Christmas display mocks asylum seekers

Last updated 14:05 14/12/2013
Woodheads' light display

'DISCUSSION STARTER': The Woodheads' Christmas light display in Erskineville.

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A Sydney couple whose immigration-themed Christmas display lit up social media say they are just trying to win the local decoration contest.

Carolyn and Robert Woodhead said that they are not an especially political couple but when the idea came to them to invoke Christmas Island in their front yard, they couldn't resist the opportunity to use Santa to satirise the asylum-seeker issue.

Placards framed by fairy lights declare "Merry Christmas Island" and "We will decide who comes down our chimney and the circumstances in which they come".

"I don't consider this a protest," Carolyn Woodhead said. "I consider it a discussion starter.

"We're just trying to win the Christmas decoration competition."

The couple arranged the lights as part of their street's annual Christmas light competition, to be judged on Saturday.

But before they even had a chance to post a photo of their display on Facebook, a bystander beat them to it – and the image went viral.

"Everything's gone a bit crazy,"  Woodhead said. "I didn't expect it to go right as far as it has."

Satirist Pauline Pantsdown and author Marieke Hardy seized on the photograph of the Woodheads' house on Twitter and generated hundreds of retweets between them.

The image was also uploaded onto image-sharing site Imgur, collecting more than 30,000 views.

The couple did have some reservations about creating a display around such a polarising issue.

"I didn't want to offend anyone," Woodhead said.

Other phrases dotted in the garden include "We grew here, you flew here" and "If you come here by sled without a visa you will not be settled in Australia".

The couple have also arranged strings of Christmas lights surrounding the yard to look like barbed-wire fencing.

-Sydney Morning Herald

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