Minister denounces MP’s ‘close our borders’ call
THE NSW Government has distanced itself from Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser's call for Australia to turn back refugees because it did not need more "Middle Eastern refugees or Islamic boat people".
The Nationals MP called for Australia to "close our borders (because) we have enough anarchists already resident in Australia" in an open message to Malcolm Turnbull on Facebook after the Paris attacks.
Minister for Multiculturalism John Ajaka told parliament the government did not share Mr Fraser's views.
"I state at the outset that I do not agree with the member for Coffs Harbour," he said.
"I do not agree with his statement in any way whatsoever."
Mr Ajaka, whose parents emigrated from Lebanon in the 1950s, said plans to resettle refugees on the Mid North Coast had not changed.
"The Premier appointed the former head of the public service, Dr Peter Shergold, as the NSW coordinator general for refugee resettlement," he said.
"To make it very clear, any comment by Andrew Fraser makes no difference whatsoever to the work being undertaken by Peter Shergold and all of the NSW government agencies, including my agency, Multicultural NSW."
The state's first Muslim member of parliament, Labor's Jihad Dib, denounced IS's terrorist attacks in Paris.
But he said they were not cause to block asylum seekers from finding safety in Australia.
"I cannot hide the fact that I was bitterly disappointed to see over the weekend and then yesterday, calls from members of this parliament to close our borders and stop refugees coming into our country," he said.
"It is a knee-jerk reaction at complete odds with the leadership of our state and nation.
"Worse still, those comments have the strong potential to make matters worse - to demonise and isolate whole communities, not improve the situation."