Dean Smith
Dean Smith

Liberal Senator Dean Smith announced plans last week to ask Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to include LGBTI refugees from Syria and Iraq in Australia’s intake of people.

“Find place amongst those 12,000 refugees for LGBT people”

He wants the PM to consider adding LGBTI individuals to the Australian application process including women, children, families and other minorities facing persecution.

Australia’s current intake of refugees stands at 13,750 and Australia has pledged to accept 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Senator Smith said on Thursday to the Senate, “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.”

He added that he will “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 became passionate about this issue after the UN Security Council’s first meeting on extremist attacks against LGBTI people in the Middle East was held in August.

He said, “As a gay Australian, my attention has been drawn to those issues and also the plight of LGBTI people in Iraq and Syria. If the UN can have that discussion then we can absolutely have that discussion. We can join them in that discussion.”