Let’s Compare Peter Dutton’s Refugee Comments To Pauline Hanson’s First Parliamentary Speech

Spot the difference!

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Last night on Sky News, Immigration Minister and pile of unwashed sweatbands Peter Dutton made some fairly colourful statements about refugees who settle in the Australian community and managed to reach new heights of idiocy (even by his own impressive standards) in the process.

“They [refugees from Afghanistan] 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,” Dutton told host Paul Murray.

“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 a huge cost and there’s no sense in sugar-coating that, that’s the scenario.”


There’s a great deal to pull out from that little thought bubble, not least of which is that  a study by Dutton’s own department directly refutes his assertion that refugees somehow simultaneously take Australian jobs and clog up the dole queue at the same time. According to an Immigration Department report on the economic and social contributions of humanitarian migrants, refugees who settle in Australia and their descendants “display strong entrepreneurial qualities”, “bring significant benefits to Australia” and “will play an increasingly important role in regional development in Australia” in particular.

Whether Dutton genuinely has no idea about basic aspects of his portfolio (this is the guy who sent a text message calling a female journalist a “mad fucking witch” to that journalist, remember) or is trying to stir up nasty racial tensions in an election season, he’s beginning to sound scarily similar to another Australian politician known for her divisiveness. Besides “the privileges Aboriginals enjoy over other Australians” and the threat of being “swamped by Asians”, one of the many concerns Pauline Hanson raised in her first speech to federal Parliament in September 1996 ran along very similar lines to Dutton’s comments last night.

“Abolishing the policy of multiculturalism will save billions of dollars and allow those from ethnic backgrounds to join mainstream Australia, paving the way to a strong, united country,” Hanson said in ’96. “Immigration must be halted in the short-term so that our dole queues are not added to by, in many cases, unskilled migrants not fluent in the English language.”

Of course, it’s not entirely fair to compare Pauline Hanson and Peter Dutton. Hanson was expelled from the Liberal Party before she even ran as a candidate for her views back in 1996, whereas this morning both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop were out defending Dutton’s comments to media. So that’s nice.