Immigration minister in hot water over 'half-baked' and 'deeply offensive' comments

Australia's ruling Liberal Party does not appear to be softening their stance on asylum seekers. Photo / AP
Australia's ruling Liberal Party does not appear to be softening their stance on asylum seekers. Photo / AP

Australia's Immigration Minister is facing calls to apologise after comments made on TV this morning.

In an interview with Sky News Peter Dutton was in scare campaign mode on the question of asylum seekers. In response to the Greens' idea to increase Australia's refugee intake to 50,000 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."

He continued: "For many of them that would be unemployed, they would languish in unemployment queues and on Medicare and the rest of it so there would be huge cost and there's no sense in sugar-coating that, that's the scenario."

Peter Dutton said in a television interview: "These people would be taking Australian jobs, there's no question about that." Photo / Getty
Peter Dutton said in a television interview: "These people would be taking Australian jobs, there's no question about that." Photo / Getty

A Labor spokesperson told Fairfax the remarks were "deeply offensive", calling on Mr Dutton to apologise immediately for his "half-baked remarks".

Mr Dutton added that the Green's proposal is not viable because people smugglers would exploit the opportunity and that would result in an uptick of boat arrivals.

"We know, as the UN has told us, that there are some 58 million people who are displaced and would seek to come to a country like Australia, so the thought that you can somehow turn the tap on and off and that the people smugglers would be happy with the profit out of 50,000 but not out of 60 or 600,000 is complete nonsense...they would be here in the hundreds of thousands."

Mr Dutton also took aim at Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, saying under a Labor government terrorists would enter the country in the guise of asylum seekers.

"He doesn't have the metal to stand up to his own backbench let alone people smugglers and terrorists that would seek to do us harm and cross our borders," he said.

Peta Credlin, Sky News commentator and former chief of staff to the previous Prime MInister Tony Abbott, said it was important the Australian public was on board with government's immigration policy to avoid a 'feral outbreak' like Pauline Hanson's One Nation.

'You want Australians to support the level of intake because if you don't you get a feral outbreak like Hanson and you must not have that happen again,' she said.

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