Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has hit back at critics of a telemovie commissioned by his department to deter Afghan asylum seekers by explaining that the movie is “hardly the worst thing we’ve done”.
The movie, called ‘The Journey’, was paid for by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and cost taxpayers $6 million dollars, which Dutton sees as a small price to pay.
“I seriously can’t understand why anyone would complain about us spending a measly $6 million dollars on this movie to deter asylum seekers when we have spent many more hundreds of millions than that to do much worse things.”
“I mean, indefinitely detaining asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island cost taxpayers more than $1 billion dollars in the 2014-15 financial year, and that includes paying to lock up families and children.”
Prime Minister Turnbull backed up his Immigration Minister.
“It’s quite unfair that people are attacking Peter and the Immigration Department over this movie. Sure, does it seem like we spent millions of dollars on a propaganda film to show a horrifying depiction of what might happen to people who want to escape a terrifying reality in order to make sure they don’t dare think Australia will help them? Yes.”
“But really, there’s no way this can be as bad as some of the other ways we have actively treated refugees and asylum seekers. We have done just so many bad things; this movie thing probably doesn’t even rank in the top five.”
Mr Dutton explained further, acknowledging some confusion around the necessity of the film.
“Some are asking why we needed to make this film when we have obviously stopped all of the boats, and to them I say that you can never be too careful. We need to ensure we never give the impression that Australia is a humane place.
Spending $6 million dollars on a movie to show asylum seekers exactly how determined we are not to help them seemed like the best way to do that.”
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