It has come to light that the Australian government has funded an anti-refugee movie to scare off asylum seekers. The Independent reports that the government of Australia has spent $6 million of taxpayers’ money to finance a straight-to-TV movie called “Journey” to discourage asylum seekers from coming to the country. The movie debuted on Afghanistan television on Friday, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Sydney Morning Herald also revealed that according to government tender documents, “the Department of Immigration and Border protection paid the Sydney-based Put It Out There Pictures $4.34 million to produce the movie. It paid a company called Lapis Communications a further $1.63 million for to promote and advertise it, bringing the total to $5.97 million.”
The official synopsis on Put It Out There Pictures’ website says it is “a ninety-minute telemovie that charted the passage of a group of asylum seekers attempting to enter Australia by boat. The film aimed to educate and inform audiences in source countries about the futility of investing in people smugglers, the perils of the trip, and the hard-line policies that await them if they do reach Australian waters.”
The site also mentions that the movie has been filmed across three countries. The production includes cast and crew from thirteen different nations.
Pedestrian Daily notes that “Journey” has also screened in Pakistan, Iraq and Iran. Pedestrian states that the government is hopeful of its success in driving away potential immigrants looking for a better life in the island-nation. “Independent research in these countries has revealed misunderstandings and false rumours about Australia’s policy, and a perception that Australia remains a preferred destination country for those seeking to travel illegally by boat. Initial feedback from viewers has been positive.”
The Independent notes that over the last seven years, almost all Afghan refugees arriving via boat in Australia to seek refuge have been found to have come in good faith. Yet, the shocking move by Australian government took place.
This isn’t the only instance of the Australian government taking an anti-refugee stance. They had returned six Bangladeshi nationals to Indonesia earlier this month. There is some good news as well despite that. Australian churches had begun “sanctuary training” people to teach them to resist government officials and police if they try to forcibly remove asylum seekers.
“Journey” will be made available in Dari, Pashto, Urdu, Arabic and Farsi, notes Pedestrian Daily. Though some sections of the movie are in English, no official English subtitled version was made available. It may mean that Australian government does not want the English-speaking public to find out about their questionable motives.
The movie can be seen below.