Aussie Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton proposed a “fast-track South African farmer visa” earlier in 2018. Recent updates have been scarce, however.
Where would we be without a country as “civilised” as Australia? When little old Mzansi made a big decision on land expropriation this year, the self-appointed knights in shining armour came charging in, with their offers of a “farmer visa” for concerned South Africans.
Parliament gave the green-light to the government so they could explore non-compensatory models of land redistribution. Australia was one of the first countries to express their opposition, and their declaration was spearheaded by the “outspoken” Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton.
He’s been extremely vocal on this issue, hammering out proposals to give refugee status to some SA farmers who were concerned about losing their land to expropriation.
Peter Dutton on South African farmers
However, it’s all gone a bit quiet Down Under. We’ve not heard much from the usually gobby Dutton recently. The last we heard from him came at the start of September, where he implored his department to “consider and accept” persecuted white South African farmers.
But not much has come before, or after, this plea. There are a few reasons why the policy – one that caused international headlines across the world – has hit a roadblock.
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SA farmer visa: What’s the hold-up?
The stats don’t look good for South Africans. Only 41 out of 350 refugee applications from SA have been accepted by the Australian government since 2008. Granted, Dutton’s proposals would seek to open the door for our farmers, but the previous track record isn’t exactly encouraging.
A further 213 people are still waiting to receive judgement on their applications, and they have waited for months and years in limbo to successfully secure a spot in Australia. This backlog would have to be addressed ahead of any potential amendments.
As much opposition as support
Dutton’s proposals certainly have their supporters – with Multiculturalism Minister Alan Tudge and Auditor General Christian Porter backing the bill – but there’s also staunch opposition against the SA farmer visa, from both those across the political divide and some of the minister’s own party members.
Whereas some Aussies welcome the idea, many oppose it. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull outright “refuted” the plans, and Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has also expressed her staunch opposition, saying the party “does not make decisions based on race“.
As it stands, the ruling Liberal Party have a few immigration problems to clear up themselves, before they seriously alter any existing policies. The ongoing issue with Nauru – a tiny Pacific island nation which hosts a much-maligned Australian processing centre for asylum seekers – is threatening to boil over.
As recently as Monday, another storm of controversy has engulfed the centre. Eleven child migrants had to be evacuated off the island amid an increasing health crisis. Immigrants left to “stagnate” on the island have reported numerous violations of their human rights, too.
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