Tag Archives: fear

Apparently, this isn’t new

25 Nov

Only a matter of hours after yesterday’s piece hit the Twittersphere, I got sent a link to the ‘notopeoplesmuggling‘ (points for sheer originality) YouTube profile page. And, as it turns out, the commercials in desperate need of casting are not the first of their kind.

On the profile page, you can find several short videos (in various languages) commissioned by the government to scare the living shit out of asylum seekers in ‘staging’ countries like Indonesia & Malaysia so they don’t exercise their perfectly legal right to seek political/humanitarian asylum & the protection of the Australian government. Indonesia is just a picnic for refugees, by the way.

I can see no compelling reason to expect that the newly commissioned commercials will be any different than the following, but they’re really going to have to work at it if they want to be more disgusting.

‘The Smuggler’ – the motto seems to be here, if you even think you know somebody desperately running for their life, don’t you dare attempt to help them in anyway or you’re a people smuggler! Complete with cheeseball play-cop soundtrack.

‘Left Behind’ – the most abhorrent piece of government propaganda i’ve seen in quite a while. Nobody wants to admit Siev X even happened on say it’s anniversary, but hey, Labor’s not short of exploiting the fuck out of a tragedy caused by exactly this kind of insane fear-mongering. And all whilst not mentioning that it wasn’t the ‘people smugglers’ who left 353 fellow human beings to drown.

You can visit the production company responsible for creating the next lot of thoroughly vile government propaganda at their website, maybe suggest whilst you’re there that with the plethora of stupid consumer objects to hock to gullible idiots, they wouldn’t miss the work if they did the right thing and just told Borders & Customs to go jump.

I have very little faith in the possibility of them giving a shit however, so maybe we’d be better off forwarding on this piece of eternal wisdom from the late, great William Melvin Hicks:


Casting Call for Asylum Seekers: ‘needs to be able to cry and be emotional’

24 Nov

Sometimes, all one can do is sit back in awe of the Gillard government’s dedication to distorted priorities, callous stupidity & arrogant insensitivity.

By the way of a little birdy:

From: xxxx

Date: 24 November 2010 09:53
Subject: Urgently seeking Afghani and Sri Lankan actors

A campaign is being conducted by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service in Malaysia to inform people of the dangers of people smuggling and human trafficking, please find following details of the campaign and the talent we are seeking.

The turnaround time is very short – casting is taking place on Thursday 25thNovember at the offices of Luscious the production company engaged to produce three vignettes which will form part of the campaign. Their offices are located in Redfern. Filming will take place the following week (day/time TBC).

The casting brief for the three vignettes is as follows:

FEMALE 40s- Afghan and/or Sri Lankan MOTHER who has lost her son on the boat. She has borrowed money to put her son on the boat and now still owes the debt, even though her son is dead- Needs to be very emotional and upset onscreen.

MALE 40s- 50s- Afghan and/or Sri Lankan FATHER. Weathered and has been detained by immigration authorities. He is now locked up overseas and cannot see or talk to his family- Needs to be able to be heartbroken and show guilt for the decisions he’s made

MALE 20s-30s- Afghan and/or Sri Lankan HUSBAND. He has lost his wife to her being put on the boats and now he has to bring up his daughter by himself and she has no mother.- Needs to be able to cry and be emotional

The talent will need to speak their native language for the respective vignettes, however, performance is critical and language should not be a barrier to finding the right talent. We have not yet been provided with scripts.

Further information about the campaign can be found at the following link (www.australia-asylum.com/

It’s reassuring to know that in the face of so many pressing questions about Australia’s mandatory detention regime, both ethical & otherwise, that the government has a particularly ‘urgent’ hard-on for creating horror-story public service announcements for use in the international market. The shameless manner in which the advertisements exploit the immense, long-term suffering of thousands of men, women & children makes the whole concept disgusting. Similarly, the bi-partisan consensus on manufacturing hysteria about the ‘people smuggling’ industry (whilst almost completely blacking out any stories that would humanise, contextualise or invoke feelings of empathy with the story of an asylum seeker) is as contemptible as it is detached from what, in a politically inconsequential little thing called reality, actually drives trends in boat-arrivals:

Proponents of the push factor view claim that the numbers of people attempting to enter Australia to seek refugee status – including those that arrive by boat – are primarily driven by events outside of Australia’s direct control. They argue that events like war, political unrest and other causes of human displacement and general misery around the world create a supply of asylum seekers that spread throughout the globe seeking sanctuary and a better life, and that the numbers coming to Australia are primarily a function of these events rather than domestic Australian policy.

The Pull Factor school of thought on the other hand claims that it is primarily Australian domestic policy responses that define the number of people seeking asylum in Australia. They argue that there is always a large supply of those seeking asylum around the world, and that marginal changes in Australian domestic policy lead to large changes in the proportion of that global pool that will choose to seek asylum in Australia rather than alternative destinations. The Pull Factor school ultimately argues that marginal changes in the deterrence level of Australian policy is the difference between pushing asylum seekers away to be someone else’s problem, or pulling them toward Australia to become our problem [see the study & data in previous link]

That is to say, no matter how good at xenophobic kabuki-theater our esteemed political leaders are, nonsensical pro-wrestling style smacktalk about punishments for people smuggling has pretty much fuck all to do with why desperate people do desperate & dangerous things. In fact, it’s a simple as this: Ordinary People Do Fucked Up Things When Fucked Up Things Become Ordinary.

Meanwhile, pleas to Immigration Minister Chris Bowen (including from the UN High Commission on Human Rights’ Special Rapporteur on Torture) to use the discretion afforded to him by his position & intervene to prevent the refoulement of a family of Chinese nationals active in an ‘unregistered’ (and thus illegal) Christian church have fallen on willfully deaf ears:

[from October 29th] Late yesterday afternoon, the Ministerial Intervention Unit rejected new information to the Minister documenting the danger that faces the underground Christian family if they are returned. Included in that new information was a copy of a Chinese government summons for the father to appear in court. His brother, who recently returned to China, was detained and questioned by Chinese authorities.

The family’s older first son, resident in China, was only recently released after seven months in a re-education camp for holding an “unlawful assembly” of an underground Christian group … The mother, who attempted suicide in the early hours of this morning is presently scheduled for removal later today, but the father, and his son, were removed on the schedule flight from Sydney at 10.50am.


The mother of the Chinese family, who husband and son were deported on October 29, will remain in Australia until November 19 when a court challenge to her deportation will be heard. The woman is a member of an underground Christian family who will face persecution if she returns to China. There is an outstanding summons for her husband, who has already been deported, to appear in court from the Chinese Public Security Bureau.

However the court case is unlikely to do more than postpone her deportation until November 19. The only way she will be able to remain in Australia is through the intervention of the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen.

As Bowen, who was presented with evidence of the family’s persecution several times from several different sources, evidently has no qualms about rubber-stamping the division of a family that had already lived in Australia together for over eight years, what happened next is an all to familiar shame – on the 21st of November sources in contact with the family reported that, despite her attempt to take her own life several weeks earlier, the mother was also returned to China. And, no doubt, to a summoning before the (predictably) ominously acronymed PSB – a glorified kangaroo court with the power to sentence her to ‘re-education through labor’.

If nothing else, it’s a fairly irrefutable statement of what Labor’s real priorities & principles (or lack thereof) are on this matter.

This country needs a fucking shake up…