Dear Tony Abbott: We can do more. We must do more.

Unless we do something, more bodies will be washing ashore.

There were tears today as Austria and Germany threw open their borders to thousands of exhausted asylum seekers.

Germans welcomed the asylum seekers with clapping, cheering and hugs. In Austria, volunteers rushed to pass warm clothes, shoes and cigarettes through the doors of refugee-filled trains stopped at platforms.

As weary families crossed the border, their wounds were treated by Red Cross doctors. “We have treated a two-day-old gunshot wound. We’ve seen eye injuries caused by stun grenades. We’ve seen children with severe bruises,” a doctor told The Guardian.

The German Chancellor has agreed to take in 800,000 refugees this year, four times as many as it did in 2014. She has cancelled some bureaucratic checking processes for Syrian refugees and cancelled the deportation of all Syrians from her country.

Refugees at railway stations are chanting “Germany, Germany”. Armed only with a train ticket to Munich, one asylum seeker told Newsweek: “I want to live in a country that will give me security, freedom and a future for my family.”


Germany is leading the world in compassion for the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Syria and other troubled regions around the world.

How does Australia compare to Germany’s offer of 800,000 humanitarian visas?

This year, we’ll be providing a safe home for 13,750 refugees.

This year, Australian will provide a home for only 13,750 refugees.

Today, there are at least 50 million people who have been forced out of their homes or their countries. It’s the highest number of people fleeing conflict, persecution and violence since World War II.

And this year, Australia’s humanitarian program has room for 13,750 people to be resettled in Australia.

A country as big as ours, as wealthy, as generous, will accept just 13,750 refugees. To put that in perspective, Australia will give out five million visas in total this year. There will be over 120,000 skilled migrant visas for people to work in industries where there is a shortage of labour, and over 185,000 people move here permanently as migrants.

But for people fleeing fear, leaving their homes with nothing but the hope that they will find a safe place for their family, there are only 13,750 places.

“Tony Abbott said that Australia would increase the proportion of refugees that this country accepts from Syria. But that doesn’t mean that Australia will accept more refugees.”

Today, Tony Abbott said that Australia would increase the proportion of refugees that this country accepts from Syria. But that doesn’t mean that Australia will accept more refugees – it just means that more of the refugee intake will come from Syria.

When the Abbott Government came to power, it actually reduced refugee intake from 20,000 visas.

Just looking at the pictures of German citizens welcoming Syrian refugees, it is clear that Germans are proud of their country.

If Australia fails to step up and act to protect the world’s most vulnerable people, can we say the same?

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