Premier Anna Bligh has launched a scathing attack on Federal Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews, describing his comments about the Sudanese community as "racist" and as coming from the "deep south of America in the 1950s".


"I think frankly Australians will see Kevin Andrews' comments for what they are," Ms Bligh told a media conference in Brisbane this morning.


"It has been a long time since I have heard such a pure form of racism out of the mouth of any Australian politician. For it to come to come from the Immigration Minister is particularly disturbing.


"I think we are in for a desperate and ugly federal election campaign and I would suggest that people like Kevin Andrews need to think long and hard about the long-term traumatic effects he will have on the lives of refugee children and their families before he opens his mouth again."


Mr Andrews earlier this week cut the number of African refugees to be accepted into Australia each year, citing the failure of Sudanese refugees to properly integrate as one of the reasons behind the decision.


It prompted talkback callers to raise minor crime issues and talk of Sudanese gangs - issues which have been dismissed by police in Queensland.


Ms Bligh said police data showed Sudanese refugees were not involved in crime any more frequently than any other sector of the Australian community.


"What the crime data shows in Queensland is that the Sudanese community is either under-represented in our crime statistics, or at the same as everybody else," she said.


Ms Bligh said she had been advised by police this morning that the highest proportion of Sudanese immigrants in Queensland was in Toowoomba.


"The police data shows us that those Sudanese refugees are actually under-represented in the crime statistics."


She said Sudanese were basically law-abiding citizens and slammed Mr Andrews' stance.


"Kevin Andrews' comments are basically making a judgment about the character of people on the basis of their race," Ms Bligh said.


"There is no more pure form of racism. And to have it come out of the mouth of the federal Immigration Minister of this country is something that I think Australians will see for what it is - a very transparent and desperate act in the lead up to a federal election."


Ms Bligh said her own experience with Sudanese refugees in her electorate of South Brisbane showed many had spent years in refugee camps and would feel "terribly hurt" by the comments.




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