Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s sudden interest in the plight of white South African farmers is nothing more than an exercise in shoring up hard-right voters. It is clear from Dutton’s statements on the issue -- of a recent move by the South African Parliament to recommend an amendment to that nation’s constitution to allow for expropriation of agricultural land without compensation -- that he knows nothing about the complexity of the issue, or the fact that the prospects of it becoming a reality are far from certain.

It is telling that the major group representing South African white farmers, AfriForum SA, is not keen on Dutton’s uncharacteristic generosity towards individuals who want to come to Australia. "Our future is in Africa, not elsewhere," the lobby group’s chief executive Kallie Kriel said. White farmers -- who, by the way, hold a staggering 73% of agricultural land despite apartheid ending more than two decades ago -- know that it is one thing for the legislators to pass a resolution seeking an amendment to the constitution, and quite something else for that desire to be translated into a legal reality.