“Go Back” Series Two: human misery on prime time television with ads

2 Sep

I just watched two episodes of “Go Back to Where You Came From.” As with the first series, I again feel conflicted about the dire circumstances of refugees and asylum seekers being turned into spectacle for comfortable Westerners such as myself to gape at, and indulge in an emotional reaction of one kind or another from the safety of my couch.

It also offers an opportunity to camp on the high moral ground along with Allen Asher, Imogen Birley and Catherine Deveney.  Because even though I think Asher, Deveney and Birley’s positions are right and good and honest, and echo many of my own, we do get to occupy the morally superior position, a nice warm place to be, and that does give us the chance to look down on the likes of Peter Reith, Angry Anderson and Michael Smith who, initially at least, act like total crap.

I have to say I’m a bit bloody sick of this good and evil dichotomy. It’s all getting a bit George W Bush.

A justification for the co-opting of human misery to prime time television (complete with advertisements, I’ll get back to that) would be if three male participants whose minds were changed by their up close and personal encounters with fear, terror, hunger, thirst, illness and misery endured by millions every day were to become a voice for asylum seekers for longer than the interest in the television series lasts. Then much may be achieved, as they change the opinions of their bigoted followers and deprive the rabid xenophobes of a voice and leaders.

I’m mindful that since the first series of Go Back, things have got so much worse for boat arrivals. Clearly, whatever the personal epiphanies experienced by those participants, they’ve stayed personal, because our politicians have only got worse.

The first series hasn’t changed a thing for the better. And here we are again, gasping with outrage and emotion in between our dinner and the bedtime Milo.

Peter Reith, Angry Anderson and Michael Smith all have public platforms they could use to undo some of the damage they’ve already done to the public perception of asylum seekers who arrive here by boat. In particular, Reith was John Howard’s architect of the infamous Children Overboard affair. During that time,  asylum seekers were demonized as never before, and the mud the Howard government slung at them has stuck. It seems to me that the least Reith could do to compensate for what he now describes as a “stuff up,” is apologise for his part in that deadly “stuff up” and admit they were terribly, wickedly wrong about the children, women and men they exploited to stay in power.

The intrusion of advertising in Go Back revealed the show for what it really is: entertainment. Just when we got really involved with someone’s suffering and the whole damn disgraceful fucking situation, there’s an ad for a new car, food, furniture, whatever the hell they’re selling now, to remind us that it’s only television! It’s not our real life! Our real life is cars, food, furniture, whatever the hell else and this documentary is merely a distraction from what actually matters. An intense emotional experience brought to you by Toyota, and a bunch of people who’ll never ever own one.

I would love to believe that these series will bring about change. I would love to believe that enough minds will be changed as a consequence of viewing them. But I don’t. Which leads me to wonder what is this series really about? What is its purpose?

And what are its ethics?

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99 Responses to ““Go Back” Series Two: human misery on prime time television with ads”

  1. MichaelaC September 2, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    THANK YOU! I’m pro-asylum seeker rights, and sadly disappointed by my party’s response to the issue of asylum. I chose not to watch this show, as I was conflicted for all the reasons you state here. Thank you for articulating them xxx

    • Marilyn September 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

      Well go and watch it you stupid woman. What sort of moron relies only on the critique of someone who only watched half the series and only looked at the little picture.

      • Jennifer Wilson September 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

        I watched all the series. I watched two episodes today. I think my picture is bigger than yours. Now asylum seekers are all going to Nauru and Manus for an indefinite period of mandatory detention without access to legal aid. Yep. That’s a big step forward.

        • Marilyn September 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm #

          That happened before the fucking program.

          • Jennifer Wilson September 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

            Marilyn I have no idea what you are saying. I nowhere say the program is responsible for any political decisions. It clearly isn’t. I wish it had that much influence.

            • Marilyn September 2, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

              Well why state that since the first program things have got worse when I showed how things in fact got much better until May this year.

              What are the ethics of news services with ads? What are the ethics of not showing human suffering in situ instead of safely ignoring it.

              Should Michael Bachelard not tell us the stories of refugees we are punishing because they refused to drown after we refused to send out a rescue party?

              Is Natalie O’Brien wrong for doing her job and telling us the shocking truths about sunk vessels and that all those people drowned to save AFP spies from exposure?

              Or should Robin DeCrespingy not published her book about Ali al Jenabi, no smuggler but just a refugee?

              By your lights Jennifer people should do nothing to record facts and history.

              We can all shove our heads up our protected arses and not see it.

              How about the lawyers and others who appear in our courts between ads, we don’t see them so it doesn’t matter?

              There is no point blaming a TV program and ads. for the brutality of the bastards in parliament.

              • Jennifer Wilson September 2, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

                At the risk of getting into an I’m better than you pissing contest, I did go into both Baxter and Woomera.

                I disagree with you specifically about the Go Back series. I’m really over you ranting here as if you are the only person with a point of view on these issues, the only one who knows anything about these issues, and the only person who ever stays awake at night thinking about these issues and the only person who ever does anything about these issues.

                I disagree with you about this series. Deal with it because Im not in any frame of mind to put up with anymore of your insults Marilyn.

                And to claim I’m blaming a TV program for government policy is total crap and you know it. That’s the long bow you’ve drawn not me.

                • Marilyn September 3, 2012 at 5:50 am #

                  All you ever had to say was that things are getting worse for refugees.

                  Why even mention the bloody TV program and make the linkage.

                  It is no worse and it was a good deal better than much other media about asylum seekers so I fail to see why you are so fucking enraged.

                  • Jennifer Wilson September 3, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

                    Bloody hell, what are you the feckin thought police? Who do you think that program was really about? Asylum seekers or “celebrities?” Does anybody using social media even remember the names of the asylum seekers who participated in that program? No, they feckin don’t, they remember the “celebrities” and how they reacted. Just like the first series became all about the “ordinary” Westerners and how they reacted,only worse.

                    Catherine Deveney saying “if they take me down, film it.” It’s not about Deveney’s prospects for martyrdom.CAN’T YOU SEE HOW WE MAKE IT ALL ABOUT US??? IT’S DISGUSTING.

                    • ItsBouquet September 3, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

                      Marilyn,

                      “…I fail to see why you are so fucking enraged.”

                      Strange – I was thinking exactly the same thing about you.

                    • Hypocritophobe September 3, 2012 at 10:12 pm #

                      There are simply way too many humans.
                      Refugee conflicts,food and water shortages,murdering exploited workers,famine,pollution war etc.
                      Whilst it is important we deal with issues at hand, only a fucking parasitic alien species would keep avoiding the 9 billion elephants in the room.

                      This is the tip of the iceberg folks.
                      Idealistic enough?

        • hudsongodfrey September 3, 2012 at 10:49 am #

          Can I correct the record or ask that my interpretation of what I’ve seen in the media be corrected here? I heard that some 6,000 were to be taken directly from camps in Indonesia, and presumed that announcement to mean that those selected won’t be sent to either Nauru or Manus Is.

          Too few perhaps, but better then nothing, and nor has it come at no political cost. I agree with any criticism we want to level at the government’s new policy with the exception to pointing to this part of it and saying that hopefully it proves laudable and workable as a test case for something we could expand upon while working assiduously to shrink the aspects of the new policy we deeply revile.

      • Hypocritophobe September 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

        I didn’t/won’t watch it.
        I don’t need to inflict the visual witnessing of misery of suffering or of lying arse-holes to have a position, on this.
        It’s my empathy and I use it how I want.

        This show is another piece of opportunistic ratings driven drivel,feigning cred by using suffering.
        It is another sick Disneyland-like voyeuristic punching bag for ‘would be’ armchair political strategists and Born Again experts on social science and Constitutional law. .

        • Jennifer Wilson September 2, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

          You said it so much better than I did, Hypo…

        • Marilyn September 2, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

          Actually it was not like that at all. If you don’t see or hear how can you know? How can you know that one boy in Afghanistan looked just like Alamdar Bakhtiyari before he was deported?

          Or that we are trying to force Afghans back to the hell they found in Kabul? Should we bury our heads and pretend it is not there?

          I do not get the point of Jennifers rant?

          • hudsongodfrey September 3, 2012 at 10:51 am #

            I tend to agree from the perspective of someone who watched it in part because I admire Catherine Deveney, and partly because saying I don’t need to know and am closed to being persuaded is very much what the anti asylum seeker camp are about.

  2. Elisabeth Hanscombe September 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

    I suspect it’s an effort on the part of the documentary makers to get within the system and at least try to make some sort of difference.

    This last week there has been a more sympathetic portrayal of asylum seekers in the media, as far as I can see. Besides this three part documentary there was a harrowing account of a boatload of asylum seekers left to die in the Mediterranean in a program called ‘the left to die boat’ on Radio National on Friday. There was also the picture on the front of the Age newspaper of a young boy, maybe five years old, an asylum seeker stuck in Indonesia after his father and cousin had drowned on one of those awful boats while his mother stayed back in Afghanistan. The image and story will not leave me.

    The point is there seems to be some slow element of changed perception and less vilification of asylum seekers trickling through some of the media however inadequate, but sadly the people who could make a bigger difference, including the three you mention and governments not only from Australia but elsewhere throughout the so-called democratic world, do not speak out in support and so history keeps repeating itself.

    We can’t just sit here and do nothing, and yet that’s what most of us do. For all my empathy, I feel deeply ashamed and implicated. Empathy here does not translate into action and these people need more than words. So I’m inclined to agree with your concerns, only I wish it were different.

    • Marilyn September 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

      Well get off your arse and do something instead of claiming your own apathy as a friend.

  3. Ray (Novelactivist) September 2, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    I must admit I found this a tad cynical. I would guess that this program has changed some people’s minds. Perhaps you expect too much? I suppose first hand experience might be better, but wouldn’t that be refugee tourism? How else might people then get to see this material?

    But on the issue of refugees – with the world population growing and global warming having an effect, won’t things get worse?

    And how many refugees can Australia take?

    • ItsBouquet September 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

      Ray (Novelactivist),

      Global warming is only one aspect that follows on from the industrialisation of the planet.

      The West has long aimed its tentacles into third world societies. Peasants have had their autonomy stripped in many cases, as globalisation has enabled unfettered access by companies promoting monoculture and peddling fertilisers and pesticides. (see India’s Green Revolution for a lesson in environmental disaster)

      All these “advances” are dependent on oil and globalisation. Many ordinary people in the third world are capable of supporting themselves and their societies through subsistence farming and their own creative endeavours.

      Strange how the West has ingratiated itself left, right and centre in “developing” countries – and now through war and lack of autonomy, the very same hegemony which contributes to the problems is affronted by the stampede.

      (shakes head)

      • Hypocritophobe September 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

        “The West has long aimed its tentacles into third world societies.”
        Substitute the seventh word for testicles and it still makes sense.

    • hudsongodfrey September 3, 2012 at 11:08 am #

      I agree with most of your statements and would even attempt an answer to your question.

      What is known is that Australia did take around 20,000 per year in the Past War era when out population was about 5 million. That’s 0.4% per annum. Somebody on the show suggested 0,1% per annum arriving at only slightly upwards of the 20,000 figure we’ve only lately adopted. I think it is patently clear that we can do more and that we have some catching up to do after the way we’ve behaved this past decade. So I can’t see any reason not to have a combined figure of direct refugee resettlements and reunited families reaching back up towards the 0.4% or 88,000 mark.

      • Ray (novelactivist) September 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

        Hi Hudson,

        If only it were that simple. The issue is the capacity of the country. I don’t know what that is, but we ‘now’ have a population of 20+ million, with environmentalists talking about significant environmental degradation. Overpopulation is overpopulation. And given we can’t seem to lift our own indigenous population out the 3rd world conditions…

        Do we have a population limit or not?

        • hudsongodfrey September 4, 2012 at 3:27 pm #

          Yes I agree that there has to be a population limit, and I guess it is a problem that we don’t really know what it is. But I think we also have a fair idea that we haven’t nearly reached it yet. To argue that we had would be to set limits for ourselves that are too different from countries elsewhere maintaining their population on less resources per capita than we are.

          In fact I think we do that a lot as can clearly be seen by the differences between first and third world countries. We end up arguing more in terms of what are acceptable population based on standards of living etc. And some of that is pure selfishness. Though I’d argue that because higher standards of living are associated with falling populations we have reason to argue that they are in fact worth maintaining, at least at levels short of wasteful excess.

          And when it comes to what to do with 80+ thousand refugees I’m not above the idea of saying we’d better use what skills they have to build industries that employ those skills, because we know that employment is generally the glue that binds socially cohesive societies. Perish the thought that we’d raise the prospect of building any manufacturing industries in this country!

          • Hypocritophobe September 4, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

            Well HG it won’t surprise you to hear that, I disagree and say we are passed the limit,so it’s (our truly sustainable population level) less than where we are.
            I say that because we already have conflict and confrontation over the basics.
            Food production,water depletion,biodiversity loss etc.
            Look at law and disorder issues.Look at the have / have not ratio.
            We can (just) squeeze in (some) refugees,but we ALSO must be more responsible custodians,or we will all lose.That means NOT having a baby bonus,which is nothing short of a customer replacement scheme,anyway.
            And yes I have heard the baseless we need carers for baby boomers etc., as though some entrepeneur were not capable of harnessing that market,anyway.
            And come to think of it when DIOD this societys kids waith on their oldies hand and foot until death?
            What crap that argument is.
            They throw the oldies in a home and profit from the will and any real estate etc.
            Some aspects of resource and mining acquisition are simply not sustainable.
            As a fair measure, if we place a true value on potable water (consider its age etc) mining is more a crime than an industry.Fracking is just plain vandalism and science knows it.
            But the hands of independent science are tied behind their backs, via funding pursuits.
            It’s hard to put your hand on your heart and swear fracking is sustainable, giving that basic impediment.

            All this talk is pointless.Read the annual reports,mission statements,Strategic plans etc, of all layers of govt and all corporations,all small and large business.
            Growth,growth,growth.You cannot have enough growth.
            It (the blue planet,earth,home,us) is not coping now.We grow suburbs and cities now BEFORE have safe (sustainable) water,power,transport,food,communities.

            Show me the money Gerry,show me the money.

            • Hypocritophobe September 4, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

              EDIT
              when DIOD this = when DID this

            • doug quixote September 4, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

              You do like to raise the big questions; and so do I. Earth’s long term carrying capacity is probably about two billion people, living in a standard reasonably acceptable to a westerner. Just how the population reduces to that level over the next 100 years or so will be the stuff of nightmares.

              The biblical four horsemen of the apocalypse may well run free. I see the current generation’s responsibility as being not to make it any worse than it has to be.

              A few refugees here or there pales into insignificance.

              • Jennifer Wilson September 4, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

                Everybody, this is a thought-provoking piece by a brave woman about the “sexualisation” of children. In the comments she is attacked by Julie Gale, and a couple of commenters who sound like MTR. glad to see you in there Ray.

                http://www.mamamia.com.au/health-wellbeing/what-happened-in-that-shed-had-nothing-to-do-with-my-shorts/

                • Hypocritophobe September 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

                  If she is being attacked by Gale she must be a winner.
                  More power,her.
                  Gale et al,profit on the continuation of the BACWA mythologies.
                  If the problems went away,the BACWAs would be penniless,powerless and irrelevant and we cannot possibly have that.God said so.

                  I mean surely all children molested by the church employees were dressed in short shorts????You know the kids which the BACWAs have raised a petition to support (NOT!)

                • doug quixote September 4, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

                  Are you trying to distract us and bring us back into safer waters, Jennifer? Dangle MTR before the donkeys?

                  • Hypocritophobe September 4, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

                    Hee haw,hee haw pass me a carrot…DQ….

                  • Jennifer Wilson September 5, 2012 at 7:23 am #

                    No, I just can’t resist the opportunity to out sloppy “feminist” academics plus that level of stupid demands maximum exposure. Dress it in short shorts!!

                • hudsongodfrey September 4, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

                  Well for what it is worth I thought it was a very good article and quite uplifting to see how she came to terms with the fact that it wasn’t the shorts or her demeanour that were in any way to blame but something in her abuser’s mind that was very wrong.

                  I can see Ray’s onto them already :)

                  • Jennifer Wilson September 5, 2012 at 7:20 am #

                    Yes, I thought Catherine’s piece was excellent. I really like her thoughtfulness and willingness to re think things.

                    • hudsongodfrey September 5, 2012 at 10:55 am #

                      I liked her clarity most of all.

                      I came away from reading it realising that she’d made so much better sense to locate the blame where it really lies, and how much more helpful that must be to her and anyone in similar situations.

            • hudsongodfrey September 4, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

              Well Hypo,

              We shouldn’t confuse a discussion about what we ought to do on the basis of what seems to be a fair thing with the kind of analysis we’d make on grounds of sustainability. The two would lead to very different conclusions.

              So I’m neither agreeing nor disagreeing about sustainable limits. They can’t be discussed in real terms without saying what it is that we want to sustain. Here in Australia we can talk about striking a balance between human population needs against conservation and other environmental concerns. Clearly in the world’s most populous nations many of those concerns are secondary to pressure to simply cope short of actually resorting to the unthinkable.

              All of which is well and good in raising questions about whether we have responsibilities or interests in terms of how we who are somewhat fortunate may respond to the situations of others. But these are not ultimately the kinds of questions that we ought to be asking with respect to refugees. Sustainability questions may be in the background to why refugee crises occur, but by the time they have happened we find ourselves responding to the needs of people with a well-founded fear of persecution. So offering the kind of protection that upholds their human rights then becomes the paramount concern and responsibility.

              What I don’t say is that working out how and where to resettle them in the relatively small number we’re talking about for Australia is a challenge that ultimately speaks to sustainability concerns for the overall resources of Australia as a country. To take that view would strike me as just a little too selfish of us.

              And to your question about growth, I think we may need to come to terms with questions about quality rather than quantity before they’re properly addressed. Thinking for example that we’re better off with renewable energy sources may be one such consideration. It trades off polluting technology by replacing it with more expensive but clearer alternatives on the basis that we value a minimum quality standard for the climate over cheap energy.

              And it very much does seem to me that the magnitude of those questions are in the order of asking whether we should prefer to do some of these things in the interests of common sense in the longer term or whether we need a new iPhone this year?

              • Hypocritophobe September 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

                I think I need to shorten my meaning above.
                We can welcome as many refugees as we want.Because if we continue down the same consumptive path we are, they will be wallowing in the same poisonous shit as us, in no time at all.
                There all sorts of places this comment can lead,but not many will lead to a solution,because that’s not what the share-market wants.And we (humanity) are share market driven.
                Indigenous cultures and refugees are just hurdles we jump,or knock down along the way to dividend day.
                Ker fucking ching.
                $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

                • hudsongodfrey September 4, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

                  I’m not one of these people who thinks there’s all that much dignity without meaningful work, so I tried to explain something of the difference between what I thought of as critically unbalanced and what I think sustainability really challenges to do. I hope at least some of it came across.

                  • Hypocritophobe September 4, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

                    I totally agree with the dignity of work thing,HG.
                    And I respect a lot(most) of your temperate views.
                    I do however disagree with the dig it up (use it up, or lose it) now mentality, jobs for jobs sake,slavery etc.(Which is not to say that is your central view,at all)
                    That side {“any job/any conditions is better than no job” -which is the foundation of Howard/Abbott/WorkChoices1/2)} of the equation is the perverse myth of the right.
                    At some point the real meaning of (big picture) sustainability must be accepted.
                    By all.
                    It seems,however, that is never likely to be the case.(Within a time-frame suitable for selecting reverse gear)
                    I don’t lose any more sleep over the inevitability of human extinction,than I do over the extinction of other species which have no participation in steering this ship of fools(destiny).
                    In fact I would say the opposite is true (in my case).
                    There are times when I ‘think’ I could contemplate throwing ‘some’ human stereotypes on the flames, (to extinguish them), to effect the rescue of a burning dog.I cannot however see the reverse situation,blowing my hair back.
                    None of the ‘some’ human stereotypes would be refugees.
                    Obviously I accept what that says about me.

                    • hudsongodfrey September 5, 2012 at 10:34 am #

                      Thanks for that reply I think it is mostly accurate.

                      On the left and right thing I think a lot of conservatism is based upon the maintenance of a certain status by people who’ve already attained it, whereas a certain amount of socialist ideas appeal to sharing wealth from a position lower down on the economic scale by those who’d see the benefits as mainly accruing to them. Not that this really defines the theoretical ideology of either end of the political spectrum, but rather it defines the tendencies of some people to argue in apologetic fashion from a rhetoric that really only represents thinly veiled self-interest.

                      So when I see politicians apologising for miners who dig things up and ship the goods and most of the profits overseas then of course I don’t buy it. I question the economic rationale of saying quarrying is more profitable than using the metals they extract in value added secondary industries. And so I question governments, who as elected representatives share and interest with their electors in wanting greater employment, for simply taking a short term cut of the pie in tax dollars rather than doing the job we’d have hoped we put them there to do.

                      But you know I’m also critical of anyone whose analysis is 100% accurate but totally freaking useless because they’re always capable of saying what everyone else should do for them but never what they’ve done for anyone else. That also leads nowhere good and I should have thought that the reasons would be obvious though what to do about it is frequently somewhat less so.

                      Maybe what really worries me is that cause and effect especially in economic terms, either as a result of prosperity or as a cause of economic strife, is so highly counter intuitive. So a lot like the way we intuitively choose the political rhetoric that suits our circumstances there’s quite likely a need to push back against the unintended consequences of what some would call good or bad fortune by arguing instead for greater accountability of both government and industry to deliver on expected outcomes. Every time I see one of those mining industry ads I really do wonder what it would be like to measure their standard of success against social outcomes rather than the amoral standard of profits.

                      Now if we’re similarly to take that short term thinking versus long term thinking attitude into other areas then I think I should finish simply by saying again, what you can argue for overall population concerns you simnply can’t rationalise in the same way for refugee crises. Sure there’s some long term thinking to be done about ongoing refugee situations, but for the majority who are genuinely claiming asylum these are more or less life and death decisions about protecting people in the immediate future. If we confuse the two I think we’re in danger of doing as you hint, and as I mentioned earlier, by thinking the unthinkable in terms of how far we’d be prepared to go when questions of sustaining or reducing populations are weighed against standards of living etc.

      • zerograv1 September 5, 2012 at 8:27 am #

        Just as a side note : My housemate has been actively recruiting to increase workplace staffing to 39 from 20. He has found a lot of the new arrived very keen, ethusiastic, diligent and has nothing but praise from them despite initially believing that it might be a little bit risky to take applicants from refugee centres and the like at face value. He now is a glowing advocate for the cause and tells his peer group (also middle and senior managers) that they should definitely consider this sector based on his very positive experience with those he has employed to date. They are keen to get on their own feet in this county, buy a house, and don’t mind working hard to do it

        • hudsongodfrey September 5, 2012 at 11:04 am #

          Thanks for that comment it is good to hear.

          Not that I’d begrudge state assistance to people who really do struggle to get onto their feet in a new country, but just that I’d say there are obvious benefits both immediate and even across generations for resettled immigrants to have employment as means to establish and dignify their second chance at life here.

        • helvityni September 5, 2012 at 11:59 am #

          zero, why would the recent arrivals be any different from say, the boatpeople from Vietnam, keen to learn English (most are fluent already on arrival), hard working, often able to buy their houses before Aussies in similar jobs, they save and scrape and send their kids to uni…that’s the pattern of most immgrants to this country…

          • Hypocritophobe September 5, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

            And if Gina gets her way,they and us will be working for $2 a day,just like in Africa.

            I wonder what happens if we went on strike,to object? Similar actions as in Africa?

            There are way too many adjectives which describe this Rhinehart ‘thing’.
            A lot are likely scrawled across toilet walls,world wide.

            • helvityni September 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

              Hypo, only earning $2 a day you blokes can’t afford to buy textures to waste on toilet door scribblings (Ladies toilets are clean), as for Gina, on another blog someone is telling us with whom Gina is sleeping, spare me the horrors, I’m tuned into beauty.. .:)

              • Hypocritophobe September 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

                Killjoy was here?

                • helvityni September 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

                  Yes, you are pretty astute.

                  • Hypocritophobe September 5, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

                    Imagine being so arrogant so as to be a billionaire(worlds richest woman) and still want more by way of profit,by way of less return for the actual workers.
                    Imagine being the arrogance and all, that you consider $2/day a fair days wage for African workers.I wonder did she say once, in her ‘rally to the cause’ video, that she passes her sympathy to the families of the workers killed by the trigger happy police,doing the ‘miners bidding’?
                    The woman reviles many Australians,and it is not the green eyed monster.
                    It is the traits she has shown recently,in seeking more for herself and less for others,and a total disconnect with reality, to that of the land where she was born, and which made her father a rich and generous benefactor,without whom she would be one of the ‘lazy unproductives’ she likes sinking the boot into.
                    The small amount I saw of her on the news made my skin crawl.

                    I wonder if there is any asbestos on any of her sites?

                    • hudsongodfrey September 5, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

                      She’s go asbestos in her heart Hypo. That’s the problem.

                    • helvityni September 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

                      Hypo, I threw my boot at her, luckily the TV did not break, you can’t buy another one with $2…
                      Hudson, thanks for that, I’m laughing now….

                    • zerograv1 September 6, 2012 at 7:45 am #

                      Sadly some liberals and well to do people I know of admre her, and take all criticism of her as being just sour grapes from the jealous. Lots of money certainly blinds you to a lot of things it seems. Odious she is, just odious.

          • zerograv1 September 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

            Actually you were unerringly accurate with your comment, except I might have failed to make it clear in my original post that we are basically talking aboot the same group of people, and yep some of them are Vietnamese too. I just found it kind of inspiring to hear him talk with some excitement about their potential and although he is an intelligent and caring man, had an (only) small measure of xenophobia to get over first. In this case its proved to be a win win for all concerned,

  4. paul walter September 2, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    Am glad Jennifer Wilson mentioned the advertising during current affairs shows on SBS, it is a running sore with me as well.
    I agree with most of Elisabeth Hanscombe’s points and share with her, Michaela and Jennifer Wilson the grubby sense of complicity that goes with this festering wound of an issue. A slight quibble would relate to Elisabeth’s identifying of the power structure in the terms she uses.
    Democracy is largely an illusion, based on manufactured consent orchestrated by the real Lords (and Ladies) of the Universe, not through shop-front politicians and uncomprehending hundreds of thousands of bean counters, lawyers, social scientists, journalists, managers and the like.
    I’m not saying there is a conspiracy in the sense that some Tparty dolt would claim, but the stew of modern zeitgeist and what passes for civilisation certainly seems symmetrical to the interests of the real movers and shakers and wonder if this can only be coincidental.
    Ok, that’s “convenient” for someone like me, but does this necessarily refute the point that in all probability, individuals can do very little.
    How many of us live in the camps and slums and die with the victims of global pol-economics, any way?
    Actually, being “realist” is part of the punishment, but within my personal moral and cognitive framework that’s also “realist”, if largely unwelcome…so be it.

  5. Marilyn September 2, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    Well now for some actual facts Jennifer.

    After the first series the government started community detention and bridging visas, homestay and much shorter term prison for most.

    They passed laws to examine new laws under a human rights framework, children were not in enclosed prisons, in the March 2011 quarter before the program only 20% of Afghans were being accepted on primary claims, by the next quarter it was 76% and then up to 88% so for once the department were working efficiently.

    In the same quarter only 4% of Iranians were being accepted, after the program that rose to 66% because the department had to be efficient.

    things changed before the program aired, they changed in May this year when Pakistan decided to boot out 3 million Afghans and our moron polllies panicked. Bowen was prepared for the influx of Afghans because he was at the meetings and said we would accept more Afghans, but again we didn’t. Only 495 this year.

    This round of programs showing the hell in Afghanistan and Indonesia for Afghans had someone like Angry pointing out that there is no mechanism for Afghans to apply for protection unless they get here. He stuck to that position in the Insight program on Friday night.

    Reith recognised that he was meeting people for the first time. He noticed they are real human beings he was playing around with and recognises for the first time that Hazara are just not safe.

    Michael Smith on ABC the other day showed that he is a racist who hates all migrants, he thinks the Kiwis should all fuck off to.

    Abdi the Somali young man told him out loud that he does not listen at all, he is correct.

    The UNHCR has had a massive increase in donations to help people.

    But we now have this deranged situation where the Indonesians will not be charged but sent home with apologies from our courts while the refugees will be sent into orbit.

    The claim that Go Back has made things worse for so-called boat people does not stand on any scrutiny Jennifer because you look at the same little picture as our moron media do.

    • Jennifer Wilson September 2, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

      I didn’t say Go Back had made things worse Marilyn. I said that things have become worse for boat arrivals since the last series which they have, and would have with or without the series.

      Yes, there are always immediate reactions to these things but I question the long term effects once the emotion has worn off and people forget about it.

      I don’t believe for one moment that changes in govt policy are influenced by “Go Back.” Not for a friggin moment.

      Plus I’m really feckin glad for Peter Reith that he had an epiphany and realised asylum seekers are human, now let’s see him put his money where his mouth is and show a little on going leadership on that.

      Likewise Angry.

    • paul walter September 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

      Marilyn, I think you are missing the point Jennifer is making.

  6. Marilyn September 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    I am not missing the point at all, her rant has no point.

    • ItsBouquet September 2, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

      What point does your rant have, Marilyn?

      You and Jennifer are on the same side, it seems to me.

      She’s merely pointing out that programs such as this dovetail cosily into prime time shock-doctrine television, and under the present political umbrella “nothing” is likely to change. It won’t change because, as Jennifer points out, the reality of the suffering of the refugees is just too far removed from a comfy couch and a milo. Just the same as the Syrian atrocities – or 9/11 seem more like a movie experience than one that is actually being endured by real live non-fictional people.

      Take your anger out on the system, not on people who care but feel impotent to change the status quo.

    • paul walter September 2, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

      Neither does yours.

  7. Hypocritophobe September 2, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    Outside the Wall (Waters)

    All alone, or in two’s,
    The ones who really love you
    Walk up and down outside the wall.
    Some hand in hand
    And some gathered together in bands.
    The bleeding hearts and artists
    Make their stand.

    And when they’ve given you their all
    Some stagger and fall, after all it’s not easy
    Banging your heart against some mad bugger’s wall.

  8. Marilyn September 2, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    My point is if we turn away we are complicit in the fucking crimes.

  9. Hypocritophobe September 2, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    See what what being a token woman and delibeartely barren does to a gal?

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-02/coalition-wants-sri-lankan-asylum-seekers-deported/4238758

    • Marilyn September 2, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

      Right on. These fucking women make me sick to my stomach.

      Now Jennifer. When I agreed to do The Man who Jumped my goal was to show what really happened to the Bakhtiyari family, it succeeded and moves are under foot to bring them back to Australia.

      I did not get any more death threats about that family after the film was made.

      I did not agree to make people comfortable and I did not care that there were ads. shown among the brutal abuses inflicted on them.

      When I gave the Woomera files to Linda Briskman and gave evidence for her book, it was not about my comfort but about the truth.

      When David Corlett interviewed me extensively for Following them Home he came to my house thinking I had slandered Russell Skelton over articles he had written about the family. That book had Paul McGeough work extensively with me to find and show documents proving the family had told the truth all along.

      When Akram Al Masri was gunned down information from me and his uncle allowed Paul McGeough to find the facts.

      The fact is I am full of admiration for all the team for going into those hell holes no matter what their attitudes because our media here are mostly too useless to bother.

      Because for all the things I have exposed I have rarely had to leave my personal comfort zone to do it.

      So they are better than me, even the awful Michael Smith is braver than me, I could not even visit Woomera.

      Instead of cynical whining at least recognise some truths.

      • Jennifer Wilson September 2, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

        Now Marilyn. I DO NOT LIKE THE SERIES FORMAT AND I FIND IT OFFENSIVE. I don’t know what that has to do with the other productions you refer to, or the good work you’ve done. Absolutely nothing IMO. I don’t know if Michael Smith is braver than you and I don’t care.

        I am not complaining that the show made me “uncomfortable” I have no problem with tolerating discomfort as you should bloody well know from reading my blog. I feel the series is exploitative. That is why I do not like it.

        • Marilyn September 3, 2012 at 5:53 am #

          Who was exploited. Name one person who did not willingly participate.

          • hudsongodfrey September 3, 2012 at 11:12 pm #

            Come on Marilyn, it isn’t fair to conflate exploitation with unwillingness as opposed to a sense that things were openly manipulated to made a biassed point. A point that, no matter how much we tend to agree with it, is nonetheless tainted by the way the obviousness of that bias undermines the whole effort.

            There’s some value to these documentaries which I don’t personally dispute, but I also take Jennifer’s point that some people might say that taking Reith and Smith into these situations is like shooting fish in a barrel. They were so directly confronted in their belief systems as to leave them no dignified way out but to fall silent, at which point neither the audience nor anyone else is offered much by way of resolution to any of the serious problems that were raised.

            And the part of it that left me wearied and perplexed by the whole experience was the handling of this kind of voyeuristic fascination we have with celebrities being taken out of their comfort zones. For me it frequently drew focus away from attention being put on the refugees themselves, their stories and their circumstances.

            So in the end I’m not entirely sure I wouldn’t have gotten as much real information out of skipping the shows and watching Insight on the Friday evening afterwards.

          • paul walter September 3, 2012 at 11:57 pm #

            Marilyn, I know you too well to think that you know anything but exactly the point Jennifer was making there.
            You have made a real arsehole of yourself at this thread, given you know of Jennifer’s other problems at this very moment. Your coldblooded lack of empathy shows something of you disturbing that I had not thought previously existed.

            • Marilyn September 8, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

              What utter shit Paul.

              • zerograv1 September 9, 2012 at 9:49 am #

                Marilyn, despite your ascerbic debate style I am finding your contributions of value in that you stimulate a lot of reply – the essence of debate. This last post is disappointing though as it offers nothing but a rebuttal unsupported by any argument, fact or reasoning. I tend to be of a different point of view regarding this issue than most people here because it focuses on a relatively small sector of those coming into our country, ignores the big picture and falls for the tug of war over this issue that the media loves to rile up.

  10. zerograv1 September 3, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    If nothing else the strongly held views expressed by Jennifer and Marilyn (and more moderately by others) at least have the benefit of clarifying exactly where each person in this discussion stands. Personally abuse, anger and insults don’t count as any kind of argument to me and I usually ignore reading a post like this since to me they start off from the position of I’m right and your not, and I’m right because your a jerk (insert suitable name calling here – racist, misogynist, greenie etc) (Kids stuff – not even worth listening to the following squabble). I didn’t see the program and find the issue of the asylum seekers has been distilled and simplified in mainstream debate to a simple pro (bring them here and treat them decently) and anti (Go home, we are full) polarity. It suprises my their hasnt been more thought put into the whole issue. Questions that need to be ask havent been – by anyone. 1. What amount of intake do we accept (Scale 0 (None) to 100 (open the doors and welcome them all) 2. Are there more types of categories than we have identified? Personally I see 5 or 6 types but the MSM seems to think there are only 2. Like it or not, there has been some chat around the blogs and on facebook discussions that boat arrivals that protest, attempt blackmail or insist that Australia is the only place they want to go don’t fall into the category of genuine asylum seeker because someone genuinely seeking asylum from a war zone, political oppression or persecution or some other untenable living situation would gratefully accept the offer of asylum anywhere as long as they can get the hell out of wherever it was they were fleeing from. Those seekers on the other hand that insist on a choice of landfall, become argumentative when they don’t get what they want instead should be accommodated at Christmas Island at full tourist hotel rates since they seem to think that somehow this is a hosted hand and knee service or at the very least a well stocked menu of self serve options. Like this argument or not, it seems to me the Aussie population (who ultimately pay the bill until accepted applicants can get on their feet and become self supporting contributors to the economy) are very aware that not all that claim asylum are genuine and have a resistance and resentment to badly behaved supposedly impoverished asylum seekers that instead seem to act like spolit children – the NIMBY effect (NOTE: Before anyone gets into an ad hominem attack of this post, I would like to add that I have not disclosed my own position on this argument anywhere in this post – this is my own attempt to perhaps poorly paraphrase the discussions held elsewhere). There are 3 other policy points I havent room to add to this post but am happy to add to the debate agenda if anyone wants to discuss my sidetrack. PLEASE DISCUSS

    • Forrest Gumpp (@ForrestGumpp) September 3, 2012 at 7:17 am #

      I couldn’t agree more with you, zerograv1.

      I’m waiting for just such an engagement from you to an unanswered question in this post on the ‘Leadership chatter. Assange’s passport. Blonde girls in short shorts.’ thread: http://noplaceforsheep.com/2012/07/24/leadership-chatter-assanges-passport-blonde-girls-in-short-shorts/#comment-44948

      The question is posed in the seventh paragraph.

      • zerograv1 September 5, 2012 at 8:19 am #

        I have now answered at that link. Sorry for the slow responses, I have commenced a new job with rather onerous training requirements that is taking the time I normally use for internet monitoring,

    • helvityni September 3, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      Reading hate-filled posts by The Drum bloggers, Sea Mendez, Michael too, Curious party etcetera, etcetera, I have come think that it’s better to a have zero intake of asylum seekers….. they are better off somewhere else…

      • Hypocritophobe September 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

        They ( Semen dead etc) would not have the spinal fortitude to announce their bigotry anywhere but anonymously and or among their racist scum peers.
        I cannot believe after the Indian govt, declared many blogs(including some ABC) content as fuelling race hate/panic etc, that the pusillanimous pilchards managing (ROFL) the ABC, have not begun to cleanse the filth and change the rules to ensure sanity prevailed.
        So I therefore can only assume that they(ABC) like the tabloids/shock jocks etc, celebrate (profligate and profit by) controversy,by any means possible.
        There is nothing wrong with(nothing stopping the ABC et al) not publishing hate speak.Given the growing multicultural make up of most admin areas of corporate and government in Oz,there must be some bewildered and disgusted non WASP employees experiencing some very ordinary behaviour and speech.
        I hope any amongst the Moderation crew are keeping a few samples back for a book or two.This country hates one thing much more than aborigines and foreigners.(That is saying a lot!)

        Mirrors.

        • ItsBouquet September 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

          “Mirrors”…ain’t that the truth.

          Australians are great whingers. They don’t seem to realise that they are the “royalty” of the world – and like the fortunate souls they are, they have a responsibility to not plunder less fortunate societies or ignore their plight of poverty and disenfranchisement when it lands on their doorstep.

          The problems that lead to exodus aren’t isolated from the West’s involvement. However, most Westerners choose not to connect the dots – helped along by furious dog-whistling of the likes of Julie Bishop’s latest example on the subject of Sri Lankans.

        • hudsongodfrey September 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

          Mirrors indeed and ones that we occasionally need to hold up to the racists in our midst to remind them of what it is we see in them that is least attractive.

      • paul walter September 3, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

        Well there’s the point, Helvi, while sh-t stirrers like Jones and Abbott continue to inflame public opinion.
        The Cronulla riots, here and worse events in other countries also, indicate the dangers of “forcing” population issues without gaining public acceptance first.
        The ultimate example could be Sri Lanka, where large numbers of Tamil labour was imported from India over the heads of locals, during the British Raj era, for the benefit of British plantation owners at the expense of Sinhalese and Tamils alike since indigenous SriLankan Tamils were in long-term conflict with the Sinhalese, any way.
        The subject of the thread was, I feel, Jennifer Wilson’s alarm at the perverse stalling of cultural change.
        Marilyn’s error was to confuse this issue with identification of administrative issues within the current asylum seeker processing totally unrelated to the point Jennifer was raising concerning the cultural issues that background and complicate asylum seeker attempts to approach Australia.
        That is, given the aggravation of deep seated racist sentiment inflamed for political reasons by Abbott and tabloid media that could threaten the well being of future and current inflows of people from offshore, regardless of the justice of their claims for asylum.

        • Hypocritophobe September 3, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

          If we (as a nation) keep mining minerals and water as priorities for wealth we will end up one big pseudo-refugee camp anyway.
          Unless and until we address the ‘past its limits’,world population,there is no denying the end result.
          However it goes,it won’t be pretty, and nothing that this generation should (can) be proud of.Why would we care,the worst shit hitting the fan won’t affect us as much ,from the grave?

          • ItsBouquet September 3, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

            You’re right, of course, that human over-population poses the greatest challenge.

            But traditional or indigenous societies are also threatened by government/ IMF/ World Bank scenarios. As an example, 3,300 big dams have been built in India since independence. In many instances, water has been diverted from the communities it sustained to water thirsty monoculture crops like cotton and sugar – even for golf courses. These crops are owned by major corporations and peasant farmers who have been driven off the land end up as impoverished and itinerant with their families in shanty towns on the outskirts of large cities.

            It’s notable that the same process is now taking hold in Africa, which presumably can look forward to Western corporations moving in to sell fertilizers, seed and pesticides. Land degradation, water depletion and loss of ancient knowledge soon follows.

            The only way forward is for indigenous and traditional societies to be allowed to farm as they have done for eons – sustainably and organically. Believe it or not, many of those impoverished Indians could have quite easily sustained themselves if they had been left their land and their autonomy.

            • paul walter September 3, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

              Its Bouquet, I wonder what you’d make of the Qld/Fed government idiocy re the environmentally disastrous Cubby Creek then?
              By the sound of it, you are politically sophisticated enough to understand who actually controls the World
              Bank, IMF and other supposedly neutral bodies, there fore the mechanism of neoliberal Globalisation.

              • ItsBouquet September 4, 2012 at 12:21 am #

                The IMF, World Bank an WTO are merely the doormen for Western corporations – and therefore, neoliberal globaisation…yup!

                Guess who was one of the World Bank’s leading reformers during the last decade?…Egypt.

                ….(did a lot of good for the general population – not)

            • Hypocritophobe September 3, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

              Or an appropriately time/positioned asteroid?

              Golf courses,don’t get me started…

  11. gerard oosterman September 3, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    The attention to the plight of refugees by the media is of course very focused on keeping the audience engaged. The adverts on the Renault car was awful and in such contrast of the subject. Still, this is better than nothing. When I go back to the stats on my blog. The ‘go back and daffodils piece wins out above all other pieces in sheer number of hits.

    http://oosterman.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/daffodils-and-go-back-where-you-come-from/

    When it comes to treatment of refugees and especially boat people, Australia is seen as a harsh and cruel country by most of the rest of the world. It might not be true, but there you are. Perhaps our original entry to Australia as ‘boat-people’ might have something to do with it.

    • hudsongodfrey September 3, 2012 at 10:40 am #

      Should we read anything into the fact that a French car maker sees no difficulty in advertising during this program but where were the “Australian” brands?

  12. hudsongodfrey September 3, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    There was an uncomfortable sense of the human drama of the situation being squeezed into some kind of package for “acceptable” consumption here, so that even to say that this was political correctness gone mad would seem unconscionable. Like Jennifer I think, I felt entirely aligned with the Asher, Bailey, Deveney (pro) camp both going into watching this series and coming out the other side. So perhaps the more interesting subtext to the whole concept was that the other three Anderson, Reith and Smith (the anti group) seemed almost cornered by their own rhetoric and manipulated into such a position so as not to be able to make any relevant moral, or even face saving, statement apart from retraction of their previously stated views.

    So much as I have no problem watching people whose views I revile squirm a little I found myself coming away from it pondering what I suspect were things the makers’ didn’t intend. Things to do with whether this was really a balanced approach. The pro camp seemed to have their views confirmed rather than challenged by their experiences, whereas the anti group were so heavily put upon that it seemed in the end that there must be more to what they thought and why they clung to it given the fact that Smith and Reith in particular appeared to be swayed very little even in the face of overwhelmingly contradictory evidence. My sentiments meshed with Catherine when she said she was ashamed to be Australian sometimes, but I really wanted to know what her ideological opponents believed in that could be so attractive and important as an alternative as to dissuade them from changing their views.

    So it isn’t so much that I want to trot out the usual “false dichotomy” line about the pro and anti asylum seeker sides of the debate as it is to say that it is either an unhelpful way to synthesise people’s views, or that there was a failure to explore what motivates those differences of opinion. And frankly the fact that I’m not sure which of the two above statements is truly more accurate defines for me what was the main failure of the series in attempting to preach as it were from a biased perspective. So, despite the fact that I tend to support their bias, the fact remains that as with all biases this one is ultimately doomed to be mostly unpersuasive.

    As for the advertising well I think we need to reserve our criticism for advertisers who would withdraw their support from programs that have merit rather than being slow to celebrate the fact that a certain car maker might want to put a few bucks towards ensuring what was a basically well intended piece of television made it to air. But wait there’s more…

    I found three consecutive nights in a row of this a bit much of a commitment and thus watched it mostly through the internet using the SBS website. The advertising there was entirely comprised of around 20 second adverts for the Red Cross interspersed several times throughout the videos, rather than just at the start and finish. Laudable as a cause perhaps, but given the nature of the documentary and their frequency I felt it was too much like laying a guilt trip upon an audience likely to be composed mainly of people who were watching from a sympathetic perspective, but who might come away feeling somewhat browbeaten.

    And that observation of the advertising probably encapsulates one of the major problems any such series has in getting its message across in that because it is known to come from a particular perspective it will most likely find itself preaching to the converted. So that as members of that loosely aligned congregation as it were, any quibble we have should perhaps be allowed to pale into insignificance beside the fact that if there’s nobody watching who cares to be persuaded from anti asylum seeker views then the message seems for mine to miss its mark..

    • Jennifer Wilson September 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm #

      I also watched two episodes on the internet and noted the Red Cross ads. I don’t actually mind them – there was something so jarring about the intrusion of crude Western capitalism into the programs, as if the market was saying, yes, this is all very sad but look, this is what life is really about.

      I’m a little inarticulate, have been travelling today and settling into the Bondi Beach apartment I shared with my husband, which is full of ghosts and memories.

      • hudsongodfrey September 3, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

        Yes I think I know what you mean from my own experiences with grief. Often one’s instincts about the tiniest of things being out of place or somehow off are heightened when we’re in a raw emotional state. So another way of putting the way I approached this would be to say that it wasn’t so much that I meant to dismiss what you picked up on as to say I can rationalise it and make certain comparisons between selling cars or advertising for the Red Cross. When I think about it that way then I’m not sure which is the more manipulative, whereas I do have to agree that on face value there’s a certain crassness to being jolted out of the reality of a camp in Somalia where water is at a premium back to our own reality where we’re being asked to care less whether we’ve the latest and greatest materialistic trappings.

  13. doug quixote September 3, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    It seems to me that these sort of programs end up preaching to the converted, with a resulting argument over who is doing more than the other and that they should then try even harder.

    The subsequent Insight program was interesting as the former refugees quizzed some of the panel.

    I wonder if anyone actually changed their minds over these four nights of television?

  14. Anonymous September 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    I guess in making an analysis of this program I’d contrast the format with its alternatives: Given that it’s SBS you would imagine that this could have been a thoroughly-researched piece of investigative journalism which didn’t shy away from pointing out the injustices and deprivations, but stopped short of condemning any particular elements as being responsible for the situation. Would this be quite as influential as watching someone like Peter Reith put himself into a situation where he is unable to maintain the measured control of his reactions that we are used to seeing?

    In my experience the kind of xenophobia we see directed towards people escaping from untenable situations is very shallow and unthinking. People who hold these views often readily concede that “i probably don’t know much about it” or ” I don’t know what I’d do if I were in that situation”, and when confronted with the consequences of their positions then if they have any humanity left in them then it can provoke a re-think in a lot of people.

    Yes i think there are ethical concerns about putting on a program like this because it can easily turn into a kind of “disaster tourism” where you go and stickybeak at the misfortune of others and then leave without doing anything to help.

    Ultimately though the position that Australia takes on this is a consequence of the way our democracy functions, and the fact that social researchers have found that no party can win an election in this country unless they do whatever is necessary to “stop the boats”, and ethics/morality/human decency be damned. And so in this sense I think that any portrayal of the issue which serves as a foil to the simplistic mantras trotted out by the shock-jocks and their lackeys in government has got to be a good thing.

    Rational arguments will only convince people if they sit well with their feelings on the subject, it seems to me. It’s about “hearts and minds” you know…

    • samjandwich September 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

      Oh no, looks like Sam Jandwich’s computer no longer recognises him!-/

      • Hypocritophobe September 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

        C’mon,
        You look good in green.

        • samjandwich September 4, 2012 at 11:33 am #

          Thanks – but you know, that probably applies to all of us :-)

  15. Hypocritophobe September 5, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    Stop these ‘boats’ Abbott
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-05/quarter-million-syrian-refugees-register-with-un/4243818

  16. Marilyn September 8, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    Well today we have the lovely vision of the fuckwit Gillard beaming like a clown as she signs a human trading deal.

    I would rather her go back to where she came from.

  17. Mannie De Saxe September 10, 2012 at 1:20 am #

    A slight diversion in all the heated arguments so far, but not totally irrelevant
    :
    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/902/258/197/sbs-television-and-advertisements/

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