The Liberal Party & Worldwide Online Printing – Demonising Refugees

Today I received one of the abhorrent Liberal party flyers going around the nation which dehumanise and demonise refugees by continually associating their arrival via boat with the term “illegal”. Clearly a political stunt aimed at exacerbating public ‘fear of the other’ at the expense of genuine refugees, in the hope of scoring political points.

Yep, that’s bad. But the story gets worse. The flyer I received was printed by Worldwide Online Printing, who no doubt have made a profit in the process. That is to say, they directly profited from a POLITICAL FLYER which demonises refugees and was delivered to my home.

I have a problem with people profiting off creating further misery for people who are fleeing persecution, so I went over to Worldwide‘s Facebook page and left the following reasonable criticism (mind the typos, I was a little worked up):

Worldwide Online Printing profiting off the LNP's demonisation of refugees, my comments.

A fair and reasonable statement, but one that Worldwide didn’t believe should be left on their Facebook page because their “house rules” do not allow “political comment”. What a load of crap. So it’s OK for Worldwide to PROFIT from “political comment”, but it’s not OK for the public to then COMMENT on their doing so?

Here’s the initial response they gave:

Worldwide Online Printing profiting off the LNP's demonisation of refugees, their response.

 

Essentially ‘thanks for the comment Luke, we don’t like you saying that so we’re going to delete it now’.

Well, as you can imagine being censored did not sit well with me. Here is the stream of comments with which I responded immediately after, before they could delete my wall post:

Worldwide Online Printing profiting off the LNP's demonisation of refugees, more of my comments.

I think my responses were all quite reasonable. A company profiting from party-political propaganda pieces MUST expect a public backlash when those pieces are unethical. This is exactly why such flyers are mandated to have “printed by” on them, so we CAN respond to those who are profiting off it, right?

At this point, a simple “our apologies for any offence caused, we will investigate the issue and make a statement tomorrow” would have placated me – IF they left the comment there. Unfortunately Worldwide Online Printing decided it was not to be so, delivering another generic dismissive comment and proceeding to delete my wall post

Worldwide Online Printing profiting off the LNP's demonisation of refugees, generic response + censored

 But not only did they delete my wall post, they BANNED me from commenting on their Facebook page at all. Surely their PR person should know outright censorship is NOT the answer to valid criticism? Apparently not.

After being censored, I posted the following status on my personal Facebook account in response:

Worldwide Online Printing profiting off the LNP's demonisation of refugees, post-censorship status update.

At this stage, a few like-minded people decided to also post on Worldwide Online Printing’s Facebook wall, in objection to both the profiteering off demonising refugees and the censorship of criticism. Unfortunately, these are just a few of the posts which I managed to get screen captures of before Worldwide turned off ALL wall posts. 

Worldwide Online Printing profiting off the LNP's demonisation of refugees, Karun comment + Worldwide response

Worldwide Online Printing profiting off the LNP's demonisation of refugees, Georgia comments + Worldwide response

Worldwide Online Printing profiting off the LNP's demonisation of refugees, Karun second wall post

Worldwide Online Printing profiting off the LNP's demonisation of refugees, Linda wall post

 

They then posted this list of “house rules”, essentially an easy-way-out for the marketing team to validate their censorship of criticism.

Worldwide Online Printing profiting off the LNP's demonisation of refugees, house rules post + responses

 In fact, on closer observation one can see their “house rules” were only published AFTER the criticism had been censored and I had been blocked.

Worldwide Online Printing profiting off the LNP's demonisation of refugees, house rules AFTER THE FACT

Interestingly they “encourage comments, including constructive feedback”… I guess constructive feedback doesn’t include valid criticisms.

Making up a set of rules does not make you immune to social backlash, Worldwide Online Printing. Nor does turning off comments on Facebook, especially when you still have both a Twitter account and LinkedIn and they are both listed in your Facebook “about” section.

But to put the icing on the cake, they finally came around to giving the only response they really needed to give to begin with  – “We’ve taken your comments into consideration and will be investigating the matter further”.

Worldwide Online Printing profiting off the LNP's demonisation of refugees, finally say correct thing + responses

Now was that really so hard Worldwide Online Printing admins???

Here’s to hoping they make a decent statement about the issue, including an apology to both refugees and the people they censored.

I also urge them to donate all profits made from these abhorrent flyers to some form of refugee support group.

3 thoughts on “The Liberal Party & Worldwide Online Printing – Demonising Refugees”

  1. Companies (even printing companies) have to stop and think what they are put their names on. Taking a job on and accepting money for it is and endorsement by association.

  2. Gday Luke, Just love your piece and the action you have taken. Fantastic to hold these hypocritical bastards to account who claim they don’t want political statements on their face book page while they are more than happy to print political lies for profit. You have exposed their hypocrisy and double standards. Great work.

  3. Hi Luke,
    Thanks for taking the great stance you have taken. I wish so many more people would have the courage to do so.
    I think there are two valuable lessons for Worldwide, and other companies too.
    One is that their ethical principals will be held to public account and they should be prepared to justify their stance and not hide behind a thin policy statement, and two is that social media is not to be trifled with by the faint hearted.
    I don’t think personal attacks are called for but absolutely believe the individuals involved and the organisations they represent can be asked to reflect on their actions, and improve them and their policies if need be.

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