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REFUGEE WEEK 2017 - Media Release

Today I am moving a motion in the Australian Senate to mark United Nations World Refugee Day, which recognises those people who have sought a safer place to live and now call Australia home.

Refugee Week 2017 is an opportunity to celebrate refugees in Tasmania who are building a better life while contributing their own culture and experiences to our diverse community.

We must never forget that Australia is a nation built on migration.

Refugees and migrants have contributed to all aspects of life in Tasmania – they’re our colleagues, our classmates, our neighbours and our friends who have made Tasmania a better place to live for all of us.

Legends like Claudio Alcorso, who in the 1930s fled from the fascism of Mussolini’s Italy to Hobart and became a paragon of Tasmania’s strong, vibrant and multicultural society.

He helped establish the Australia Council, the Tasmanian Centre for the Arts, the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Council, the Australian Ballet, the Australian Opera and, most importantly, the Moorilla vineyard.

Tasmanians continue to welcome migrants and refugees who have settled and now call our island home, from Kosovars to newly-arrived Syrians.

I believe in a compassionate approach to asylum seekers, not the inhumane policies of the Turnbull government.

Labor recognises the invaluable contribution refugees make to communities across Australia and also understands that we can do more to address the global humanitarian crisis.

At a time when the number of displaced people fleeing from war, conflict or persecution is at its highest since World War II, Australia – as a responsible global citizen – has a role to play in helping with this humanitarian crisis.

That is why Labor took to the last election a commitment to increase Australia’s annual humanitarian intake to 27,000 by 2025, all whilst ensuring refugees can progress with their claims safely and securely.

We have all benefitted from the invaluable contribution refugees have made to our society and during Refugee Week we celebrate the achievements of refugees – whether that is at elite sporting levels, in academia and research or in opening and growing businesses.

I encourage Tasmanians to attend a local Refugee Week event to learn something new about another culture and the national and international issues affecting refugees.

TUESDAY, 20 JUNE 2017

MEDIA CONTACT:             TAIMUS WERNER-GIBBINGS    0429 820 344