Australian minister Dutton is 'an out-and-out racist'

2018-03-16 08:19
Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. (AFP File)

Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton. (AFP File)

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Cape Town - A political storm has erupted in Australia over comments by home affairs minister Peter Dutton that the country would welcome white South African farmers.

Dutton recently said white farmers are facing "horrific circumstances" of land seizures and violence in South Africa and wanted his department to investigate bringing them to Australia, The Guardian reported.

READ: Australian home affairs minister to consider fast-tracking visas for white South African farmers

However, Greens leader, Senator Richard Di Natale, has hit out at Dutton and labelled him a racist, according to an ABC News report.

"There's no debate as far as I'm concerned, the bloke is an out-and-out racist," said Di Natale.

"According to Peter Dutton, if you're a white South African farmer you are going to make a great contribution, you're not going to bludge on welfare. But if you're not white, you won't do any of those things," Di Natale was quoted as saying.

But Dutton isn't alone in his views.

West Australian Liberals have been pushing to "resettle persecuted minorities" in SA and Zimbabwe and in 2017 passed a motion calling on the federal government to move ahead with the plan.

Politician Ian Goodenough says that white South Africans would integrate well into Australian culture and bring relevant skills to the country, ABC News reported.

Queensland Liberal MP Andrew Laming has labelled white farmers as "refugees".

READ: SA govt criticises Australia's response to land debate

Di Natale argued that giving people preferential treatment based on skin colour was tantamount to a racist policy.

"This is not a dog whistle, it's a fog horn," he said.

Dutton, in making his suggestion, said that South African white farmers could benefit from a "civilised country" like Australia.

The South African government's Department of International Relations and Co-operation said it was "engaging" with the Australian government on the issue.

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Thursday issued a diplomatic demarche - or course of action - to Australian High Commissioner in SA Adam McCarthy, to demand a retraction of the comments made by Dutton.

READ: Sisulu demands retraction from Australian government

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has, for the moment, declined to join the debate, insisting that Australia has a "non-discriminatory humanitarian programme".

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Read more on:    farm attacks  |  land expropriation  |  racism

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