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|Title:||The Boat as a Prop in Election Theatrics: Constructing Maritime Asylum Seekers as a ‘Problem’|
Department of Government and International Relations
|Abstract:||This article is concerned with the way Maritime Asylum Seekers (MAS) were constructed as a problem and negatively framed during the 2010 Australian Federal Election. It draws upon a comparative study of the representations of MAS in the 2001 and the 2010 election campaigns, through an analysis of election-seeking officials’ rhetoric and use of symbols, and the portrayal of the issue in select newspapers. It asserts that the construction of MAS as a problem has commonly been addressed within a broad ‘securitization’ framework or through explanation of MAS as ‘the other’, but that neither of those frameworks adequately explains that the issue involves pertinent humanitarian obligations. It introduces the concept of the ‘reverse humanitarian’ framework, and suggests that actors have used this framework to demonize and dehumanize MAS within the very framework that is supposed to provide protection. It suggests that the ‘reverse humanitarian’ framework better explains how the election-seeking officials in 2010 constructed MAS as ‘undeserving’ refugees, and also how select mainstream media challenged these constructions. Ultimately what the study shows is that rather than offer leadership on the issue, the election-seeking officials relied on the political opportunities of negatively constructing MAS. Such a finding emphasizes the need for leadership on issues of humanitarian concern.|
|Department/Unit/Centre:||Department of Government and International Relations|
|Appears in Collections:||Honours Theses - Government and International Relations|
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