(courtesy The Independent, 17 June 2014)
By Spencer D Gear
I was at a Bible study group on the morning of 31 July 2013 in an outer Brisbane suburb. There I received a scanned copy of a page that indicated that Centrelink benefits for an Australian aged pensioner and spouse were $16,068.00 annually compared with $56,680.00 annually for illegal immigrants/refugees living in Australia.
This is what was handed to the members of the group, not by the leader, but by a group member:
(image courtesy theantibogan)
What are the facts?
When I was provided with this handout, I found these figures to be questionable and I ‘smelt a rat’. It would be unjust of the Australian government to promote this kind of inequity. I found the information to be somewhat unusual so I searched online. I’ve tried to verify the figures that were given in the handout. This is what I found:
Robert Bretton’s information shown to be a hoax
Vietnamese boat people (image courtesy Wikipedia)
2. Refugees and asylum seekers receive higher social security payments than Australian aged pensioners (The Refugee Council of Australia, February 2011). This article states:
“Refugees and asylum seekers receive higher social security payments than Australian aged pensioners.”
A refugee who has permanent residency in Australia receives exactly the same social security benefits as any Australian resident in the same circumstances. Refugees apply for social security through Centrelink like everyone else and are assessed for the different payment options in the same way as everyone else. There are no separate Centrelink allowances that one can receive simply by virtue of being a refugee.
Centrelink payments are calculated at exactly the same rate for both refugees and non-refugees. A single person with no dependent children applying for Special Benefit or the Newstart Allowance (whether or not he or she is a refugee) will receive $469.70 per fortnight, whereas a single person on an Age Pension payment will receive a fortnightly payment of $658.40. A single age pensioner therefore receives over $180.00 more per fortnight more than a single refugee (or a single Australian citizen or permanent resident) who qualifies for Special Benefit or Newstart. Australian citizens and permanent residents with dependent children on lower to middle incomes (including refugees) may also be eligible to receive Family Tax Benefits or Parenting Payments. However, none of these allowances are paid at a higher rate than the single age pension.
Asylum seekers are not entitled to the same forms of financial support as citizens or permanent residents. The Asylum Seeker Assistance (ASA) Scheme provides assistance to some eligible asylum seekers who are in the process of having their refugee status determined. The ASA Scheme offers income support to cover basic living expenses, at a rate below Centrelink benefits.
Please note that the figures on Centrelink payment rates quoted above are current as at February 2011 and are subject to change. For the latest payment rates, visit www.centrelink.gov.au
3. A House of Representatives Committee statement, dated 28 September 2012, ‘Australian Government assistance to refugees: fact v fiction‘. This indicates that the information that was provided to the study group was a hoax and it is in emails that are circulating around the country/world.
4. The Refugee Council of Australia on March 9 2010 stated that these figures about the discrepancies between benefits for aged persons and refugees were false. See, ‘Response to outlandish claims about benefits to refugees: update‘.
5. The Australian Red Cross issued a ‘Fact sheet Migration Support Programs: Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme’, part of which stated:
Our case workers can assist you in accessing financial assistance to cover:
• basic living expenses (89% of Centrelink special benefits)
• general healthcare
• protection visa health and character checks.
In recent years, a series of emails have been widely circulated throughout Australia claiming to describe higher social security entitlements for refugees, compared with those of other Australian residents. A common claim in these emails is that refugees in Australia receive higher social security benefits than age pensioners.
There is no truth to claims that refugees are entitled to higher benefits than other social security recipients. Refugees have the same entitlements as all other permanent residents—they do not receive special refugee payments or special rates of payment.
7. In a letter-to-the-editor to the Fraser Coast Chronicle (published 17 June, 2010), sent by Sandi Logan, National Communications Manager, Department of Immigration and Citizenship by the Australian Government, ‘Asylum seekers don’t receive Centrelink benefits‘, it was stated:
The figure mentioned in the letter of a $50,000 benefit paid by Centrelink to asylum seekers is completely incorrect. Asylum seekers, while in detention undergoing the processing of their claims, are not entitled to Centrelink social security benefits.
Until such time as an asylum seeker is determined to be a refugee, as defined by the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), or returned home, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is solely responsible for the care of detainees.
If an asylum seeker is ultimately found to be a refugee and granted a visa, they then become a permanent resident and have access to exactly the same entitlements as any other resident or citizen of Australia: no more, no less.
Another questionable email sent by Christians
On 10 August 2013, I received an email titled, ‘She was a Christian’ that began with these words and these font colours:
WARNING: THE PHOTO BELOW IS QUITE GRAPHIC….BUT VERY TRUE! IF YOU THINK YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO STAND LOOKING AT IT THEN PLEASE DELETE THIS EMAIL.
What’s wrong with the Muslim world ???
SHE WAS ATTACKED – RAPED BY ABOUT 20 MUSLIMS AND AFTERWARDS MURDERED IN SYRIA.
WHAT WAS HER CRIME? “SHE WAS A CHRISTIAN”
MAY OUR DEAR LORD TAKE HER IN HIS ARMS…… AMEN!
Then followed what looks like Arabic writing and two photos, one of a beautiful teenage girl and beside her a photo of a murdered teen with the base of a cross shoved into her mouth and blood gushing forth (it’s too graphic for me to include on this page). The first thought that came to my mind was: Is this an accurate depiction from a credible source? Or is this another example of credulous Christians who pass on information without checking. So I went on a search, thanks to Google and some sites that check Internet hoaxes. This is what I found:
There are a number of reports in news items online of a 15-year-old Christian teenager in Syria who experienced multiple rapes from Muslim men. See:
However, from where did this gory, bloody photo of a teenager with a cross being forced down the woman’s throat originate? I had doubts that this was genuine in referring to an actual Christian woman, so I sent an inquiry online to www.snopes.com to ask them to investigate if this is a hoax.
I did find this statement in a news item, ‘Support Remy Couture and You Support Violence Against Women‘. Part of it stated:
Quebec filmmaker, Remy Couture, was charged in 2009 under the Criminal Code obscenity law over material posted to his website, and went to trial in Montreal in December 2012. The material in question includes hundreds of photos and a pair of videos that depict gruesome murders, torture, simulated rape, extreme violence and necrophilia, all with young female victims. The sets viewed in court included titles like “Hook”, a series of photos depicting a woman being tortured with hooks by a masked man. Another picture set titled “Burn” involves a woman’s burned body being assaulted and mutilated.
The films, titled Inner Depravity I and II, feature Courture in the role of a serial killer who hacks off limbs and performs sex acts on his victims. Couture says the films are meant to depict the life of a serial killer, assisted by a 10-year-old boy, whose tendencies lead him to also have sex with his dead female victims. One sequence shows a woman bleeding after a crucifix was shoved down her throat. Another graphic scene shows a character carving out a victim’s organs (emphasis added).
The pictures that were supplied to be by email of this young woman and a cross being forced down a throat come from twicsy, the Twitter Pics Engine. I urged the person who sent the email not to pass these things on until they are verified as genuine. They may be genuine, but in a quick look on the www this morning, I cannot verify them as genuine from a woman who has been raped by Muslims in Syria, murdered, and then a cross shoved down her throat.
I came across this item from 20 March 2011,
‘**GRAPHIC** Body of Young Christian Woman, and Indonesian Jihadi Brutally Murdering Christians **GRAPHIC**‘ with other graphic images, but I don’t know if these are genuine. They could be, but I don’t know. However, a comment on this website confirmed that that picture of the woman with a cross down her throat is from the film ‘Inner Depravity’.
However, what about the other pictures at the bottom of the article? Are they also from a film and are fake? I don’t know how to confirm the authenticity. However, some of the pictures from the bottom of this article are labelled as ghostpics. I investigated to find the nature of ghostpics and found this article to confirm how ghostpics may be genuine pictures but they have been known to manipulate pictures electronically. See, ‘Best Ghost Pictures Ever Taken‘.
This picture of the cross down the throat is also found in Encyclopedia Dramatica, which seems to suggest that this is not a genuine photo.
I urge Christians and others not to forward these kinds of email until their content can be verified.
It is critical to check the facts before circulating
This information indicates that the figures provided in the handout this morning are from hoax emails that have been circulating. Would you please do all you can to put an end to this kind of email that misrepresents the situation should you come across these incorrect figures?
There are too many people who are falling victim to circulating Internet and email hoaxes about various subjects. Many of them can be checked out at various sites on the Internet that investigate possible hoax emails and Internet information. These are the ones I use regularly:
 Available at: http://theantibogan.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/asylum-seekers-robert-bretton-liar-and-fraud/ (Accessed 31 July 2013).
 Refugee Council of Australia, available at: https://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/f/myth-long.php#centrelink (Accessed 31 July 2013).
 Parliament of Australia, available at: http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BN/2012-2013/AustGovAssistRefugees (Accessed 31 July 2013).
 Available at: http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/docs/releases/2010/100309%20Updated%20Response%20to%20email%20on%20Centrelink%20benefits.pdf (Accessed 31 July 2013).
 Available at: http://www.redcross.org.au/files/20120203_ASAS_Fact_Sheet_.pdf (Accessed 31 July 2013).
 Available at: http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/BN/2012-2013/AsylumFacts#_Toc348096472 (Accessed 31 July 2013).
 This online version of the letter is dated as 22 July 2010, available at: http://www.immi.gov.au/media/letters/letters10/le100722.htm (Accessed 31 July 2013).
Copyright © 2013 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 11 March 2018.