Peter Dutton says 'illiterate' refugees would be 'taking Australian jobs'

Immigration minister criticises pledges by Labor and the Greens to increase Australia’s refugee intake, claiming it would lead to unemployment.

The immigration minister, Peter Dutton, has said refugees aren’t numerate or literate and would take Australian jobs in inflammatory comments arguing against increasing the refugee intake.

Labor has said the comments are deeply offensive and called on Malcolm Turnbull to “unequivocally reject” them.

On Tuesday evening, Dutton made the remarks on Sky in response to a question about the Greens’ policy to increase the refugee intake to 50,000.

The show’s host, Paul Murray, said 90% of Afghan refugees don’t have a job and asked: “What on God’s Earth are these people suggesting about 50,000 being taken from every hell-hole of the world?”

Dutton responded: “For many people – they won’t be numerate or literate in their own language, let alone English.”

Dutton said the Greens were “very close to the [Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union]” and Labor had “obviously well-known” affiliations with the union movement, implying that increasing the humanitarian intake would be unpopular with unions. “These people would be taking Australian jobs, there’s no question about that.

“For many of them…

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