Culture

People Aren’t Too Happy About The Immigration Department Spending Over $1.3 Million On Staff Medals

Twitter is having a lot of fun with #BorderFarceMedals right now.

It’s been a couple of weeks now since the last time Immigration Minister Peter Dutton was mercilessly sledged on the internet for magnificently stuffing up somehow. But in an entirely predictable and almost anticipated turn, the government official incapable of operating a mobile phone successfully has been thrown back into the internet’s shark pit overnight.

This time, the schadenfreude comes from a Sydney Morning Herald story published yesterday, which reported that the Department of Immigration is spending more than $1.3 million on medals for its staff. According to Fairfax, its three-year contract with Cash’s Awards and Promotion Solutions even outspends the Department of Defence, which spent $300,000 on medals last year, and the Australian Federal Police, which only spent $23,000.

The department’s comparatively huge budget for handing out small, engraved metal discs is on top of the millions recently spent on rebranding and launching Australian Border Force, its paramilitary wing.

Exclusive scenes inside the Immigration Department buildings.

Chair of Labor’s Waste Watch Committee Pat Conroy told SMH in a statement that the department is on a “quest to militarise” the portfolio — a serious concern that was also raised back in August when the ABF tried to march around Melbourne and randomly demand to see people’s visas.

“The problem is that not only are these medals costly but they demonstrate the government’s intention to create a military style and culture within the Australian Border Force,” Conroy said. “When you put this in the context of the Operation Fortitude fiasco we start to see a picture emerge of the way this department is being led.”

The social media reaction to the story has been characterised by equal parts outrage and gleeful mocking. There are many reasonable questions people want answered, such as, what exactly are the kinds of things immigration employees are being rewarded for? Do you get gold for successfully racially profiling, and bronze for effort? Do you also get a cake?

Not surprisingly, a hashtag has been launched, and people are putting forward their very serious suggestions for different categories of #BorderFarceMedals.

There’s also been some speculation as to how the medals are handed out, and what kind of ceremony is involved.

Some are wondering about the exact number of medal recipients, and how many they’ve received so far.

And others have politely provided constructive feedback on how to better save money on the medallions.

Never change, Twitter.

Story via SMH.