The Fifth Estate: Safe Harbour
In the past decade, Australia’s stance towards asylum seekers has changed radically. No longer assumed to be refugees fleeing persecution, asylum seekers are now often described as 'illegal immigrants'.
In recent weeks, there have been allegations that both major parties have paid people smugglers to return asylum seekers to Indonesian shores. The federal government has come in for particular criticism, with detention centre workers resigning in protest against poor conditions. There have been ongoing accusations, too, that Australian asylum seeker policies breach United Nations conventions. The newly created Border Force, merging the frontline operations of Customs and Immigration, has taken charge of Operation Sovereign Borders – where information regarding 'on water matters' is withheld from journalists.
As the number of refugees and displaced peoples increases around the world, Australia's policies will gain increasing international attention. Join host Sally Warhaft with David Manne, Director of the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre, and Mariam Veiszadeh, human rights lawyer and 'proud refugee', for a conversation about seeking asylum, politics and Australia.
Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She hosts the Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, now in its ninth year. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.
Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.
Mariam Veiszadeh is a lawyer, community rights advocate and opinion columnist. She is a vocal advocate of the rights of the Australian Muslim community and, as a self-declared 'proud refugee', she is also a passionate advocate for the rights of asylum seekers and refugees.
Mariam is a proud Ambassador for Welcome to Australia , a not-for-profit organisation which seeks to cultivate a culture of welcome in Australia, and the founder of the Islamophobia Register Australia – which allows members of the community to report any real life hate incidents they’ve faced.
David Manne is a human rights lawyer and Executive Director of Refugee Legal (previously the Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre (RILC)). He has worked in various capacities assisting refugees and asylum seekers for over 20 years. In January 2001, he joined Refugee Legal, at the forefront of defending the rights, the dignity and the lives of asylum seekers, refugees and disadvantaged migrants.