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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.

Who?

Portrait of Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer and the host of the Wheeler Centre’s live journalism series, the Fifth Estate, now in its sixth 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.

Portrait of Mariam Veiszadeh

Mariam Veiszadeh

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.

Portrait of David Manne

David Manne

David Manne is a human rights lawyer and migration agent, and Executive Director of the Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre (RILC). He has worked in various capacities assisting refugees and asylum seekers for over 20 years. In January 2001, he joined RILC, which has been at the forefront of defending the rights, the dignity and the lives of asylum seekers, refugees and disadvantaged migrants.

The Fifth Estate

Sally Warhaft has been the Wheeler Centre’s in-house news anchor since 2012. In 2018 – over 100 episodes in – the anthropologist, broadcaster and intrepid interviewer’s fortnightly live series continues, as she responds to the most important debates of the day and reignites stories that have fallen off the front pages.

Every second Tuesday, Sally hosts a dizzying array of guests from the worlds of politics, culture, international relations and beyond, in a witty and revealing analysis of current affairs. It’s an event series and a live podcast taping rolled into one. Topical guests are announced in the weeks prior to events: keep an eye on our website (or in the Wheeler Weekly) for updates.

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