IAN MACPHEE on Peter Dutton (repost from December 2016)

The attack by Peter Dutton on Malcolm Fraser’s refugee policies is outrageous. We have had a succession on inadequate Immigration Ministers in recent years but Dutton is setting the standard even lower Yet Turnbull recently declare him to be an ‘outstanding immigration minister’. The Liberal Party has long ceased to be liberal.

Yet it outraged many community organisations led by former refugees and their children with whom I have remained in contact. Their anger is justified. For Dutton’s words offended them, especially as they attacked Malcolm Fraser for whom they have profound respect and whose policies enabled them to integrate with and expand the understanding of other Australians of the rich, diversified culture that Australia has due to the contribution of migrants and refugees.

When Dutton’s remarks were reported I was at a conference on refugee law and policy at the Kaldor Centre at the University of New South Wales. All present were experts on aspects of refugee settlement and were astonished by Dutton’s ignorance.

A Parliamentary enquiry has been established to consider resettlement outcomes for migrants to Australia. I hope that some of the experts at the conference will be allowed to participate and defuse ignorant, alarmist voices such as those of Dutton, Bolt and Hanson.

Ian Macphee, Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs in the Fraser Government, 1979-82.

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3 Responses to IAN MACPHEE on Peter Dutton (repost from December 2016)

  1. Dennis Allan says:

    There are no good men left in the Liberal party – the part of scoundrels.

  2. Greg Bailey says:

    There can be no doubt that Dutton is the lightning rod for the far right in the LNP. I suppose the only bright spot is that his extreme views are laid out for all to see. However, the real problem remains Malcolm Turnbull, whose complete indifference is the conduit that enables this kind of extremism to spread out into the public arena, and to paint the Liberal Party as a very hard right grouping. Turnbull still attracts the main stream press as someone who might have small ‘l’ Liberal leanings, if only he would show them. This surely is a pious hope that will never be realised as long as he does not take a genuine leadership stance on Dutton’s racism, or on Climate Change, as another fundamental issue.

    Perhaps as bad, though, is that the majority of the Australian population will take neither Dutton nor Turnbull to task for the extremism they are sanctifying. I suspect on a face to face basis most Australians are not especially racist, but they are unwittingly prepared to support politicians who would institutionalise racist attitudes.
    It is a pity Ian Macphee no longer has an influence in the Liberal Party.

  3. Jon Stanford says:

    I was privileged to catch up with Ian Macphee recently at the funeral of his former Chief of Staff in Canberra, the first time I had seen him since meeting him when he was a Minister 35 years ago. It reminded me on the one hand what an extraordinarily decent human being he is and, on the other, how he could never succeed in the Liberal Party in this day and age. Nowadays it is difficult to see that anybody with his ‘small-L’ liberal values would ever gain pre-selection, even in Victoria. He said that when his neighbours in Gippsland ask him what he did before he retired, he is content merely to say “I was a lawyer”!

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