Peter Dutton has suggested that the former prime minister Malcolm Fraser should not have let people of "Lebanese-Muslim" background into Australia – citing as evidence a small cohort of individuals who have been charged with terrorism offences.

The immigration minister made the potentially incendiary remark after being pressed by Labor during question time on Monday.

Labor went on the offensive after the immigration minister's declaration on the Andrew Bolt program on Sky News last week that Fraser had made mistakes in bringing some migrants to Australia during the 1970s – and the country was paying for that now.

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