Karl Stefanovic Has Called On Peter Dutton To Apologise In A Stirring Speech About Refugees

"It's a cliche, but what Peter Dutton said yesterday was un-Australian."

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Channeling that surprisingly serious side of himself which rallies against the sexism and whitewashing of the entertainment industry and vehemently holds Prime Ministers to task over federal budgets and cuts to domestic violence funding, Karl Stefanovic has delivered a passionate speech this morning in response to Peter Dutton’s recent comments on refugees.

The Immigration Minister’s stern warning that refugees would somehow be both taking local jobs and taking advantage of welfare has created a whole lot of backlash in the past 24 hours. Stefanovic took issue with both the lack of veracity in his statements as well as the distinct lack of empathy. In response, he offered personal stories about his own family and those close to him — all of whom were refugees fleeing conflict decades prior.

It’s well worth a watch.

“There’s something about Peter Dutton’s comments which didn’t sit well with many Australians including myself and Tim Gilbert [a fellow host on Today],” Stefanovic said. “Timmy’s mother came here as a little girl from Lebanon with her parents before the second World War. They got busy though, working as hawkers, graduating to their own businesses, quickly picking up the lingo.

“My grandparents were the same. They spent a year in an immigration camp in Wollongong. He got a job working the coal for BHP, stayed there for 30 years. They built a house with their own hands in Bellambi and a life for their grandchildren to enjoy. My best mate Al’s parents came here from Croatia in the ’50s and just about all they ever knew in 15 years was swear words. They would have been considered illiterate. (You know how it goes ending a sentence with a swear word).

“This country is built on so many pillars including those who come from faraway lands with not much more than hope and a drive for a better life with the family. They have made this a better place. They helped make modern Australia.

“In defending his comment yesterday, Mr Dutton appears to have cherry-picked statistics which don’t reflect the findings of his own department. Listen to this report from 2011: ‘the larger picture is one of considerable achievement and contribution. Humanitarian entrants help meet labour shortages, they display strong entrepreneurial abilities compared with other migrant groups with a higher than average proportion engaging in small and medium business enterprise’. It goes on and on listing the positive social and economic contributions of refugees in this wonderfully diverse county.

“It’s a cliche, but what Peter Dutton said yesterday was unAustralian. Given his time again he may have chosen a different way to articulate it, but what’s done is done and I think he needs to apologise. Not only for those arriving now, but those who have come and now gone giving their blood, sweat and tears and handing down their values to the next generation who are many of our leaders today.”

Can’t wait for Dutton’s next appearance on Today.

RELATED: Refugees: Stealing our jobs or on the dole (or neither)?