No visa changes planned to prioritise white South African farmers: Bishop

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says she's not aware of any humanitarian visa changes after Peter Dutton's call for "special attention" for South African farmers.

There's no planned changes to visa programs that would give white South African farmers priority over other humanitarian visa applicants, Julie Bishop says.

The foreign minister indicated on Friday that she and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton were working to determine if changes were needed to the offshore humanitarian visa program.

Mr Dutton had suggested persecuted white farmers deserved "special attention".

"I do think, on the information that I've seen, people do need help and they need help from a civilised country like ours," he said.

But Ms Bishop on Sunday said she wasn't aware of any planned changes.

"I believe the humanitarian program's credibility comes from the fact that it is non-discriminatory and that each application is assessed on its merits," she told ABC's Insiders program.


"That's been the case under the Turnbull Government, and as far as I'm aware, there are no plans to change that visa program."

South African officials were offended by Mr Dutton's comments and Pretoria last week hauled in Australia's high commissioner to South Africa Adam McCarthy to demand a retraction.

Published 18 March 2018 at 12:06pm, updated 18 March 2018 at 9:11pm