Right and left-wing groups have faced off outside Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s office during a protest over the treatment of white farmers in South Africa.
Members of the Australian Liberty Alliance (ALA) and other groups delivered a petition calling on the Federal Government to create a special refugee visa category for the farmers.
Both sides taunted each other from across the street, with the left-wingers holding signs saying “fight racism” while the right-wingers carried banners saying “let the right ones in”.
The petition calls for 80 per cent of humanitarian visas to be given to white farmers.
As the ALA supporters crossed the street to deliver the petition, they had to walk through the left-wing groups.
An examination of former prime minister Tony Abbott’s claim that 400 white farmers were murdered in South Africa last year.
The shouting increased and there was some pushing and shoving, forcing the police to intervene and keep the rival groups apart.
However, no-one was arrested.
ALA activist Avi Yemini said the Government should create a quota for South Africans within the humanitarian visa intake for next financial year.
“We want a commitment … just like we did for the Syrians last year,” he said.
“The only reason anybody [from the Government] can give that they’re not doing that is because they’re white and they’re Christian.”
ALA president Debbie Robinson said South Africans did not have time to wait for visas.
“The situation in South Africa right now is dire,” she said.
“There are people being slaughtered, women and children [are] being raped.
“[Visas], they take time and there is no time for these people, they are going to disappear if we don’t do something soon.”
ALA protesters accused of racism
Sarah, who spoke on behalf of the gathered left-wing groups, said the ALA and their supporters were racists.
“I would describe that petition as being white Australia policy by stealth,” she said.
“They know they can’t come out and say ‘let’s ban black and white refugees’, so instead they do it by stealth.”
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton caused a diplomatic row last month when he said white farmers were facing “horrific circumstances” in South Africa and deserved “special attention” from a civilised country.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull later said Australia had been raising its concerns with the South African Government about violence there.
He reiterated Australia’s humanitarian program was open to South Africans who feared persecution, but insisted no special category would be required.
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