Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone has slammed the Albanese government over a “lack of communication” in the western Sydney community following the ISIS repatriation.
Four women and their 13 children, who had been living inside the al-Roj Syrian camp since the fall of IS in 2019, arrived on a secret flight at Sydney airport on Saturday morning.
But the government has remained tight-lipped on the circumstances around the repatriation, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese declaring “these are Australian citizens who are entitled to be in Australia.”
Stream more on politics with Flash. 25+ news channels in 1 place. New to Flash? Try 1 month free. Offer ends 31 October, 2023
Mr Carbone appeared on Sky News on Monday afternoon and expressed his concerns for the refugees of south-west Sydney who fled to Australia during the ISIS crisis.
“There is no doubt that tens of thousands of residents that live in southwest Sydney…were all persecuted,” he told Sky News host Chris Kenny.
“They came to this country and they were fled here after ISIS was killing a lot of their families, burnt down their homes, burnt down their churches and they came here for a better way of life.
“A lot of them now feel like they’re being portrayed…they’re really concerned, they’re hurt, they’re traumatised.”
Mr Carbone urged the Prime Minister to “have a discussion” with residents in south-west Sydney.
“I think it really shows a lack of communication from the government,” he said.
“This has all been done through a vail of secrecy. It’s only through many of us standing up and talking about it that we’re starting to get some comments from the Prime Minister.
“What we do know is that there is no reassurance that Australians will be kept safe…the government needs to come clean…they need to have a discussion with people in south-west Sydney.”
Mr Carbone’s comments come after shadow immigration minister Dan Tehan also urged the government to “come clean” about the cost of the repatriation of families of former ISIS fighters and the security protocols involved.
“The government needs to come clean on what the next steps are … to keep Australians safe to make sure that these returnees are properly monitored,” Mr Tehan told Sky News on Monday.
“The government is not being upfront with the Australian people about these returnees.
“This seems an exercise which has been made up on the run, it doesn’t seem like the safety of Australians is being put first and the government needs to come clean.”
The Australian-born women were married to radicalised members of the terrorist organisation, but they were safely returned to Australia following an ASIO operation which will also repatriate 43 more women and children.
Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil confirmed the group’s arrival in a statement released on Saturday morning.
“At all times the focus has been the safety and security of all Australians as well as the safety of those involved in the operation,” Ms O’Neil said.
“Informed by national security advice, the Government has carefully considered the range of security, community and welfare factors in making the decision to repatriate.”
Read the full article here