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"Crazy lefties": Dutton unfazed by backlash over South African comments

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Peter Dutton is staring down fierce criticism from “crazy lefties” as he pushes on with plans to bring white South African farmers into Australia.

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The Home Affairs Minister insists he is unperturbed by “mean cartoons” and negative media coverage.

“They don’t realise how completely dead they are to me,” Dutton told 2GB radio today.

“We just get on with making decisions that we need to.”

Dutton has caused widespread controversy and diplomatic tensions after arguing last week the “persecuted” farmers needed help from a “civilised country” like Australia.

The minister insists he is blind to skin colour and will continue to bring in migrants based on the national interest.

“It concerns me that people are being persecuted at the moment – that’s the reality – the numbers of people dying or being savagely attacked in South Africa is a reality,” he said.

Dutton likened the latest backlash to the reaction over his comments about a supposed African gang crisis in Melbourne over summer.

“Stick to the facts and you’re on safe grounds so all of the criticism over the last week has meant nothing to me,” he said.

“We’re looking at ways we can help people to migrate to Australia if they’re finding themselves in that situation.”

Dutton said he had been inundated with messages of support and references to particular cases of white South African farmers in need of help.

“We’ll start to work through those and if people meet the criteria under the program then they’ll settle under the program here,” he said.

“If people think I’m going to cower or take a backward step because of their nonsense, fabricated, fake news criticism, then they’ve got another thing coming.”

Meanwhile, one of his coalition colleagues is warning there could be food shortages if white South African farmers are allowed to migrate to Australia.

The Nationals’ Andrew Broad, who travelled to the country several years ago, urged other MPs to visit and see for themselves.

“We’d be better to be working with the South African government to make them value those white farmers, rather than trying to help them flee,” he told ABC radio on Thursday.

– AAP

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