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Dutton's remarks are the truth: Liberal MP

AAP logoAAP 23/11/2016

A government backbencher has labelled the furore around Peter Dutton's comments a "PR disaster" for Australia's Lebanese-Muslim community.

Andrew Laming told parliament the immigration minister's claim that it was a mistake to let some people into the country because 22 of 33 people charged with terror-related offences were second or third generation immigrants was "prima facie correct".

"We are in a nation that, no matter how uncomfortable, have to be able to express the truth," he said on Wednesday.

"In this dialectic, our failure to engage this reality makes our nation weaker."

The Queensland Liberal MP said Australia needed to talk about the fact that the etho-religious group represented less than 0.5 per cent of the population but got "twice the number of carer payments, three times the number of disability payments, twice the amount of Newstart, 94 per cent unemployed when they arrive and remaining at 80 per cent two to nine years later".

It was a failure as much by the system as it is of that group, Mr Laming said.

"This is a major PR disaster for this ethnic group.

"We need to work towards giving their children the education they need, the youth the training they need, and the young adults the jobs they need so they can share in the Australian dream.

"And until we do that, we'll continue to reap the seeds of terrorism-related offences."

Labor MP Peter Khalil, a son of Egyptian migrants, blasted Mr Dutton: "The minister has displayed a breathtaking ignorance of the success of generations of Lebanese Australians."

Fellow Labor MP Joanne Ryan said she was saddened by Mr Dutton's divisive remarks.

The entire Catholic community wasn't responsible for sexual assaults against children.

"We don't smear a whole community on the back of the actions of a few," she told parliament.

"I'm ashamed that a minister of the Crown would come into this place and try and ... smear communities."

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