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 is the host of The Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, and The Leap Year, a Wheeler Centre podcast about Australians’ lives in the fog of ... Read more
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... Read more
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 defe... Read more
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