Government whip Ewen Jones has slapped down his party colleague for stoking security fears of refugees, suggesting that the cure for cancer could come from a new arrival from Syria.
Ewen Jones spoke to BuzzFeed News after government senator Cory Bernardi called for a halt of Australia's extra 12,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq arguing there could be terrorists among them.
"Sure there could be a terrorist in there, but there could also be the cure for cancer," said Jones.
"Cory has his views and I dispute them. (Immigration minister) Peter Dutton has told us the screening process is good and they'll pick anything up."
Bernardi used an interview on ABC News 24 to suggest there could be terrorists among the new refugees who will come to Australia.
"We have extremist elements at work in this country. Why would we risk bringing in more to add to their ranks, even potentially, and bear the financial and social burden that comes with that?"
The conservative senator's calls come as some politicians around the western world put a ban on refugees from Syria citing security concerns. In the US, 31 state governors have refused to accept Syrian refugees.
Senior government ministers have been pushing back against security concerns about the 12,000 new refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks. Treasurer Scott Morrison said the new Australians would pass all security checks.
"These would be arguably the most pre-cleared group of people to come to Australia. These groups will obviously have a very high of review attached to it, as you would expect," said Morrison on 2GB Radio on Monday morning.
Ewen Jones told BuzzFeed News the threat from terrorist attacks could come from people who are already citizens in Australia.
"There could be a fifth-generation Australian that's a terrorist, you just can't know."
Mark Di Stefano is a media and politics correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Mark Di Stefano at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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