POLITICS

People Share Family Migrant Stories After Dutton's Refugee Comments

Karl Stefanovic titles comments 'unAustralian'.

19/05/2016 8:32 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:52 PM AEST
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Deng Adut, one of the migrant success stories shared

After immigration minister Peter Dutton's comments about refugees being illiterate and innumerate while also taking Australian jobs, countless politicians, journalists and ordinary people have shared their own personal stories about being part of migrant families.

"They won't be numerate or literate in their own language, let alone English... These people would be taking Australian jobs, there's no doubt about that," Dutton said on Sky News on Tuesday, responding the Greens' proposal to boost Australia's refugee intake to 50,000 per year.

Dutton's comments were widely criticised in the multicultural community and beyond, with many using the ironic Twitter hashtag #SoIlliterate to share their success stories about growing up in families where they or their parents had moved to Australia with limited English.

The 2011 national census found 26 percent of Australia's population was born overseas and an additional 20 percent had at least one overseas-born parent, while 18 percent of people spoke a language other than English at home.

Labor Senator Sam Dastyari -- who was born in Iran and emigrated to Australia at age five, before becoming a federal senator at 30 -- spoke passionately on Sky News on Wednesday. He shared his story of moving to Australia with zero English.

"I came here during the end of a very bloody conflict in Iran. This country has given me amazing opportunities... this is a country that should pride itself on what migrants have been able to achieve," Dastyari said.

Here's Sabina Husic, an adviser to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and the sister of federal MP Ed Husic.

TODAY show host Karl Stefanovic shared the story of how his grandparents emigrated to Australia, and how the mother of fellow TODAY regular Tim Gilbert also moved here from Lebanon. Stefanovic titled Dutton's comments "unAustralian".

While journalists Peter van Onselen, Mark Di Stefano and Uma Patel also shared their family stories.

While far more stories under the #SoIlliterate hashtag also drew attention to the success stories of migrants who arrived in Australia with limited or zero English skills.

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