Despite being met with contempt by the South African government, a number of Australian MPs have joined the call to allow South African farmers to enter the country as part of a special humanitarian intake, according to a report by Australian national broadcaster ABC News.
On Wednesday, Australian home affairs minister Peter Dutton said the country was considering fast-tracking visas for local white farmers on humanitarian or other visa programmes.
According to Dutton, white farmers face “horrific circumstance” in South Africa, and given their drive to work hard, should have an easier passage into Australia – integrating into its more ‘civil’ society.
Local and international commentators labeled Dutton’s comments as racist.
However ABC News reports that West Australian Liberals have been agitating behind the scenes for months – and last year passed a motion at the party’s state council calling on the Federal Government to ‘resettle persecuted European minorities’ in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Speaking to the broadcaster on Friday, WA Liberal Ian Goodenough, whose electorate is home to one of the largest South African expat communities, said that Australia allowed a special intake of Syrian refugees and should do the same for South Africans.
Goodenough — who has been lobbying his senior colleagues over the issue — argued that white South African farmers would bring relevant skills to Australia and integrate well into the community, reports ABC.
“Violence and suffering affects all people universally,” he said. “It certainly wouldn’t hurt to allocate a number of places to people who fit in well and will contribute to the country.”
Queensland Liberal MP Andrew Laming has also been vocal on the topic, describing white farmers as “refugees”, and claimed credit for this week’s developments.