Australia has helped in the past ‘and I expect it will again’: Paterson
Liberal Senator James Paterson says Australia is a very generous nation in welcoming people from persecution and “I expect that we will be again in this scenario” for the people of Hong Kong.
The federal cabinet is considering a plan to provide safe access to Australia for Hong Kong nationals fleeing their country following sweeping new national security laws imposed by China.
The government was reportedly favouring using the skilled migrant visa program to resettle Hong Kong citizens rather than a safe haven visa to slow the intake due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Paterson told Sky News, for the people of Hong Kong, the change in policy now “threatens their freedoms”.
“My view is we should make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible from Hong Kong to make it to come to Australia that we can accept within reason,” he said.
“Obviously we can’t accept millions of people but we should do our part, along with the united kingdom, the United States, Taiwan, many other countries … New Zealand”.
He said while the government’s motivation is “clearly” humanitarian there could also be some “economic dividends”.
“Obviously the people from Hong Kong are highly skilled, highly entrepreneurial wonderful potential migrants to Australia”.