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Blog post on PM Rudd

October 17, 2009

Sri Lanka Campaign Website

Taken from the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice blog :

The Australian Government says it enjoys ‘warm’ bilateral relations with Sri Lanka.

Does this mean that Mr Rudd’s Government has used the good relationship between the two countries to make sure Colombo hears a clear “let the near quarter of a million people in the camps go”? After all, even the mild mannered UN has now called for this.

According to TamilNet, the answer is no. It quotes senior Australian officials as saying “Australia is reluctant to call for a closure of these camps and release of the innocent IDPs as soon as possible“.

Rather, it turns out that the Government is using Australian tax dollars to pay for leading ad agency, Saatchi and Saatchi, to help scare off potential asylum seekers to Australia.

Using state of the art “social control” tactics, the campaign uses “street drama to take its message directly to the people. Actors will play people smugglers, and warn locals their efforts to escape from Sri Lanka will end in disappointment.”

9news reports that Catholic Churches are also being targeted, with literature and pamphlets being distributed around parishes warning asylum seekers they will not be welcome in Australia. The push has been dubbed the “Stay the Bloody Hell Away” campaign by media, in reference to Tourism Australia’s much-maligned “Where the Bloody Hell Are You?” campaign.

Saatchi and Saatchi can be expected to do something clever, creative and certainly not cheap. But how effective will this campaign be?

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