Peter Dutton, Australia’s Home Affairs Minister, has rejected various claims of racism regarding his proposal to resettle white South African farmers, which he said are “persecuted”, in Australia. Dutton copped severe backlash following his arguments that the white South African farmers needed “special” treatment due to an increased level of racially motivated violence against them.
Not only did Dutton’s comments ruffle the feathers of people at home, but created a diplomatic incident with South Africa’s Government. They demanded Dutton make an apology while fiercely denying the Home Affairs Minister’s claims of “abuse” and “torture” occuring in their country.
Dutton revealed to radio interviewers that he is going to push ahead with his plans to allow the farmers to come to Australia in spite of the criticism. Dutton says he wants the farmers to settle in Australia under visas issued for humanitarian purposes.
The Home Affairs Minister was quoted saying the backlash he has faced had “meant nothing” to him. He went on to say that his ministry was considering approaches to “help people to migrate to Australia”. He also said that he has been swamped with support and “references for particular cases”.
Dutton said that he was “completely blind” to skin colour, disclaiming that it did not affect his determination of who deserves refugee relocation in Australia. He said that it concerned him that the farmers were “being persecuted” and that it was a “reality” that people in South Africa were being “savagely attacked”.
Richard Di Natale, leader of the Greens party, labelled Peter Dutton as “racist” for his remarks and alluded to a return of the White Australia policy. Despite this, Dutton said he was not concerned by the accusations against him.
Dutton also said that there was “lots of outrage” from what he referred to as “crazy lefties” who were out to defame him. He said that they don’t realise how “completely dead” they were to him.
It appears Dutton also took a page from Donald Trump’s repertoire, criticising the media backlash against him as “fabricated fake news criticism”. Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s Prime Minister, responded to Dutton’s plan by reaffirming that Australia’s humanitarian program for visa entry was non-discriminatory.
Many of Dutton’s colleagues have supported his proposed relocation plan. Dutton has said that no matter what their skin colour was, the South African farmers needed Australian assistance.
Dutton closed off his remarks by saying that he planned on relocating people solely based on “national interest” and “national security”. He added that he did not want to let criminals into the country, saying that “if they commit crimes” while in Australia that “they are out”.
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