RISE:Refugees, Survivors and ex-detainees is alarmed by Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton?s race baiting comment that refugees are “illiterate and innumerate in their own language” and would take ?Australian jobs?.

Mr. Dutton?s comment is backed by none other than Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, a perfect example of the ingrained racism in his government. Such fear mongering tactics feed into conservative Australia, inciting xenophobia and hatred and endangers the lives of our people. Furthermore, we are appalled at how refugees are referred to as commodities to serve the political and economic interests of the privileged.

Ramesh Fernandez, founder of RISE and former ex-detainee says ?by saying we are illiterate and stealing your jobs, politicians continue to normalise their racist insults towards refugees, while holding refugees and asylum seekers hostage in Manus and Nauru.?

Ramesh Fernandez also questions ?Why Peter Dutton does not comment on ?operational matters? such as rape, sexual abuse, boat turnbacks, murder and torture of refugees and asylum seekers, but he is happy to comment on ?illiterate? refugees taking Australian jobs. More refugees and asylum seekers exiled by the Australian government on these islands for ?processing? have died under Peter Dutton?s watch than have been resettled in this country.?

RISE calls on Trade unions, migrant and refugee/asylum seeker organisations and members of the public to condemn the race baiting language as well as the abusive and divisive wedge tactics used by Australian politicians against refugees during successive election campaigns for over a decade in this country.