Angus Campbell warns asylum seekers not to travel to Australia by boat
Quelle: The Guardian
Critics say the Abbott government is politicising the military over its border protection strategies
Australian customs and border protection has launched a series of advertisements on YouTube featuring the commander of Operation Sovereign Borders Angus Campbell warning asylum seekers, including unaccompanied minors, “you will not make Australia home”, drawing further criticism the Abbott government has politicised the military in its handling of border protection.
The video message lasts just over a minute and has Campbell standing next to a sign saying “No Way”. “The message is simple, if you come to Australia illegally by boat, there is no way you will ever make Australia home,” he says.
The campaign is understood to be part of a controversial campaign launched by the Coalition government to deter asylum seekers from coming to Australia by boat. Previously, Guardian Australia revealed customs had disseminated a graphic novel showing Afghan asylum seekers suffering in offshore detention camps, which critics described as “incredibly poor taste”.
Campbell has fronted video messages in the past but had not previously warned of the government’s policy of turning back asylum seeker boats.
He states that “the Australian government has introduced the toughest border protection measures ever.”
And adds: “It is the policy and practice of the Australian government to intercept any vessel that is seeking to illegally enter Australia and safely remove it beyond our waters.”
When he was in opposition, Morrison criticised the Labor government for spending more than $3m on an advertising campaign to deter asylum seekers after the introduction of the so-called “PNG solution”, labelling it election “propaganda”.
Campbell’s address, which has been translated into 12 languages, including Vietnamese, Bahasa and Arabic, has received only a few hundred views in English since it was uploaded a week ago.
The most popular version of the message – in Dari – has been viewed more than 9,000 times, but the translation in Hindi has only been watched 13 times.
“If you travel by boat without a visa you will not make Australia home,” Campbell says. “The rules apply to everyone: families, children, unaccompanied children, educated and skilled. There are no exceptions. Do not believe the lies of people smugglers. These people will steal your money and place your life and the life your family at risk for nothing.”
Greens immigration spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the video indicated the lines between politics and the military had been “completely destroyed”.
“In this video, the military is blatantly being used as the Abbott government’s mouthpiece.
“The Government should be respecting the independence of the military rather than using Operation Blame the Soldiers to hide behind it.”
Scott Morrison’s office has been contacted for comment.