Everywhere in Australia, bogans are rejoicing. When they sit down to read their weekend newspapers and see this sprawled in front of them
I wonder what their first thoughts of this advertising campaign would have been. One of the many I have conjured up is as follows:
A middle-aged “true blue Aussie” person sits in the family bathroom with their regular weekend newspaper in front of their face. They turn the page and see “If you come here by boat without a visa, you won’t be settled in Australia” covering the next page. They say aloud “’bout bloody time this f*cken govaman did sumthink bout these friggen boat people.” Excuse the stereotypes, but in my opinion, this advertisement has been designed to reinforce the stereotypes of “boat people” that the media has so cleverly clouded our view with and appeal to bogans for political purposes. As Senator Nick Xenophon argued,
“This is not what government advertising should be about. This ad is directed to people smugglers. How many people smugglers subscribe to the Adelaide Advertiser or the Herald Sun, or the Sydney Morning Herald or The Australian? It is a clear blatant use of taxpayers’ money in a party political way.”
It is a very small target audience if people smugglers is who the advertisement is really directed at. In defense of this campaign Treasurer Chris Bowen said “It is very important that people in Australia understand the new policy settings…” And the government felt that this was the best way to promote widespread understanding of the PNG “Solution”? According to the government this advertising campaign in Australia will soon be followed by an international campaign throughout known people smuggling territory. It feels to me that our government has stereotyped the Australian people as the bogan I have described above. The sad thing is, I know people who will love this ad. They are the people from which my “true blue Aussie” stereotype is from. When they see this ad their own bigoted ideas of what asylum seekers are will be reinforced. This ad seems to make the uneducated and misinformed views of some voters acceptable.
I was discussing the issue of asylum seekers with one of my friends a few days ago and what solutions could be considered. She said,
“Most people don’t know that countries like Turkey and Pakistan and even Syria have more asylum seekers than Australia. I think we are too self internalised, like we only care about ourselves (I mean Australians in general) we tend to ignore the bigger picture. We should be thinking ways to help these people, not ship them off.”
The Australian Government has settled on the “PNG Solution”. What right do we, as a country, have to deny these human beings the basic human right of safety? “Oh, yes we’ll give you safety in Papua New Guinea if you try to get anywhere near Australia.” PNG isn’t exactly at the top of the list when it comes to safety.
This article from The Guardian’s Helen Davidson outlines some of the dangers of Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea has recently readopted the death penalty. Homosexuality is an offence. Papua New Guinea told the United Nations in 2010 that they would not be decriminalising homosexuality. Homosexual acts between two men can be punished with up to 14 years imprisonment. It is seen as a method of control and widely accepted to beat, rape and murder women. The education system in PNG is being neglected.
It is not okay for Australia to pass off these human beings to country that is unable to look after their own people let alone asylum seekers. Papua New Guinea does not have the infrastructure, services and facilities to care for refugees. Australia calls itself a multicultural country, but I can’t help but wonder if this PNG Solution based on racist stereotypes. Australia calls itself the land of a fair go; we aren’t allowing these people any chance of changing their situation and are disallowing them safety and a fair go. Australia is a developed country with the infrastructure to support asylum seekers; as a nation of the world it is our duty to our fellow human beings to allow them the safety of our shores.
Maybe my thoughts on this area are naive and misinformed so tell me, what are your thoughts on this government advertisement and the PNG Solution?