Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has thrown her support behind Peter Dutton for saying that “illiterate and innumerate” refugees would be taking jobs in Australia if some of them will be allowed to resettle in the country.
Bishop explained that the Immigration Minister was pointing out the fact that resettling refugees in Australia would be highly expensive, and that there should be a “reality check” on the issue.
She also said that most of the people who come to Australia have “troubled backgrounds – particularly from Afghanistan but also Pakistan and beyond,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
When asked about her thoughts on Dutton labeling refugees as “innumerate and illiterate,” Bishop said that there will be “considerable cost” of teaching asylum seekers the English language, which will be carried out by the Australian public.
On Tuesday, Dutton made comments about the Greens’ proposal on growing Australia’s refugee intake to 50,000 from 13,700.
Dutton said that most of these refugees would struggle to make ends meet on their own, and that the Australian government will have to help them get on their feet.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull declined to comment on Dutton’s statements about the refugees. He explained that he will only be receiving questions from resident journalists.
Both Labor and Greens have blasted Dutton for the comments he made. Greens Immigration Rep Sarah Hanson-Young said Dutton did a scare-mongering on refugees to hide the Liberal Party’s “xenophobia,” and not for the welfare of its citizens.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Labor Party said that the Immigration Minister should issue an apology for his “deeply offensive” and “half-baked” comments, according to the International Business Times.
It’s not the first time that the Immigration Minister has made controversial comments toward refugees and asylum seekers.
Dutton expressed three weeks ago that the refugees and asylum seekers currently detained in Manus Island and Nauru have no place in Australia, and that he would prefer that they either be sent back home or resettled in third world countries.