Internationally acclaimed Australian actor Anthony LaPaglia has criticised the Australian government for their treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, saying that “it should hang its head in shame.”
LaPaglia was speaking from the set of his new SBS crime drama Sunshine, which is based on one of Melbourne’s most disadvantaged communities. A child of immigrant parents himself, LaPaglia said that Australia had “forgotten its roots” – “It’s very disappointing to me about Australia in particular. This whole country was born out of immigration, my parents were immigrants,” he told Newscorp.
LaPaglia noted that the situation was only being worsened by current cultural divides in Western countries, as the world faces huge humanitarian crises like famine in Sudan and the Syrian Civil War. “You have a new American government now that’s borderline – well no, not even borderline – they are xenophobic and racist,” he said. “This is the greatest migration of nationalities and human beings since World War II.”
LaPaglia said Australia was just as guilty as the current American administration for its maltreatment of asylum seekers and immigrants, “The Australian government also needs to hang its head in shame about how it treats immigrants trying to get into the country.”
According to the Refugee Council of Australia, there were 1,351 people in detention facilities as at 31 January this year. The country’s policy of detaining asylum seekers and refugees has been heavily criticised in the past by the UN Human Rights Council.