A ‘Reclaim Australia’ rally, Pauline Hanson, and guards entrusted with protecting Australia’s vulnerable asylum seekers — all in the same place. What’s wrong with this picture?
Eight guards from Nauru detention centre have been temporarily stood down from their positions after the surfacing of a controversial photo on Facebook.
The image shows the men — who are entrusted with caring for vulnerable people seeking asylum in Australia — posing with politician Pauline Hanson.
Yes, that Pauline Hanson. The Pauline Hanson who has previously linked halal certification to terrorist organisations, and has made several calls to “ban the burqa”.
The men – members of the emergency response team at Nauru, and employees of Transfield subcontractor Wilson Security — participated in the Reclaim Australia rally in Brisbane on April 4, at which Hanson was a speaker.
The Reclaim Australia movement involves self-proclaimed “patriotic Australians” calling to stop the “Islamisation” of Australia, including the cessation of the Halal tax and Sharia Law.
Sadly, the photo of the men at the rally is not the most shocking display of racial hate on these mens’ Facebook pages: Guardian Australia reports several instances of derogatory comments regarding Islam.
Prior to the rally, guard Beau James posted a photo likening Muslims to Germans who enabled the rise of Nazis through inaction, captioned: “See yas tomoz boys!!! Bring your pitch forks,” while several of the men have also seized the word “infidel” as a sort of slogan — having it tattooed on their bodies and printed on t-shirts.
One of the guards, Simon Scott, previously wrote of Halal products: “Don’t be UnAustralian and buy these products. Let the filthy sub human genetic Islamic filth have it.”
These men are supposed to be trusted with protecting those who seek asylum in Australia — people in detention, who often need high levels of specialised care.
So it’s, quite frankly, disturbing to see them smiling alongside one of the nation’s most notorious racists and anti-immigration pioneers, at a rally which specifically rejects aspects of the religion of a large number of refugees.
Is it really the belief of these men that Islam is “the enemy”, that its followers are “sub human”, and pitch forks are required to “reclaim” Australia?
If so, it’s difficult to see how those in their care can expect support.
Related content: It’s time to give children in detention their childhoods back.
An investigation is now underway about whether the Facebook image violates the organisation’s social media guidelines.