Pacific Scoop

Australian ‘by boat, no visa’ asylum seekers ad campaign costing $37m

Australia Network Television’s Sean Dorney reports on the Fiji condemnation of the new Pacific Solution
asylum seekers policy.

Pacific Scoop:
Report – By the PMC news desk

The controversial advertising campaign warning people off seeking asylum in Australia by boat will cost up to $30 million just for the domestic campaign, with an additional $7 million being sought to spread the message overseas, reports the Guardian Australia.

About 40 men – all single men – have arrived on Manus Island as the first asylum seekers to be taken to Papua New Guinea  under the new Rudd government policy, the Brisbane Times reports.

If you come by boat

The controversial advertising Pacific Solution campaign has been condemned by independent senator Nick Xenophon. Image: Aust govt

On Nauru, a third asylum seeker camp will be built as the Labor government attempts to further ramp up its so-called Pacific Solution.

The Melbourne Age reports that the Nauru government is finalising an agreement with local landowners for the location for the new camp and expects to make an announcement in the coming days.

On Friday the Auditor-General, Ian McPhee, revealed details of the “by boat, no visa” campaign costs in a letter to the independent senator Nick Xenophon, responding to Xenophon’s complaint about the use of an “extreme urgency” clause to bypass normal approval regulations and access funds for government advertising.

The letter detailed that recent ads in newspapers were part of a domestic campaign with a “notional budget” of up to $30 million.

International advertising by Customs and Border Protection had been given just $2 million so far, taken from already available funds. They have asked for another $5 million for a third phase of advertising.

International message
The domestic campaign “by boat, no visa” was to target Afghani, Iraqi, Pakistani, Iranian and Vietnamese communities within Australia to allow the message to spread to international communities, the letter stated.

The Australian public was considered a “secondary target audience” as “friends and influences of the primary target audiences”.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (Diac) told Guardian Australia that about $2.6 million had been spent on the domestic advertising campaign before 27 July, with a further $1.07 million booked for 28 July until today inclusive.

Xenophon told Sky News “this whole campaign stinks”.

“I don’t want us to end up with the best democracy money can buy. But compounding that is a situation where taxpayers’ money is being used effectively for party-political ads. It’s a cheap way of doing the party’s ads,” he said.

‘By boat, no visa’ ads to deter asylum seekers

Video of first asylum seekers arrival in Papua New Guinea