Australia is already looking at cases to take in South African farmers: minister

 ·22 Mar 2018

Australian home affairs minister Peter Dutton says that his department has already received references to particular cases – relating to farmers in South Africa looking for acceptance into the country on refugee or humanitarian grounds.

Dutton caused uproar when he announced last week that the country is considering fast-tracking visas for white South African farmers.

He said that that his department is examining a range of methods to fast-track their path to Australia on humanitarian or other visa programmes.

According to Dutton, white farmers face “horrific circumstance” in South Africa, following reports that they are murder targets, and amid concerns of land grabs following a recent proposal for ‘land expropriation without compensation’.

“If you look at the footage and read the stories, you hear the accounts, it’s a horrific circumstance they face,” Dutton said.

In an interview on 2GB, a commercial radio station in Sydney, on Thursday (22 March), Dutton reiterated his intention to bring farm workers into the country.

“I’m bringing people to our country solely based on what is in our national interest, what’s in our national security interests. I want people who can settle here. I don’t want people coming here as criminals.

“We bring people in because they want to work, they want to start a new life. They want to educate their kids.”

Dutton said that he is “completely blind to somebody’s skin colour. It makes no difference to me”.

“It concerns me that people are being persecuted at the moment, that’s the reality. The numbers of people dying, or being savagely attacked in South Africa is a reality.

“We’ve been inundated with messages of support and references to particular cases, so we will start to work through those, and if people meet the criteria under the programme, then they will settle under the programme here,” he said.

“Some of the crazy lefties at the ABC, and on The Guardian, HuffingtonPost, can express concern and draw mean cartoons about me and all the rest of it. They don’t realise how completely dead they are to me,” he said.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu issued a diplomatic démarche to the Australian High Commissioner to South Africa, Adam McCarthy, following Dutton’s initial comments.

Governments use démarches to protest or object to actions by a foreign government.

As such, minister Sisulu has demanded a retraction of the comments made by Dutton on the South African land redistribution process.

Read: Australia looking at fast-tracking visas for South African farmers amid land grabs: report

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