Newspeak gets the bum’s rush in Australia

The liberal elite have a newspeak word for almost everything, but now there is push back in Australia.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has instructed departmental and detention centre staff to publicly refer to asylum seekers as ‘‘illegal’’ arrivals and as ‘‘detainees’’, rather than as clients.

The directive has been criticised as a ‘‘profound’’ shift by a leading asylum seeker agency, which says the new terminology is designed to dehumanise people.

In an email to detention centre staff, obtained by Fairfax Media, a department official writes: ‘‘The department has received correspondence from the minister clarifying his expectations about the department’s use of terminology. Accordingly we as [sic] that our service providers also adhere to the below instructions.’’ 

These include calling all people who arrive in Australia by boat ‘‘illegal maritime arrivals’’, a marked change from the more moderate language used under the previous government.

When it came to office in 2007, Labor dropped the Howard government’s description of asylum seekers who arrived by boat as ‘‘illegal maritime arrivals’’, calling them ‘‘irregular maritime arrivals’’. It said this was done in recognition of the fact it is not illegal under Australian domestic law or international law to claim asylum. The new directive reverses this.

The email to detention centre and Serco staff also instructs them to describe asylum seekers being held in detention centres in Australia as ‘‘detainees’’ rather than as ‘‘clients’’, as they had been called under Labor.

People being held on Nauru and Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island are to be called ‘‘transferees’’, not  ‘‘clients’’.

Good job…can we do this here especially at WINZ where long term beneficiaries are renamed bludgers.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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