CANBERRA -- Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has singled out a particular group of people and linked terrorism to second and third generation Australians as he doubled down on his attack on the immigration legacy of Malcolm Fraser.
Dutton suggested on Monday that the former Liberal Prime Minister should not have let people of "Lebanese-Muslim" background into Australia.
Pressed by Labor Leader Bill Shorten during a testy exchange in question time, Dutton cited as evidence the small group of people who have been charged with terrorism offences.
It comes after the Minister caused controversy last week on Sky News when he declared Fraser had "made mistakes" by allowing some refugees into Australia and the country is "paying for it now".
Dutton did not name Lebanese Muslims at the time, but asked repeated by Shorten to name the people he was referring to last week's Bolt Report program Dutton responded: "The advice I have is that out of the last 33 people who have been charged with terrorist-related offences in this country, 22 of those people are from second- and third-generation Lebanese-Muslim background."
Some government backbenchers appeared uncomfortable and opposition MPs, such as Tim Watts were outraged.
Dutton talks about "People from a second or third generation Lebanese-Muslim background"— Tim Watts MP (@TimWattsMP) November 21, 2016
AKA Grandchildren of migrants
~50% of the Oz population are 'second or third generation'. Is every crime committed by this half of the population an Immigration issue?— Tim Watts MP (@TimWattsMP) November 21, 2016
The Minister regarded the line of questioning by Shorten as "bullying" and said he would not give in.
"I won't be bullied and I won't be demonised by this union leader," Dutton told parliament to howls from opposition benches.
Criticism of Malcolm Fraser's Lebanese migration policies - from back in 2007 when he was still around https://t.co/Y4r7lkaGNk— Mark Colvin (@Colvinius) November 21, 2016
"I am going to call out those people who are doing the wrong thing. And if we pretend otherwise, Mr Speaker, my judgment is that we only compound these problems."
"I don't want people, whether they are longstanding or new arrivals to this country, I don't want those people being harmed. I don't want terrorist offences being committed in our country."
Labor has called on the Immigration Minister to apologise to migrant communities.