Questioning Peter Dutton: White Farmers fleeing persecution
Sometimes I wonder what our politicians are up to.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been busy launching Pauline Hanson’s new ‘biography’. Our current Turnbull coalition has been busy losing its 29th consecutive #news poll in a row. Julia Gillard’s become friends with Rihanna.
Now while this critique could target everyone from front to back bencher, I do have a succinct point. I mean, considering you’ve got politicians like Peter Dutton involved in the party, it comes as no shock that our current government’s popularity has receded quicker than our PM’s hairline. So as much as I’d love to discuss how the Turnbull government has less support from Australian citizens than the disgraced cricketer David Warner, I’d rather get onto the point of this article: Peter Dutton.
Peter Dutton, the Minister for Home Affairs declared on the 16th of March that Australia would provide special consular assistance for persecuted white South African farmers, yet still refuses to step down from his hard-line stance on refugee intake. Farm violence, including break ins and robberies on properties is a divisive political problem in South Africa that Dutton has subsequently targeted.
Between 2015-16, there were 74 farm related murders reported in South Africa, a shocking number that indicates a need for some form of intervention, whether it be on a national or international scale. The statistic comes amidst the long, harrowing history Australia has with refugees, that have been explicitly ignored time and time again.
Dutton has a history of not being particularly welcoming towards refugees in general. In September 2017, he labelled refugees sent from Australian offshore detention centres to the US “economic refugees” and made comments on them having designer brands such as Armani bags, with them on Nauru, all of which was contradictory to his own department’s statements. In 2016, he also stated;
“These people [refugees] would be taking Australian jobs, there’s no question about that.”
The greatest irony in his more recent comments is that South Africa doesn’t even want this “special assistance”. Referring the comments from Dutton to Canberra’s high Commissioner, the South African government released a statement explaining that:
“…they [The South African Government] are offended by statements which have been attributed to the Australian Home Affairs Minister, and a full retraction is expected.”
So Peter Dutton, let’s chat Australian International Assistance… If you want some real examples of people who need some “special assistance”, perhaps it’s time to open our borders to the Rohingyan, Syrian, Nigerian, South Sudanese, Somalian and Afghani refugees. The countries where people are forced to flee their homes because they cannot find food to support their families, because of wars being led by political leaders, violence, crime and drought.
Perhaps the Australian government could have offered some “special assistance” to the refugees who came to our country in hope of finding a better life and were sent to off-shore detention centres such as Nauru. Revealing in an interview with SBS Insight, one refugee woman, who is now resettled in the US, said that the conditions in the Nauru detention centre were worse than they had been for her in Iran – the country she was trying to flee. In these offshore detention centres refugees faced brutality from guards, children faced sexual assault and many people were faced with intense mental and physical health problems due to the terrible environment, that often led to suicide.
In the 2016 period, Australia resettled 27 626 refugees, compared to Sweden, a country substantially smaller geographically, who received 68 090 in the same time frame. Let’s put our money where our mouth is and help those who require our help, instead of causing more of a stir in the international community over our already tainted, and frankly appalling human rights record.