Malcolm Turnbull has met with Australian business owners in New York.
MALCOLM Turnbull has addressed a one day United Nations refugee summit in New York, defending Australia’s tough border protection policies, saying controlling migration was critical if the public was going to accept large scale migration.
The Prime Minister told gathered world leaders that “at a time when global concern around immigration and border control is rising, the need to build community support for migration has never been clearer.”
“Australia’s experience bears this out.
“Addressing irregular migration, through secure borders, has been essential in creating confidence that the Government can manage migration in a way that mitigates risks and focuses humanitarian assistance on those who need it the most.”
The speech at the summit, one of two refugee summits Mr Turnbull will attend this week, was immediately condemned a lost opportunity by an Australian children’s charity.
Save the Children Australia, chief executive Paul Ronalds accused the PM of promoting an isolationist deterrence-based model to asylum seeker policy.
“Mr Turnbull should have instead used his moment on the world stage to announce an increase to Australia’s humanitarian intake, which many organisations believe should be lifted to at least 30,000 refugees per year by 2018-19 to reflect the growing global need and Australia’s capacity,” Mr Ronalds said.
But while Mr Turnbull’s speech will be seen as hard-line by refugee advocates in Australia it was mild stuff compared to the speech to this summit delivered by the Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto.
Mr Sizijjarto said Hungary, which has attracted European condemnation for building a fence to keep out refugees, would respect international law because a right to safe life is a fundamental human right.
But he said “picking a country where you would like to live in is not among fundamental human rights.
“I’m coming from Europe and I’m coming from Hungary, a country which was overrun by 400,000 illegal migrants last year, attacking our police, violating our borders and breaking our laws.”
The hard line Hungarian approach is part a growing international push against unregulated mass migration.
In her speech to the summit UK Prime Minister Theresa May said that the uncontrolled mass migration we are seeing across the world today is not in the interests of migrants, who are exposed to exploitation and danger, nor the interests of refugees for whom they took up needed resources.
Echoing Australian approach to migration Mrs May said: “We need to be clear that all countries have the right to control their borders and protect their citizens and be equally clear that countries have a duty to manage their borders, to reduce onward flows of illegal and uncontrolled migration”.
Mr Turnbull will attend a meeting this evening hosted Mrs May aimed a combating modern slavery.
Earlier in the day Mr Turnbull again begged America’s political leaders to ratify the trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
Speaking from the spiritual heart of American business, the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, the PM said US approval of the trade deal would show America was committed to the Asia-Pacific region.
“It’s more than just trade — though that is critically important — it is a statement of America’s commitment to the region and statement of America’s commitment to the rules based order which has underpinned prosperity of billions of people and lifted billions out of poverty,” he said
Mr Turnbull said the deal was “a critically important political statement as well as being a free-trade agreement.”
His words were echoed by former New York Mayor, billionaire businessmen Mike Bloomberg who greeted Mr Turnbull at his offices this afternoon.
“I don’t think there’s anything that is more important to this country in terms of legislation than passing TPP,” Mr Bloomberg said.
“It would be a terrible shame for America which is my main interest but also all of our partners, trading partners around the world and we have a similar agreement with the UK and the EU which we should pass”
Mr Turnbull said “we are of the same mind”.
Overnight Mr Turnbull spoke to the US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew who had told him he was optimistic Congress will ratify the TPP during the lame duck (post-election session of Congress).