German neo-Nazis copy ‘mainstream’ Australian anti-refugee propaganda

25 April 2016
James Plested

German neo-Nazis love Australia’s refugee policies so much that they copied Australian government immigration material and turned it into a sticker of their own. The sticker is on display at the German History Museum in Berlin as part of the exhibition “Anti-Semitic and racist stickers from 1880 to today”.

The neo-Nazi origin of the sticker is clear. The outline of Germany that appears at the top is based on its pre-1914 borders, which include the additional “Lebensraum” in the east that was lost in World War One, and which Hitler attempted to win back in World War Two.

The German History Museum is not some dodgy, fly-by-night set-up. It’s an important government-run institution. A lot of thought and detailed planning goes into the exhibitions.

So it means something when a piece of propaganda copied straight from the Australian government turns up there among sundry other documents of fascism in Germany. It’s doubtful that the curators made the connection; the implication, however, is clear.

The Australian government’s material, cheerily displayed on the immigration website and distributed around the world to help convey the official Australian “line” on refugees, is on par with some of the most depraved and hateful documents of human history over past century.Official Australian government material

To those who preside over Australia’s refugee policies, this is “world’s best practice”. To anyone with a skerrick of humanity, it’s more like “the banality of evil”.

The sticker appears in the exhibition with the following text, in German and English: “The text of this sticker refuses to grant refugees any chance of settling in Germany. The image threatens: we would rather you drown at sea”.

For a German audience, this is assumed to be self-evidently racist and vile. In Australia, the idea of using refugee drownings as a way of deterring further boat arrivals is official government policy.

So that’s where we are. In Germany there is increasing concern about the rise of the far right. In Australia we call those people “the government”.

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