An email to Scott Morrison

Café Whispers

Yesterday, AIMN reader Mark McCallum sent this email to Scott Morrison, which he has shared with us.

Dear Mr Morrison,

I have a question of you in your capacity as Shadow Minister for Immigration.

Part of your policy in regard to people claiming to be asylum seekers approaching Austalia by boat from the general direction of Indonesia, is to “turn the boats around where safe to do so”, I have been trying to envisage how this might be done, and have imagined being present at the discovery of one of the many over-loaded boats off Christmas Island.

As I think it highly unlikely you would suggest that the boat be simply taken in tow with all remaining on board, I presume the occupants would have to be off-loaded on to a suitable vessel, probably an Australian naval ship, and the empty boat tied to said ship for towing. Could you…

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Fanning the flames of asylum seeker fear

Daily Life

amy

Are you scared, yet? According to some media coverage of asylum seekers who arrive by boat, you should be.

Articles from Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.

The Daily Telegraph‘s coverage regularly evokes the idea that we are overwhelmed by – drowning in – a deluge of asylum seekers, despite the fact we only receive about 2 to 3 per cent of the global applications.

Their latest offering is the depersonalising term “human tide”:

“Abbott shuts the door on human tide”*,

“The payments are rich on refugee gravy boat – HUMAN TIDE”** 

Oh, and we can’t forget the “Asylum seeker armada” meme they seem keen to create***.

This is despite a press council ruling earlier this year, which found their use of the terms “invade” “open the floodgates” and “deluge” – in an earlier example of their coverage of the issue – was inaccurate and unfair.

Gee, I guess they learnt their lesson on that one.

So what does it matter? Well, quite a lot actually. We in the mainstream media like to think of ourselves as being a completely unbiased conduit of facts, and if we include opinion or interpretation of those facts it simply reflects the opinions of the mainstream.

But the reality is our interpretation of those facts is just as likely to shape mainstream opinion, as be shaped by it.

It’s a complicated, murky process, so it’s not always easy to unpick. But it seems clear that the studies that have been done indicate this type of media coverage actually makes people more scared of, and more opposed to, refugees.

Research consistently shows that when it comes to outsiders, we are easily influenced by perceptions of real and symbolic threat, and we are more likely to exhibit physical fear responses to people not of our own race.

Refugees, particularly when they are described as a homogenous “human tide”, are clearly outsiders.

Articles that focus on the money given to asylum seekers don’t help. This study found people who perceived refugees as a resource threat were also more likely to have prejudicial attitudes.****

While this one found Australians were extremely reliant on media reporting when it comes to forming their views on asylum seekers. Only a quarter of people surveyed thought asylum seekers come to Australia to flee persecution, as opposed to for economic or other reasons.

People – educated or not – tend to be influenced by the media they consume, and when the media obsessively focuses on an issue such as immigration or refugees, political parties who take extreme positions on those issues tend to gain popularity.

So next time you wonder why boat arrivals are such as massive issue in Australia, or next time you feel anger or fear over asylum seekers, take another look at your local newspaper headline. It might not just be reflecting your fear, it could be shaping it.

*The online version omits the word “human”

** This article informs us that “A single parent with four or more children could receive as much as $706” a fortnight. Wow! $700 for five people over two weeks … BEFORE rent. What a gravy boat! Where do I get myself some of those sweet federal $$$?! You could almost ( … oh, alright, probably not) eat THREE MEALS A DAY with that cash bonanza!

*** This term has been printed about eight times over the past few years. ar·ma·da  /är’mädə/: Noun. “A fleet of warships”.

****An interesting aside: almost every study I looked at on this issue found men had more negative beliefs about asylum seekers than women. I wonder why that is?

Source

TAB’s 500th Post – Mitchey Bieber *****’ ‘Refugee Opinion’

Dear Mitch *****,

Thank you for highlighting your issues with asylum seekers blatant unsubstantiated hatred. You have added to the growing list of morons who are embarrassing our country globally.

Like so many before you, you’ve avoided facts, or at least have just been too damn stupid to understand them.

You seem to think that Australia is only beautiful when it’s populated by festy lunatics like yourself. Refugees risk everything including their lives to seek safety. They are survivors and they know what it’s like to wake up every morning knowing that the day could be their last.

Less than 5% of boat arrivals are found not to be genuine refugees, and the rest are found to be fleeing countries that are ruled by dictators and terrorists. Asylum seekers are forced to hand over their papers and belongings before boarding boats that aren’t even assured to reach their proclaimed destination/s, and they are rubbished by fuckwits like you when they get here who are frightened that they’re going to rape you and steal your hair gel.

By all means, trash those who have come here to seek a better life – a life where they are no longer persecuted, a life where they no longer fear being beaten, raped or killed. Einstein was a refugee, and he worked damn hard. He survived life’s cruel blows and proved people wrong.

You, in comparison to these people, are fucking nothing.

Nazi Links to Australia First Party?? Nahhh… Really?

A Nazi supporter opposing immigration and refugee rights? Should we be surprised? Should we be surprised that he supports and is a part of the Australia First Party?

 

 

 

The Australia First Party and Robbie Brennan. All the intelligence, insight and creativity of a beaten egg.

More Refugees Accepted During Howard Years

In case you were wondering.

In case you thought that ‘KRudd’ had opened the floodgates to dirty terrorist refugee scum, as these actual human beings are often referred to by insecure bigots.

The figures for 2008-09 are around 13,400.

The Anti Bogan strongly opposes the current Government’s decision to halt processing of asylum seekers from Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, and it’s decision to re-open the hell-like camp in Curtin. It only shows that Rudd’s Government is under extreme pressure from loud scaremongering racists to stop people fleeing persecution from coming to Australia.

 

Save the Refugees Rally – Bondi Beach 8.5.10

Went to the rally this morning. A couple of hundred turned out in support of refugees, and opposing the Government’s decisions to not only ‘indefinitely’ suspend the processing of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka and Afghanistan but also the decision to reopen the ‘hellhole’ that is Curtin detention centre – a place described as ‘worse than Woomera’.

It was a great atmosphere, and with a few hundred people in attendance by the end, there was no police presence whatsoever. That in itself, speaks volumes, considering they’re there in numbers whenever the racist bogans get together and organise their massive rallies. You know, the ones where 10 – 15 people turn up…

Protesters were organised into a large ‘life-ring’, and were asked to wear red and yellow to symbolise the lifesaver. The lifesaver does not discriminate, he/she saves those who are in need. The lifesaver acts with compassion. The lifesaver is a recognised symbol of this country, and many lifesavers work as volunteers, adding the value of selflessness to the character.

The next few photos are from http://bramijegan.wordpress.com/

This rally was organised and supported by several organisations, most notably Amnesty International Australia and GetUp. It followed on from the Refugee Action Council’s rally last week, where similar amounts of people were in attendance:

Now, in order to provide a visual demonstration of how the xenophobes figure they’ve got the majority on their side, one only needs to take a look at their attempts at organising peaceful protests against the rights of refugees:

Oh… And in case you were wondering… There have been some counter protests organised to muffle the loud whines of these 10 – 15 racist bogans. Here is what one of them looked like: (On the way to confront the APP at the Villawood Detention Centre)…