Immigration Chief Metcalfe should be sacked over xenophobic boat-phobia scaremongering

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Immigration Chief Metcalfe should be sacked over xenophobic boat-phobia scaremongering

Media Release
Thursday September 8, 2011 7:00am WST
For Immediate Release
No Embargoes


"The apocalyptic picture painted by Immigration Department Chief Andrew Metcalfe in briefings to opposition leader Tony Abbott are a disgusting example of an old and deeply entrenched sickness in the Department. Metcalfe descended in his briefing to the level of a gossiping mongerer, peddling xenophobia and race hatred and sensationally supporting boat-phobia. His extremist mob riot depictions are a disgrace to the Australian Public Service, and he should be sacked for going beyond the call and duty as a public servant," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.

"In the briefing, as widely reported overnight in the media, Metcalfe is reported as painting extreme scenarios and suggesting onshore processing of asylum seekers will lead to rioting comparable to recent events in London or Paris," spokesman Jack H Smit said.

"If Mr Metcalfe wants to peddle racial division he needs to quit the Immigration Department and become a radio shock jock. As it stands, he has lowered himself to a "border mandarin", scaring the bajesus out of anyone who wants to hear it with apocalyptic scenarios that bear no relation to fact-based evidence. Australia has never been flooded by boats, and never since asylum seeker vessels first arrived in 1976 have numbers of boat arrivals exceeded 50% of the annual humanitarian visa entrant quotas. At the same time the success rate of maritime asylum seekers - between 70% and 98% - confirm that Australia should keep receiving boats and process their claims forthwith."

"The Australian Public Service should be a shining example of the "frank and fearless" paragon. It's time the Immigration Department changes its basic strategy. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser called them arch-conservatives who painted apocalyptic scenarios, referring to 1979 submissions to his Cabinet where they tried to scare their Minister with the fear of huge boats "that could arrive" in Australia."

"I have further evidence from 1999 Immigration Department documentation where they employ the same strategy, inserting themselves in Parliamentary debates, armed with false claims about floods of asylum seekers. It's time the Department gets cleaned out."

"In many other countries yesterday's behaviour by Mr Metcalfe would be cause for him to immediately be sacked or stood down. It doesn't make Australia look good by any means that he apparently gets away with peddling racial divisiveness, xenophobia and extremist depictions of asylum seekers who arrive by boat. Why is he not sacked immediately?"

Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]

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