Videos to deter asylum seekers

ASYLUM seekers will be warned off trying to reach Australia by boat in a series of new videos and posters telling them they could be sent to Nauru or Manus and will not be processed faster than people who wait in refugee camps.

The campaign, titled ''Australia by boat? No advantage'' will start today, with videos distributed on YouTube and as DVDs, as well as in brochures and posters (pictured) targeting immigrant communities in Australia and overseas.

''This multimedia and communications campaign reinforces the message that asylum seekers should think twice before getting on a boat to Australia, because they will be risking their lives at sea for no advantage - absolutely no advantage,'' Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said.

The release came as a coalition of church leaders, including Anglican primate Phillip Aspinall and Catholic Bishops Conference president Denis Hart, issued a statement expressing ''grave concern'' at the Gillard government's new offshore processing laws.

The Immigration Department videos - with narration in English, Farsi, Pashto, Arabic, Tamil, Sinhalese and Dari - include footage of the derelict accommodation at the previous camps operated by the former Howard government, even though these have been closed in recent years.

The videos state: ''There is no advantage in paying a people smuggler to travel to Australia. The Australian government is preparing to transfer asylum seekers who travel by boat to Nauru or Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. This includes people who arrive alone, in family groups, and children.''

Cut with clips of Prime Minister Julia Gillard announcing the new policy, the ads repeat the phrase ''no advantage'', stating that boat arrivals ''will not make it to Australia'', will ''not be processed faster'' and ''will not be able to sponsor family to come to Australia''.

Customs will disseminate the campaign through embassies, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organisation for Migration in source and transit countries.

Meanwhile, the Australian Navy yesterday stopped a boat carrying 48 people north-west of Ashmore Islands.

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