Weekly media wrap - 23 May 2016

Immigration minister Peter Dutton said Australia faced the prospect of “illiterate and innumerate” refugees if it significantly increased its humanitarian intake. Mr. Dutton also said unemployment would rise in response to the Greens’ proposal to increase Australia’s intake to 50,000. The Labor Party has pledged to increase the intake from 13,750 to 27,000.

Mr Dutton’s comments were met with widespread criticism. High profile Today co-host Karl Stefanovic called on Mr Dutton to apologise, before espousing the historic contribution of previous waves of refugees to Australian society. Former Immigration Minister Chris Bowen also demanded an apology, however Prime Minister Turnbull and Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop have defended Mr. Dutton and the Coalition’s record.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale outlined the Greens policy priorities under a post-election scenario where the Labor Party is forced to enter a power sharing arrangement to form government. “More decent and compassionate treatment of those people legitimately seeking asylum” is a key focus for the Greens. Election analysis suggests that increased focus on immigration is a potential weakness for the Labor party – ceding voters to the Greens in the inner city and the Coalition elsewhere.

Fairfax reported that Department of Immigration and Border Protection officials are under investigation for alleged assisting drug and tobacco smugglers with illegal importation. The Department has said they are ‘working actively with law enforcement partners to investigate allegations of serious criminality by its officers at the border’.

The Greek asylum service found that returning an asylum seeker to Turkey under the EU-Turkey deal was inconsistent with the Refugee Convention. Under the deal, asylum seekers who arrive by boat to Greece are returned to Turkey. The deal is controversial as Turkey has not lifted the geographical limits to the Convention and NGOs have reported that Turkey has returned Syrians in breach of the principle of non-refoulement.

At least 10,000 unaccompanied children are unaccounted for by European migration authorities according to a report published by the European Commission. The report suggests that increased irregular migrant flows raises the risk of children being sold in to sex slavery and otherwise exploited.