Peter Dutton stirs racism for votes by backing white farmers

| July 27, 2018 | Reply

Peter Dutton has insisted that Australia grant special consideration to white South African farmers, via the provision of fast-tracked refugee visas. His comments showed obvious racism as he declared they “need help from a civilised country like ours”.

This is in response to an alleged spate of racist murders specifically targeting white farmers. In order to fully understand the implications of this, we should look at the facts.

Racist murders?

The media panic over the white farmers began on fringe, far-right white supremacist websites, as thoroughly documented by Jason Wilson in The Guardian. The panic is based on the claim that white South African farmers are being specifically targeted due to their race. This claim is unfounded. Dutton’s own department admitted as much when it rejected a white South African farmer’s request for asylum on the grounds that “that the vast majority of crimes against whites are not racially motivated” but are instead perpetrated for “financial gain”.

The documentary record appears to corroborate his department’s findings. The Institute of Security Studies, which analyses South African crime data, reported that “people went to farms to steal, motivated by greed”. There is no evidence to back up the claim that farm attackers were motivated by race-hatred.

There is no denying that violent crime is a serious issue in South Africa. But available evidence demonstrates that all South Africans are at risk; indeed, young black men in townships are at far greater risk of being murdered than white farmers. The fact that Dutton advocates for refugee visas for white South Africans but not black South Africans is just proof of Dutton’s game: stirring up racism for votes.

Compare and contrast: Dutton on white South Africans vs. Dutton on Rohingyas

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people have been living in squalid camps after fleeing direct, military-backed massacres in Burma. Médecins Sans Frontières estimates that 6700 Rohingya, including approximately 700 children, were killed in the month-long period after the 2017 renewal of violence. Amnesty International reports multiple cases where the Burmese military raped women and girls as part their campaign. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, described the violence as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

What is Dutton’s response to this? Not mere silence, but action against Rohingya. As part of Dutton’s refugee policies, Australia has been attempting to return Rohingya asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru to Burma, where they face the full horror of genocide. There has been no initiative by any government minister to set up a special refugee intake for these people desperately in need of help.

Unite and fight against racism

Refugee Action Coalition supports the right of any person to come to Australia and seek asylum. Any person at risk of persecution deserves all the protection this country can give. This is why we’re standing firm and opposing any attempt by Dutton and his cronies to bend the rules and preference one group of people over another, based solely on the colour of their skin, the language they speak or the religion they follow.

Join our counter-rally in Sydney on Saturday 28 July

Category: Statements

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