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MEDIA Release May 19, 2016

The National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA) is again disappointed by recent comments made by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Mr. Peter Dutton.

 

Minister Dutton, linked Australia’s humanitarian refugee intake to higher unemployment rates and went on to say that most refugees were illiterate in their language, let alone English.

 

These comments came in response to the call from the Greens to increase our humanitarian refugee intake to 50,000 in the wake of the global crisis.

 

NEDA President Suresh Rajan stated “I am disgusted that this Government continues to play wedge politics with some of the most vulnerable people in society. This Minister has continued to engage in dog-whistle politics. At its worst this panders to the extreme right and those people who are ill-informed as to the nature and the realities that refugees face. We must also remember that many Australians are from a refugee background, for example, people such as Frank Lowy and Dr. Karl came to Australia as refugees and have gained statuses as eminent citizens”.

 

Dwayne Cranfield NEDA CEO stated that “this shows just how ill-informed Minister Dutton is, his ignorance with regard to the educational standards and the capacity of refugees to contribute, is just astounding”.

 

NEDA echoes the calls of like-minded NGO’s in the sector, urging our political leaders to have a more rational and open discussion based on facts, our human rights obligations, and not wedge politics that incite fear. “Like all societies, people have varied skills and abilities: however we all aim to strive to the best of our abilities,” stated Dwayne Cranfield CEO.

 

Suresh Rajan NEDA President continued “it’s difficult not to be cynical given that we have just entered an election cycle; these comments seem to be aimed at those in the community who have a bias against immigration and Islam. It would seem that the only purpose of this type of comment by the Minister is to gain votes by being divisive”.

 

“The Liberals are not the only party playing this card,” said the NEDA President. ”We have seen this type of conduct and wedge politics from successive Governments, on both sides, and it must stop.”

 

NEDA supports the comments of FECCA’s Chairperson Joe Caputo who said, “At FECCA we are calling for the discussion to be brought within the bounds of acceptable discourse.” 

 

“Immigration enriches the Australian culture. These people bring with them skill-sets and cultural experiences that broaden the life experience of us all. When will we see their contribution to Australian society and not view them as a burden?” stated the NEDA President.

 

For further information, please contact NEDA CEO Mr. Dwayne Cranfield on 02 62626867 or NEDA President Mr. Suresh Rajan on 0413436001.

 

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