Dutton: ‘We have to get the balance right’ on visas for Afghans
Defence Minister Peter Dutton has stressed the importance of “getting the balance right” when it comes to granting visas for Afghan workers who helped Australian soldiers. In Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph, Mr Dutton and Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Australia’s strict security vetting procedures for visa applications are not up for negotiation. The Ministers have insisted they won’t put Australians at risk by issuing a blanket approval for every application. Speaking with Sky News host Peta Credlin, Mr Dutton said there are “important points” to be made about the issue. “We know that even if somebody in 2012 was helping the Australians Defence Force, and maybe there’s a digger at the moment that has a case where they’re trying to help somebody come across, who had helped us in Afghanistan … the circumstances could have changed quite dramatically with that individual,” he said. “We know that in some cases, for their own survival, for understandable reasons people have switched allegiances where they might have once supported us, they are now supporting the Taliban. “The second point is that they may come from a family unit where we don’t know anything about the teenage sons. “We’ve made a deliberate strategy in recent years in taking people from Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East where we aren’t taking people that have children or adult children of 18 or 19, 21 years of age, at fighting age when we don’t know anything about them.” Mr Dutton said the last thing the federal government wants to do is “bring the wrong people here who would ultimately seek to do harms to Australians”.