Briena Barrett, WAtoday.com.au (Western Australia), June 10, 2009
A rapidly expanding social networking site has been slammed for its racist taunts against immigrants to Australia.
The Facebook Group, F*** Off, We’re Full, has nearly 65,000 members and believes any immigrants coming to Australia must adapt to what it calls the ‘Aussie lifestyle.’
“This idea of Australia being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity,” the site states.
“As Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle.”
The website is full of debate on its discussion board. The latest topics put up for comment include: Will Indian race-rioters be hunted down? and All foreigners need to be euthanised.
Matt, an active member of the group, said he joined because he believed immigrants were ruining the Australian way of life.
“That’s why I joined it because I’m a very proud Australian and I love this place and I wouldn’t give it up for the world,” he said.
He believed the Federal Government’s current immigration policies were too lenient.
“Personally I think that it should be put out there that we will shoot or destroy any vessel that comes into the Australian waters without the applicable visas or the Australian Government knowing of their existence,” he said.
Female member Courtney said she recognised the site was racist but stood by its beliefs.
“I believe if you are going to come here, then do what we do and if you don’t like it then leave,” she said.
Another member, who doesn’t want his name used, mirrored this view.
“I don’t see why it should be a problem to have a group that is basically of an opinion that our country is full at the moment and we don’t need any more bloody third world immigrants coming over here and making things worse than they already are,” he said.
Murdoch University senior psychology lecturer Dr Anne Pedersen said the Facebook members were contradicting themselves.
“Why should we make people of colour assimilate to the white Australian culture, when in fact Indigenous people were the first people here,” she said.
Project SafeCom coordinator Jack Smit, who advocates for refugee rights, said the site was incredibly offensive.
“Stop vilifying migrants and stop vilifying refugees who are running for their lives . . . and need to come here,” he said.
“Everyone who attempts to exclude a whole swag of nationalities from what they regard as true Australians commits a form of racism.”
Dr Pedersen believed shutting down the group would be pointless but said there was a limit to freedom of speech.
“I believe in freedom in speech, but with free speech comes responsibility and this is irresponsible,” she said.
The Australian Protectionist Party, which describes itself as the patriotic movement Australia is looking for, says multiculturalism is ruining Australia.
Party spokesman Darrin Hodges regularly uploads topic discussions on the site and says the Australian identity needs to be protected.
“Every country does have its own culture and way of life and they should be looking to preserve that rather than turning all countries into a globalised mish-mash,” he said.
“In terms of protecting the identity, that comes back down to immigration and who is allowed into the country and who isn’t.
“We would see immigration turned back to the more traditional forces of being Europe and Great Britain.”
But Dr Pedersen said Australia was already a multicultural society and had been for a long time.
“It’s just that we’re not white anymore, walk down the streets, we’re not a white city anymore and thank god we’re not, ” she said.
A spokesman for immigration minister Chris Evans said the Government strongly opposed the fostering of extremism, racial hatred, division and incitement to violence “and we condemn those who promote the vilification of ethnic groups within the community”.
“Australia is a country of migrants,” he said.
“About 45 per cent of our population . . . was either born overseas or has at least one parent who was born overseas. This means that nearly half of all Australians are either migrants or children of migrants.
“Along with the significant economic benefits of migration, Australia has been enriched by the cultures and traditions of migrants from more than 200 countries around the world who have chosen to make a home in our great nation.”
Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities states that any content that is “unlawful, misleading, malicious or discriminatory” could be shut down.