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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 41671

Remarks, Refugee Week 2018

Photo of Turnbull, Malcolm

Turnbull, Malcolm

Period of Service: 15/09/2015 to 24/08/2018

More information about Turnbull, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 20/06/2018

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 41671

Location: Canberra


Well thank you Lisa and thank you Kaw Doh, for your story and you’re an inspiration. Wonderful to be joined here by Ministers, Minister Tudge and Dutton, the Assistant Minister David Gillespie and of course Melissa who has just introduced me and all of our refugees here today. Thank you Auntie Tina for your very, very warm welcome to country.

Yanggu gulanyin ngalawiri, dhunayi, Ngunawal dhawra. Wanggarralijinyin mariny bulan bugarabang.

Which means in the Ngunawal language, thank you, we acknowledge we’re here on Ngunawal country and honour their elders past and present. It’s wonderful to be here to mark Refugee Week 2018. Australia would be a very different nation and a poorer one, were it not for the contribution of refugees over so many years. All of us benefit, here in this, the most successful multicultural society in the world, from the contribution of every new generation of refugees that arrive on our shores. During this week, we reflect on your courage, your enterprise and strength and your sacrifice. We reflect not just on the often tough journey you’ve had to come here and the very challenging, dangerous environments you’ve fled, the perils that you’ve faced. But also as Kaw Doh was describing, on the great contribution you’re making. Thank you Kaw, you’ve talked about your life in a refugee camp in Thailand after fleeing the civil war in Myanmar. You can to Australia through our humanitarian program in 2005 and you went to Nhill, a cold place compared to Myanmar. But not a cold place in terms of the warmth in the community.

Thank you for the way in which you’ve acknowledged the support, the love, the opening of hearts and homes to you and other Karen refugees who’ve brought life and energy of their own to add to that of all the people there in Nhill. You are a great Australian story. We salute you and we thank you.

I know there are many more stories like that in the room today. There’s Sinan Bayood’s story. He’ll preform for us today I hope, or have we missed Sinan Bayood’s performance. We missed it did we? Oh, can you do a few notes for us maybe?


Sorry, we had to go and vote! Anyway look, our humanitarian resettlement program began on a large scale in 1947 after the Second World War. Our focus shifted naturally, as the focus of the tragic conflicts and the displacement of persons has changed with circumstances around the world. More recently we’ve resettled thousands of people from Iraq and Syria in that conflict zone. Our approach has always been caring and compassionate, principled and pragmatic. Now, we have one of the most generous permanent refugee programs in the world. It is consistently in the world’s top three. Our offshore intake last financial year was the biggest for three decades, with more than 20,000 visas granted. The important thing is that we decide who comes in on our refugee and humanitarian programs. The reason Australian support our refugee and humanitarian programs, is because they know that their government, which they elect and which is accountable to them, determines who comes here. We do not outsource our refugee program, our migration program, the integrity of our borders, to people smugglers. Our strong border protection policy is the foundation of the security which enables us to be consistently one of the world’s most generous countries in terms of resettling refugees.

As I said at the outset, we are the most successful multicultural society in the world. Peter Dutton is going to speak after me and Peter is joined by the Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Alan Tudge.  His Department are really together, with Home Affairs, all of them, are involved in a complex but vitally important nation building task. Because what we’re doing with our migration program and with our humanitarian program, is ensuring that we continue to build and strengthen this remarkable nation of ours. In a time when the world is full of so much conflict and where people of different faiths and different ethnic background and cultural backgrounds, who for generations have been able live together reasonably well, reasonably harmoniously, now apparently cannot – here in Australia we’ve been able to continue to deliver in the midst of all of that diversity, such harmony. That is a great credit to all the people here and so many of millions of others around the nation.

This is a remarkable achievement. It’s not an accident. It’s a combination of strong borders, compassionate and wise humanitarian program and of course, very targeted settlement programs when people come to Australia. There is a lot of thought over generations that has gone into this. As we continue to build and strengthen our remarkable nation, ancient and new, we acknowledge the most ancient human civilization in the world, that of our First Australians. Yet our nation is as new as a baby in the arms of her a migrant mother. So, it’s a remarkable achievement and we couldn’t do it without you. We’re going to keep on ensuring that our migration program, our humanitarian program, combines compassion and a commitment to the values of our multicultural nation.

Thanks very much.


Transcript 41671