Written by Kiera Wallace, edited for online by Brent Gray.
Federal Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is facing negative backlash in response to a comment of the refugee intake possibly being boosted to 50,000.
Dutton told Sky News illiterate and innumerate refugees would take Australian jobs and survive solely off the dole.
“For many of them that would be unemployed they would languish in unemployment queues and on medicare,” said Dutton.
Paul Power, CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia, said Mr Dutton’s comments are both inaccurate and incoherent.
“It’s quite an amazing attack, it’s quite incoherent as well if you consider the fact he’s accusing refugees of simultaneously being illiterate, innumerate and taking Australian jobs, he clearly hasn’t thought out how he wants to attack the refugees, just that he wants to.
“The idea that the minister responsible for the refugee program would be damning refugees in this way as a path presumably he thinks to getting some sort of political advantage is distressing but it also says a lot about Mr Dutton’s view of political leadership,” said Paul.
Mohammed Al-Khafaji, CEO of Welcome to Australia said refugees add to our economy.
“They don’t take jobs away from Australian people, they actually create opportunities and they revitalise industries that are on the verge of collapse, especially in the regional census of Australia.”
Mr Al-Khafaji said many of the refugees who come to Australia are highly skilled and well educated.
“Some of them are very highly educated we get lawyers, doctors and engineers that come to Australia and they contribute to our economy.”
Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition in Sydney said it’s part of a tactic to win votes in the election.
“It’s a despicable and racist comment from Peter Dutton, it’s a desperate attempt to scrape the bottom of the barrel as far as domestic politics is concerned…it’s unfounded allegations designed to try and win votes in the election.
“…There is no substance whatsoever to the idea that refugees on the humanitarian intake or boat arrivals take Australian jobs there’s no question of that, it is just a piece of base politics for which he should be soundly condemned,” said Ian.
Margarett McPherson from the Refugee Action Collective in Queensland said there’s no proof that refugees will languish on the dole and that many of them do want to work.
“The majority of refugees that come into the country all they want to do is work hard and be secure, safe and have some money behind them.”
Keira Wallace, QUT News