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Monday, 19 March 2018
Page: 1417


Senator McKIM (Tasmania) (15:44): I move:

That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Communications (Senator Fifield) to a question without notice asked by Senator McKim today relating to comments made by the Minister for Home Affairs (Mr Dutton).

I asked Senator Fifield about Minister Dutton's comments in regard to white South African farmers, when he said:

… I do think, on the information that I've seen, people do need help and they need help from a civilised country like ours …

He also made it very clear that in fact he had asked his department to give special attention to how the Australian government may help white South African farmers who he believes are being persecuted to get special attention in terms of visas and humanitarian entry to Australia.

Those comments from Minister Dutton showed what a shocking hold The Daily Telegraph and News Corp more generally have over the Liberal Party in Australia. And make no mistake: the Liberal Party in Australia is now liberal in name only. Any sense of moderation, any strain of actual liberalism has long been extinguished from the coalition. Last week was yet another piece of evidence of the Liberal Party's lurch towards white nationalism. With talking points taken directly from white supremacist websites, the Telegraph last week launched a campaign in defence of white South African farmers. And, without a moment's hesitation, Home Affairs Minister Dutton jumped into the fray, saying that these white farmers needed rescuing by a 'civilised country' like Australia. Now, in using those words, Minister Dutton is not dog-whistling to racists; he is actually foghorning to racists. There's nothing subtle about this racism and this white nationalism, and it is becoming more and more blatant in the Australian Liberal Party every day that passes during which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull does not rebuke and pull his home affairs minister into line.

Remember, this is the same home affairs minister who is inflicting untold misery on thousands of refugees and people seeking asylum, who remain to this day Australia's political prisoners on Manus Island and Nauru. It is the same home affairs minister who's turned a blind eye to the ethnic cleansing that is occurring against the Rohingya people at the hands of the Myanmar government. And those aren't my words; they're actually the words of the United Nations—'textbook example of ethnic cleansing'. But no: we'll ignore the plight of the Rohingya people—hundreds of thousands of them displaced, killed and brutalised in what I regard as an attempt at genocide.

But he's now going to turn around and try to lend a hand to a new group of people he wants to see coming into Australia, the white South African farmers. Remember, as Leader of the Liberal Party in the 1980s, John Howard opposed sanctions against apartheid South Africa. And make no mistake: the yearning for apartheid and the White Australia policy still exists inside the Liberal Party in Australia today, and in the age of Donald Trump they are getting less and less coy about expressing it. They're adopting an approach to South Africa that's been lifted from Neo-Nazis and white supremacists and printed in the pages of the Murdoch papers in this country. They've tried and are still trying to introduce university-level English tests before people can come to Australia, before they can become Australian—a hallmark of the White Australia policy. They are engaging in a racist campaign against Victoria's African communities and are now seeking the right to deport non-white children. Senator Molan, before he started in this place, was sharing the videos of a British hate group on his Facebook page, an action he is yet to apologise for. And you've got the member for Dawson, Mr Christensen, speaking at white supremacist rallies and appearing on Neo-Nazi podcasts. Well, I say today, to these people and to the Liberal Party: they will fail and you and your apartheid cronies will fail again. (Time expired)

Question agreed to.