Jovial Today show host Karl Stefanovic has shown his serious side in a segment slamming comments made by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.
On Thursday Mr Stefanovic accused Mr Dutton of being “un-Australian” by claiming “many” asylum seekers “won’t be numerate or literate in their own language, let alone English”.
Mr Dutton also said that increasing Australia’s humanitarian intake would result in asylum seekers “taking Australian jobs”.
Mr Stefanovic took issue with Mr Dutton’s comments on behalf of the various immigrants in his life, including his own grandparents and the parents of Today‘s sports presenter Tim Gilbert.
“Regardless of politics there is something about Peter Dutton’s comments yesterday that didn’t sit well with many Australians including myself and Tim Gilbert,” Mr Stefanovic said.
“Timmy’s mother, came here as a little girl from Lebanon with her parents just before the second world war. Her family with little English and little money.
“They got busy working as hawkers, graduating to their own businesses and quickly picking up the lingo.
“My grandparents were the same, they spent a year at an immigration camp at Wollongong. He got a job working the coal for BHP, stayed there for 30 years. They built a house with their own hands in Balambi and built a life for their grandchildren to enjoy.”
Mr Stefanovic accused Mr Dutton of “cherry-picking” statistics in order to defend his opinions.
He cited a 2011 report that claimed “humanitarian entrants” meet labour shortages and “display strong entrepreneurial qualities compared with other migrants group”.
“They would have been considered illiterate,” Mr Stefanovic said of he and Mr Gilbert’s relatives.
“But this country is built on so many pillars including those that come from far away lands with not much more than hope and the drive for a better life for their family. They have made this a better place.”
The host finished his rant by calling on Mr Dutton to apologise.
“It’s a cliche, but what Peter Dutton said yesterday was un-Australian,” he said.
“Given his time again he may have chosen a different way to a articulate it but what’s done is done and I think he needs to apologise.”
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull defended Mr Dutton, describing him as “outstanding Immigration Minister” and backing his controversial comments.
“As Peter was saying earlier today, many of them come to Australia from shattered areas of the world,” Mr Turnbull said.
“They are from dreadful, devastated, war-torn regions of the world.”
Both the Greens and the opposition are proposing to increase Australia’s annual refugee intake.