Home affairs minister Peter Dutton says the group deserves ‘special attention’ due to the ‘horrific circumstances’ they face at home
Thursday March 15, 2018
Peter Dutton: white South African farmers need help from a ‘civilised country’ like Australia Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP
White South African farmers “deserve special attention” from Australia due to the “horrific circumstances” of land seizures and violence, Peter Dutton has said.
The home affairs minister told the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday his department was examining a range of methods to fast-track their path to Australia on humanitarian or other visa programs.
South Africa’s new president, Cyril Ramaphosa, is pursuing legal changes to allow appropriation of farm lands without compensation for redistribution to black South Africans.
The policy has led to reports, including in the Australian media, that white farmers are being murdered at a rate of more than one per week.
“If you look at the footage and read the stories, you hear the accounts, it’s a horrific circumstance they face,” Dutton said.
The home affairs minister noted Australia has refugee, humanitarian and other visa programs which have the “potential to help some of these people”. He said he had asked his department to look at the options “because from what I have seen they do do need help from a civilised country like ours”.
“The people we’re talking about want to work hard, they want to contribute to a country like Australia,” Dutton said.
“We want people who want to come here, abide by our laws, integrate into our society, work hard, not lead a life on welfare. And I think these people deserve special attention and we’re certainly applying that special attention now.”
Dutton suggested options included the in-country persecution visa category, and to bring them to Australia on humanitarian visas via referrals from others in Australia.
He said the home affairs department was looking at ways to help “some of these horrific cases” and suggested an announcement could be made shortly.
Asked if this could be achieved with the South African government’s cooperation, Dutton replied Australia “can work with governments all around the world”.