Government criticized for resettling ISIS families in Sydney without community consultation

The centre-left Labor government’s decision to resettle ISIS families to Australia without consultation with the community has faced fierce backlash from the opposition and independent MPs.

This was after the government repatriated four women and 13 Australian children to Australia from internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Syria.

Home Secretary Claire O’Neill October 29 media release The decision to extradite was “informed by an individual assessment following detailed work by national security agencies,” it said.

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Home Secretary Claire O’Neill at the Jobs and Skills Summit in Canberra, Australia on September 2, 2022. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

However, Home Secretary Karen Andrews argued that the government did not comprehensively consider safety and welfare factors when repatriating the brides of ISIS fighters and their children.

She said those in Western Sydney who had to flee ISIS were “deeply concerned that they would end up living with people who were actually related to those who fled abroad”. did.

“They have witnessed firsthand the impact of ISIS on them abroad. They have seen friends killed. You must have seen it,” Andrews said Wednesday.

“There are a lot of women and children in refugee camps in Syria. and where are the children going?”

“What are the costs to taxpayers of monitoring this repatriated cohort? If indeed they are being monitored? What are the details of benefits and integration program access and delivery costs? If any?”

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Liberal MP Karen Andrews speaks during a press conference at the Houses of Parliament in Canberra, Australia, 23 August 2021. (Rohan Thomson/Getty Images)

The comment was echoed by Liberal MP and former immigration minister Alex Hawke, who said the repatriation decision poses a national security risk.

“What we do not agree with, of course, is that this government has brought back the brides of ISIS fighters, women who voluntarily left the country to support the ISIS regime, and who have been forced to kick homosexuals out of buildings. We know that Yazidi women were forced into slavery for months before their deaths, and young boys were forced into mass graves.”

Meanwhile, Fowler Dai Le, a former refugee from Vietnam, West Sydney voter independent MP, said the ISIS threat to the country had slipped into the depths of many Australians’ minds, but members of her community For me, I’m still awake at night.

“We in this House of Commons cannot and will not understand the immense impact this decision by the Government has had on my community. Or go to Fowler and the surrounding area to see for yourself.”

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Independent Member of Parliament Fowler Dai Lee poses for a photo in an Australian flag-inspired dress after delivering her first address in the House of Commons at the Houses of Parliament in Canberra on Monday, 5 September 2022. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

About 10 percent of Fowler’s population fled war-torn Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and fled the ISIS regime, Le added.

At least half of the 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees who arrived in Australia in 2017 settled in southwest Sydney, where unemployment was bucking national trends.

Workers insist on bringing back ISIS bride

O’Neill argued that, as Australian citizens, these women and children “have a permanent right” to re-enter Australia and “have been assessed in a detailed manner and all have been assessed as low risk. ” he added.

“Would it be in the nation’s interest for a large group of Australian children who are likely to one day return to Australia to spend their formative years in filthy refugee camps with little access to health? Is it safer to grow up here with Australian values ​​in a place where you go to school and are exposed daily to radical ideologies that tell you to hate your own country?”

O’Neil will visit communities in Western Sydney to hear from community groups traumatized by the ISIS state, a move welcomed by Fowler MP Dai Le.

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Afghan security forces participate in the ongoing operation against ISIS terrorists in the Achin district of Nangarhar province on November 5, 2019. (Noorullah Shirzada/AFP via Getty Images)

MacArthur’s Labor MP Mike Freelander accused the opposition of politicizing the issue, saying: “Of course the women did something wrong, but many of them were barely children.”

“Most children suffer from stunting, malnutrition, skin infections, parasitic infections, iron deficiency, and B12 deficiency. They are severely traumatized. Their learning is significantly impaired. They are subjected to physical and psychological violence every day, seven days a week.”

According to Save the Children, an estimated 7,300 children “live in camps under the protection of their ISIS-affiliated mothers, who enthusiastically indoctrinate them with ISIS ideology and are killed in combat. Or instilling a desire to take revenge on their captive fathers.”

United Nations Refugee Agency People living in IDP camps are legally under the protection of their own governments, even if they fled for similar reasons as refugees, including armed conflict and generalized violence.

Nina Nguyen


Nina Nguyen is a reporter based in Sydney. She covers Australian news with a focus on social, cultural and identity issues. She is fluent in Vietnamese. Please contact her at [email protected]