Australia is among the countries that have barely done anything to deal with the ongoing refugee crisis. In fact, the government has been spending millions in attempts to illegally return the refugees and discourage them from embarking on a journey to the country.
Their “boat turnback” policy sets a precedent for other countries, where thousands of refugees fleeing from conflicted areas were forced to return or seek refugee somewhere else. While some of them were abused on the boats, others were shot, thrown into the sea and left to drown. Some even died because of diseases, lack of nutrition and dehydration.
Last year the government Down Under spent $1.2 billion, just until June, on detaining refugees. In contrast, allowing the asylum seekers to live in the community amounts to one twentieth of the cost and even lesser if they are given the right to work.
However, it seems like the government would rather invest in ad campaigns discouraging refugees from entering the country, instead of using the same finances to facilitate them or donating the funds to another country that is actually accepting refugees.
The Australian government even invested in a propaganda film, sinking around $6 million on a TV movie called “Journey.”
The 90-minute film depicts the pains of refugees traveling across the Indian Ocean, fighting against seasickness and various hardships all while at the risk of the boat sinking.
“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 movie’s Sydney-based production company, Put It Out There Pictures, said on its website.
The film will be screened in countries such as Pakistan, Iraq, and Iran, in hopes of scaring away refugees.
“If I die on the way, what’s the point of going?” said Daud Hossainim 42, while speaking to The Guardian. Apparently, the movie has managed to discourage people from going over to the country.