The terror attack in Westminster Wednesday shows Australia’s decision to reject 500 asylum seekers over security fears was “prudent”, the nation’s immigration minister said on Thursday.
Peter Dutton said the attack on Wednesday, in which a British-born assailant with terror links used a car and a knife to kill three people and wound dozens more near Britain’s parliament, justified Australia’s decision to be selective about the asylum seekers it let into the country.
“There are people we’ve excluded on national security grounds that we have not brought to our country and we never will,” he said, speaking of the more than 500 Iraqis and Syrians refused entry by the centre-right government last year.
Noting that some of those rejected were part of 12,000 asylum seekers being resettled in Australia, the minister slammed the nation’s Labour Party, which he said “had advocated we should bring these people in very quickly and if we had done that we wouldn’t have detected these people and I think there would have been significant consequences in our own country”.
Reporting that security assessments were made using intelligence provided by countries including Britain, Mr. Dutton said the number of refusals was “startling”, according to national broadcaster ABC.
The minister pointed to the numerous terror attacks carried out by migrants in Europe since the continent opened its borders as vindication for stringent security screening on potential asylum seekers.
He said: “I think the tragic events in London and elsewhere demonstrate the government’s approach was prudent.
“We have brought people here who have passed security checks, and they will contribute significantly to Australian society.
“They will be good Australians they will work hard and they will educate our children — they are the migrants we want coming to our country.”
“We have been stringent, we’ve been deliberately methodical in the way we’ve conducted [our policy] because we don’t want people coming into our country who pose a threat. I want people here who are escaping violence not bringing violence here,” Mr. Dutton added.