• image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
Tuesday, 31 May 2016 12:57

Australia's refugees respond to jibe from Peter Dutton

Rate this item
(0 votes)

Fr Lam Vu ofmcapFr Lam Vu, refugee, architect and now Capuchin priest was willing to respond to comments made by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton that refugees are uneducated, unemployable and at the same time “taking Australian jobs”, reports The Catholic Leader.

In an interview with Sky News on May 17, Mr Dutton said: “They won’t be numerate or literate in their own language, let alone English. These people would be taking Australian jobs, there’s no question about that.”

Fr Vu, who is parish priest at St Mary’s, South Brisbane, was born in Vietnam in 1971, and fled with his family before finally arriving in Inala on Brisbane’s south-west.  

He was eight years old, the second youngest of nine children.

“I don’t know where I would be or what I would do, if Australia didn’t receive us,” he said.

“If accepting a refugee person like me takes away Australian jobs and benefits, and is costly to the country, then aren’t we taking away the benefits of people that refugee person will touch in the future?  

“How else would these people come to know God and be cared for, if I didn’t come?  

“St Francis of Assisi once said, ‘For it is in giving, that we receive’.”

Edmund Rice Centre director and Refugee Council president Phil Glendenning described the comments as a blatant attempt to appeal to the lowest common denominator of society – prejudice and bigotry.

“Not only are these comments inaccurate, they are deeply offensive to the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have come to our country over many generations,” Mr Glendenning said.

 “Peter Dutton’s comments are simply contradictory – if refugees are illiterate, innumerate and ‘lurking about on unemployment queues’ how will they ‘take Australian jobs’?

“As the saying goes, never let facts and logic get in the way of a scare campaign.

“The fact is Australia can and should take more refugees – in 1949 alone we resettled 90,000 refugees.

“Refugees and their children have gone on to become successful business people, doctors, academics, actors and sports players.

“All research indicates that refugees provide an economic benefit to the nation.”

Read more commentary from the full story published on 25 May 2016 in The Catholic Leader, the weekly publication of the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.  

Read more about the life and work of the Capuchin Franciscan Friars in Australia.