, children, families and other persecuted minorities.
[showads ad=MREC]The news comes soon after the newly-elected Liberal government in Canada announced they would specifically seek LGBT refugees — along with women, children and families — as part of their own refugee intake.
Australia has said it would absorb 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees to help quell the refugee crisis that has gripped Europe for much of this year. That figure is in addition to the current overall intake of 13,750.
In a speech to the Senate on Thursday, Smith said: “I hope that this government in finding safe refuge for persecuted minorities will find place amongst those 12,000 refugees for LGBT people whose lives are being put at risk because of their sexual orientation and because of the existence of these violent extremist groups across the Middle East.
“I’ll be asking the new Prime Minister to make a place in that 12,000 refugee intake for LGBTI being persecuted in the Middle East — in Iraq, in Syria — by terrorist organisations like Daesh.”
Smith told The Australian he was drawn to the issue after the UN Security Council held its first ever meeting on extremist attacks against LGBTI people in the Middle East in August.
“As a gay Australian, my attention has been drawn to those issues and also the plight of LGBTI people in Iraq and Syria,” Smith said.
“If the UN can have that discussion then we can absolutely have that discussion. We can join them in that discussion.”[showads ad=FOOT]