The number on its own is terrible enough: in the past seven weeks, 100,000 Afghans have sought asylum from Australia. A second, smaller figure is the more appalling, the one that shows what sort of country this is, how cruel and indifferent it can be: the government has allocated only 3000 places to meet that demand.
Speaking before a senate inquiry this week, David Wilden, a first assistant secretary at the Department of Home Affairs, said the government could choose to take more people. This was entirely within its capacity. But the government has not chosen this. Those 3000 places were a floor, not a ceiling, yet the Morrison government would prefer to give refugees neither.
Since the fall of Kabul, there has been
a spike in applications for humanitarian visas. According to Wilden, they have come “in very large volumes daily ever since then”.
Many of these people are families. Some are connected to Australia. Some…