The former One Nation senator joined a rally in Brisbane on the weekend in support of Peter Dutton’s calls to extend humanitarian visas to white South African farmers
Independent crossbench senator Fraser Anning would back any plan to give white South African farmers preference for refugee visas, labelling violence towards white farmers in the country a “genocide”.
Senator Anning, who quit One Nation an hour after he was sworn in to become an independent, attended a rally in Brisbane on Sunday in support of the farmers.
Hundreds marched outside the Queensland parliament in support of Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton, who sparked controversy with his recent pledge to consider a ‘special’ intake of white South African farmers facing violence in their homeland.
Senator Anning said he was surprised by the turnout, which he claims was over 1,000 people. The organisers are now planning a similar march in Perth.
“These people are being persecuted. It’s now verging on a genocide as far as I’m concerned,” Senator Anning told SBS News in an interview on Monday.
“When you have state-sponsored people with the state complicit in this, slaughtering whites simply because they’re white, that’s genocide,” he said.
Senator Anning also backed Mr Dutton’s assessment that white South African farmers would easily integrate with broader Australian society.
“They’re a similar type of people to us, with similar views and Christian values.”
Backbench Liberal MP Andrew Laming also spoke at the Brisbane rally, blasting government departments for caving to “political correctness”.
Mr Laming praised his “great colleague” Peter Dutton for prosecuting the case.
“He [Dutton] could have sat behind the PC [politically correct] crap we see from government departments, who say the murder rate here is no different to the murder rate down the road,” he told the crowd.
In parliament on Monday, Mr Laming said the issue needed to be handled “extremely carefully”.
Rather than advocating a new fast-tracked visa, Mr Laming suggested the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade may have overlooked the problem in South Africa and failed to recommend persecuted white farmers for humanitarian visa consideration.
“DFAT might have taken a position that there are simply no grounds for using them in South Africa, and I simply urge my own department to look carefully at recent cases,” he told the parliament.
Earlier in the month, the Home Affairs department confirmed to SBS News it was "monitoring the situation of minority groups in South Africa" and considering "potential resettlement under the offshore humanitarian program".
South Africa’s foreign ministry responded angrily to Mr Dutton’s comments, expressing its “regret” that the minister did not make use of diplomatic channels to voice his concern.
"That threat does not exist," the South African foreign ministry in Pretoria told Reuters at the time.
"There is no reason for any government in the world to suspect that a section of South Africans is under danger from their own democratically elected government.”
Refugee advocates in Australia have also accused Mr Dutton of racial bias by prioritising white South African farmers.
In a separate weekend rally for refugees in Melbourne, a spokesman for the Refugee Action Collective attacked Mr Dutton’s comments.
"The Turnbull government is about to hit 30 losing newspolls in a row, their refugee bashing is not popular, but in desperation Dutton has doubled down and summoned the ghost of White Australia,” Chris Breen said.
“He offered to fast track visas for white South African farmers on the same day he was trying to deport a young Tamil family from Biloela, and while pointedly refusing to take any Rohingya refugees from Australia's backyard.”
Statistics about violence on farms in South Africa vary depending on the source, and it is difficult to verify claims about the extent of the violence against white farmers specifically.
South Africa's ruling ANC party is planning new laws that will allow the government to redistribute farmland without paying compensation, in an escalated push to give black South Africans more access to the land.
White farmers are a racial minority in South Africa but own a disproportionate amount of farmland, as a legacy of the country's apartheid era.
The government has been buying back land from white farmers for years but has been frustrated by slow progress in increasing the percentage of black ownership.
According to police, 74 farmers were murdered between 2016 and 2017 in South Africa, which has one of the world's highest crime rates.