Australian Federal Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton during a joint press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. A meeting of the Australian Federal Coalition MP's endorsed a cabinet decision on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015 to offer permanent placement of 12,000 refugees.
Australian Federal Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton during a joint press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015. A meeting of the Australian Federal Coalition MP's endorsed a cabinet decision on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015 to offer permanent placement of 12,000 refugees. AAP Image - Sam Mooy

Dutton apologises for rising sea levels insult

IMMIGRATION Minister Peter Dutton has apologised for joking about the plight of Pacific Island countries facing rising sea levels.

The comments drew criticism from Pacific Island leaders, including Kiribati president Anote Tong.

"As long as there is this kind of attitude, this kind of arrogance in any position of leadership, we will continue to have a lot of tension," Mr Tong said.

Mr Dutton previously refused to comment on the joke but came out with an apology yesterday.

"I should have realised the mic was there and didn't, it was directly behind me but I made a mistake," he told Sky News.

"I apologise to anyone who's taken offence to it.

"It was a light-hearted discussion with the PM and I didn't mean any offence to anyone.

"If people have taken offence then they should accept my apology."

A microphone at a meeting on Syrian refugees recorded Mr Dutton joking about the event running late because it was running on "Cape York time".

Prime Minister Tony Abbott replied: "We had a bit of that up in Port Moresby."

"Time doesn't mean anything when you're about to have water lapping at your door," Mr Dutton added.

- APN Newsdesk


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