In Search of a Slogan. A Refugee Week Reflection

I think we need a slogan. John Howard had one when he said “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances under which they come”. Tony Abbot’s was even simpler: “stop the boats”. It’s clever, even if despicable, politics. Slogans take complex issues and reduce them to a single bite-size chunk which people can quickly and easily digest, that helps them make sense of what is going on.

Bad slogans do this by obscuring the truth and preying on our fears. Good slogans open us up to new possibilities, they create a horizon of hope. Think of “Make Poverty History” or the Jubilee debt campaign’s “drop the debt”. In their time these were outrageous aspirations, but they drove people to think that the world really could be different.

We are confronted at the moment with a very dark part in our history. We have shut our borders to people who are fleeing the most unimaginable atrocities, instead packing them off to indefinite and inhumane detention centres on Nauru and Manus island, where the continued uncertainty about the future drives them to despair and hopelessness. Over one thousand children are included in the number of those detained.

So I’m searching for a slogan that creates a horizon of hope for my fellow Australians, that reframes the conversation. Some interesting possibilities have already emerged. “Love makes a way” is particularly strong. But I’m searching for something even more specific, something along the lines of “make poverty history” or “drop the debt”.

Would love to hear your suggestions.


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rick plumb
rick plumb
9 years ago

slogan suggestions

our heart is people not money

welcome the stranger care for the needy

we live in a society not an economy

MIchael Howorth
9 years ago

Hi Scott – no idea yet but a great blog. Find our heart seems appropriate, stop the cruelty, help the boats, aaargh, i am so frustrated.

Diane Parker
Diane Parker
9 years ago

A while back before I was banned from posting on Scott Morrisons facebook page I saw that he was talking about a road/traffic campaign called “Operation Safe Arrival” someone said it was a shame that was not the name given to his Asylum Seeker policy… the comment was deleted of course, so I re-posted it. I’ve liked it ever since… that’s what it should be about, getting them here safely. No drownings and no detention. Thanks for your blog 🙂

Sarah Smith
Sarah Smith
9 years ago

“Make the wait safe”
“Bridge the way”
“Make Safe Ways”
“Pave a path to protection”
“Cheap mercy costs more”
“Stop Asylum Insanity”
“Insert Heart for Humanity’s Sake”
“Operation Humanity”
“Australia, queue here for compassion”
“Advance Australia Further”
“No Way, Fair Goes”

9 years ago

“Boat people are people!”
“Stop the ignorance”
“23 million Aussies 1 boat aint gunna hurt!”
“What would you do in their shoes?”

9 years ago

A topic close to my heart Scott you have covered it well. I am no good at choosing slogans so at first i didn’t try. Then I was looking at the front of a UNOH magazine and there was a photo of a young person at a rally in support of refugees with a sign ” Welcome Me ” maybe worth thin about.

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