It has been the great misfit Australian policy since the 1990s: a refugee and immigration policy that shows itself to be scrupulously fair, calculable and clean. Nothing shall be permitted to sully this presumption. Even as refugees and asylum seekers gather dampness, decay and depression in Pacific camps, the Australian immigration policy shall remain, like Caesar’s wife, above reproach.
The comments of Australia’s Peter Dutton who resembles, with each passing day, a plumed and emboldened commissar, have given political figures pause for thought. Openly, and without reservation, the Home Affairs Minister decided to bank for a particular racial group in the immigration stakes, namely those poor oppressed white farmers of South Africa.
This goes against the policy of ethnic caution and racial neutrality, albeit ensconced behind the customary prejudices typical of all stances on immigration. Here was the most direct expression of race and culture as twin categories.
Dutton preferred the language of “special attention” for specifically white South African farmers suffering what he deemed to be “horrific circumstances”. He spoke of damning footage and lurid stories. They, he explained, needed protection from a “civilised country”. South African farmers would be a good fit in Australia, integrating (note the stab against certain refugees) and avoiding the welfare rolls. Perversely enough, the mantle of guardianship – that of…