Attempts for removal of anti-refugee Facebook meme unsuccessful

MEMORY: Peter and Beverley Rubenach at their St Marys property. Picture: Holly Corbett

MEMORY: Peter and Beverley Rubenach at their St Marys property. Picture: Holly Corbett

Fond memories of a "beautiful, loving man" have been tarnished by an anti-refugee Facebook meme, which his family is desperately trying to have removed.

Tim Rubenach passed away in May 2018 after living with an acquired brain injury and epilepsy since he was a child. He died while waiting for urgently required assisted technology from the NDIS.

In February, a meme featuring Mr Rubenach and refugee patient Gul Bandash was posted to Facebook page Stand Up For Australia - Canberra, reading: "This is Australian Tim Rubenach, he died in his home waiting for a [sic] urgently needed specialist bed. This is illegal Gul Bandash, he wants to be flown to Australia to receive priority specialist treatment for a bump on his head".

Mr Rubenach's mother, Beverley, felt ill when she found out about the post.

Though she was only made aware of the meme a few days ago, two of her daughters had known for months but were so upset by it they couldn't tell them.

"It goes against everything we believe in," Mrs Rubenach said.

"We believe that everyone should be treated equally. We've supported asylum seekers for years now. We have massive empathy and compassion and it's one of our passions to help asylum seekers and refugees," she said.

"Tim used to come to rallies with us to fight for the rights of any of the vulnerable or voiceless - that was where his heart laid," she said.

At Mr Rubenach's funeral, donations were made to the UN Refugee Agency in lieu of flowers.

Mrs Rubenach said the "desire of her heart" would be to have Mr Bandash come to Australia and live with them.

"That would have been Tim's desire too. It would have been everything he would have wished for," she said.

"I just don't know how people can go that low, using someone's picture like that without even looking at the facts.

"Tim was beautiful and loving," she said. "It's just devastating."

Attempts were made by Mrs Rubenach's daughters to get the post removed from Facebook, but so far had been unsuccessful.

Lyons Liberal MP Guy Barnett said the use of Mr Rubenach's image and story in such a way was appalling and upsetting.

"The family have asked for the image to be taken down from Facebook, they haven't complied, and it's simply unacceptable," he said.

Mr Barnett said the state government would be following up on the issue as a priority.

Facebook was contacted for comment.

This story 'Appalling' meme causes heartache for Tasmanian family first appeared on The Examiner.