Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull must immediately reprimand Immigration Minister Peter Dutton over comments he made last night that refugees are uneducated, unemployable and at the same time “taking Australian jobs.”
In an interview with Sky News last night, Mr Dutton said –
“They won't be numerate or literate in their own language, let alone English. These people would be taking Australian jobs, there's no question about that.”
Director of the Edmund Rice Centre and President of the Refugee Council Phil Glenndening has condemned the comments as a blatant attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator of society – prejudice and bigotry.
“Not only are these comments inaccurate, they are deeply offensive to the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have come to our country over many generations,” Mr Glendenning said.
“Peter Dutton’s comments are simply contradictory – if refugees are illiterate, innumerate and “lurking about on unemployment queues” how will they ‘take Australian jobs?’ As the saying goes, never let facts and logic get in the way of a scare campaign.
“The fact is Australia can and should take more refugees – in 1949 alone we resettled 90,000 refugees.
“Refugees and their children have gone on to become successful business people, doctors, academics, actors and sports players. All research indicates that refugees provide an economic benefit to the nation.
“Refugees have made a positive contribution to our society - in stark contrast, the only contribution the Minister is making is to peddle fear, prejudice and divisiveness.
“This is a desperate attempt to blow the dog whistle and the Prime Minister must show the leadership to pull him into line.
“Every election since 2001 has been dominated by the politics of fear and emotion when it comes to immigration, refugees and people seeking asylum.
“In years to come, we will look back on this chapter of Australian politics and hang our heads in shame,” Mr Glendenning concluded.
Contact: Phil Glendenning 0419 013 758