Foreign affairs minister, Julie Bishop, revealed that Australia has “handpicked” the Syrian refugees who are coming to the country and the security screening they face is intense.
The minister was responding to questions about unconfirmed reports one of the men involved in the Paris attacks on Friday had posed as a Syrian refugee to enter Europe.
Bishop said reports that the terrorists have posed as Syrian refugees have yet to be confirmed, and Australians should be assured that checks on incoming refugees will be exhaustive.
“These are people who are handpicked by Australian authorities in the Middle East,” she told the Seven Network.
“We are focusing on people who have been persecuted in Syria and Iraq, people who are fleeing from terrorism, from persecution. Our screening and testing are very intense.”
Bishop added, “Australia is in control of the whole process. These are not people who are coming via the people smuggling trade and we don’t know who they are.”
Five Syrians have already arrived in Australia, the first of 12,000 refugees to arrive under a one-off plan to resettle people fleeing Syria’s conflict.
Australia agreed in September to take in an extra 12,000 refugees amid public pressure over Europe’s migrant crisis.
The first Syrian refugees was not expected to arrive until December.
Federal Minister for Social Services Christian Porter said the family had “been through a great deal”.
The father of a Syrian family says they’ve been treated with fairness and kindness and expect that will continue.
The family of five are from Homs in western Syria and had been living in a camp for several years, but their arrival was brought forward as the mother is seven months pregnant.
In a statement issued by the office of Social Services Minister Christian Porter, the father thanked the Australian embassy in Jordan for their help.
“From what I’ve seen … Australians are very fair and very kind, and I’m sure that I’ll find the same treatment here as well,” he said.
“We would just like to thank everybody for giving us a chance at happiness.”
He said providing a good education for his children was among his top priorities.
“My most important ambitions are to educate my kids well, to find safety, to get a job, and live in peace.”
Mr. Porter said the goal was to move Syrian refugees off of welfare and into the workforce.
“This father is very keen to do that,” he told ABC radio.