EXCERPT - Distinguished lecture by José Ramos-Horta AC: Our shared humanity
José Ramos Horta has called on Australia's politicians to consider welcoming more refugees.
In a sold out public lecture at UNSW, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former President of Timor-Leste asked MPs to consider the contributions made by generations of migrants to Australian life.
“Rethink all fears and prejudice,” he said.
“I'm sure you've had a good look at the record of generations of migrants and refugees in this country and you have seen how they have contributed to the prosperity and safety of today's Australia.”
Australia had an opportunity to educate and train refugees and migrants in skills to build the nation, Dr Ramos-Horta said.
“You live … in a privileged, affluent county, an increasingly more open and tolerant one,” he said.
“Australia has changed for the better. Much better.
“Much has to change further to be a boat of safety and peace for all these people, for the poor and unwanted.”
The internationally renowned peacemaker was key to establishing the UNSW Diplomacy Training Program, of which he continues to be a patron.