Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has played down connecting refugees to terrorism, saying it would be like saying all terrorists are male and "linking testicles to terrorism".
Appearing on Sky News' PM Agenda program with David Speers on Thursday, Joyce refused to make any connection between acts of terror and refugees who have come to Australia.
"When you say there's no link between refugees and terrorism, if you look at the last three fatal terror attacks in Australia over the last three years they've all been refugees either coming as kids or..." Speers began.
"Well that's like saying they're all blokes. So do you think there's a link between testicles and terrorism?" Joyce responded.
"There are a lot of people in this nation who are refugees. 99.99 percent of people who are refugees are not terrorists, so if you say there's a link, what are you going to say to the other 99.99 percent? They're going to say 'well, I'm not a terrorist mate'."
Well done @BarnabyJoyceLNP for sticking up for refugees. You actually made me proud of you. Here's to testicles!— Euan Thomas (@EuanJ_Thomas) June 1, 2017
Joyce's comments come following a week of debate about the possibility of a connection between refugees and terrorism after the head of Australia's top spy agency ASIO Duncan Lewis rebuffed One Nation leader Pauline Hanson during Senates estimates questioning, saying there is "absolutely no evidence to suggest there's a connection."
In a rare media interview on Wednesday, Lewis doubled down on his comments, acknowledging that some refugees and their children have become radicalised, and subsequently subjects of interest for ASIO, but he told the ABC going through the refugee program is not the reason.
Instead, he stated the terror source is radical Sunni Islam.
"I have absolutely no evidence to suggest there's a connection between refugees and terrorism," Lewis told RN Breakfast.
"The facts are the refugee program is not the source of terrorism in Australia. The source is radical Sunni Islam," he added.
There have been four terror attacks in Australia since September 2014 and 12 thwarted attacks.
Lewis conceded 11 of the 12 thwarted incidents involved young male radicalised Sunni Muslims, but he said there was no evidence refugees are more likely to radicalise than the general Muslim population.
ALSO ON HUFFPOST AUSTRALIA