"That's not what he said": Julie Bishop accuses Waleed Aly of misquoting in heated interview.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has defended Peter Dutton’s controversial comments on Lebanese-Muslim Australians, telling The Project co-host Waleed Aly the Immigration Minister was being misquoted.

In parliament on Monday, Dutton implied there was a link between second and third generation migrant Lebanese Muslims and terrorism. This was just days after he labelled former prime minister Malcolm Fraser’s 1970s immigration policies – which permitted Lebanese refugees to live in Australia – “a mistake”.

The Foreign Minister appeared on The Project last night to discuss a different matter but as the only member of the government on the show this week, Aly questioned her on her colleague’s conduct.

“I want to ask you whether or not you think Peter Dutton was wrong to say Malcolm Fraser should not have let Lebanese Muslims into Australia in the 1970s?,” Aly asked.

“Well that’s not what he said. He was talking about the situation years ago where we didn’t provide the kind of support and services to people coming in to Australia that we do today, and that can have consequences,” Bishop responded.

"That's not what he said". Source: The Project

What Dutton said was that the migrant group made up a large portion of those travelling overseas to become foreign fighters: "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."

This built on his previous assertion that "Malcolm Fraser did make mistakes in bringing some people in, in the 1970s."

The comments were slammed by the Lebanese Muslim community and many others, but Bishop appeared to reinterpret them for the Channel 10 audience last night.


"The point is today we provide significant resources, support services to help people integrate, particularly those who come on refugee and humanitarian visas who may have come from very truamatic backgrounds," she said.

"We ensure that they have the support so that they can become contributing members to society."

Source: The Project

Aly pressed: "So you would say that absolutely there is no suggestion from anybody in the government in support of a discriminatory immigration policy?"

"Absolutely not, we have a non discriminatory immigration system," Bishop replied.

"We are one of the most successful multicultural nations on earth and that's because we welcome people from all corners of the globe.

"But we also want them to become contributing members to society and I think that's one of Australia's great strengths."

The Lebanese Muslim Association has issued a statement condemning the views as "baseless, unfounded and uninformed."

"The Australian Lebanese community is not political fodder. Mr Dutton is accountable for his divisive rhetoric and we would remind him that he and his government's responsibility is to preserve our successful multicultural country,"  president Samier Dandan said.

Yesterday it was revealed that Egyptian-born Labor MP Anne Aly and her family had received death threats in the wake of the remarks.