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Sydney Archbishop calls for increase in refugee quota

Echoing last week's statement from the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, Archbishop George Pell has issued a qualified appeal for an increase in Australia's refugee intake.

"I would like to see the refugee intake raised," Archbishop Pell told yesterday's ABC Radio AM program, "I think we should be more generous."

He also criticised Australia's detention policy: "I'm not really in favour at all of locking up women and children in these incarceration centres."

But Dr Pell qualified his call for an increase by expressing the view that he "wouldn't want [Australia's lack of compassion] to be overstated". He also stressed the importance of recognising "where public opinion is", and the "right to try to select those people who will live happily within our traditions of tolerance".

Last week the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference called for the Government to significantly increase Australia's refugee intake.

Catholic Bishops Give Support to International Cooperation in Helping Refugees and Asylum Seekers (30/11/01)