No white farmer backflip: Dutton

Mr Dutton says the government has not gone back his comments last month that persecuted white farmers need protection from a “civilised country” like Australia.

The denial comes after South Africa’s Foreign Affairs Minister Lindiwe Sisulu welcomed a “retraction” from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop.

Mr Dutton said on Tuesday he’d seen a letter from Ms Bishop to Ms Sisulu but it contained no suggestions of repudiation or retraction.

“I’m not sure what domestic issues are at play in terms of the politics in South Africa that would bring this comment out but it’s not based on any factual statement of anyone within the Australian government,” he told Sky News.

Mr Dutton said the government’s position was “as I stated it a couple of weeks ago” — that the refugee and humanitarian program was available to eligible people, with cases considered on an individual basis.

“And in fact we’re having a look at several now,” he said. Mr Dutton also said at the time that farmers deserved “special attention” because they faced violence and land seizures.

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