Australia’s border policies have become increasingly punitive over the past decade, under a succession of governments, as we push the ‘problem’ of asylum seekers who come by boat beyond our borders.
Our speakers will talk about government deterrence rhetoric and policies, the industry and experience of offshore detention, and strategies for protest. They’ll look at campaigns like Boycott Biennale and artistic responses, and draw on their personal experiences. With Aran Mylvaganam, spokesperson for the Tamil Refugee Council and activist for refugee rights, writer and activist Angela Mitropoulos and migration agent Liz Thompson.
Chaired by Mark Davis, journalist and reporter for SBS’s Dateline.
Aran Mylvaganam was born in Nagar kovil in Northern Sri Lanka. Between 1995 and 1997 he lived in a refugee camp in Udayarkaddu, before coming to Australia as a 13-year-old unaccompanied refugee in 1997. He was detained in Villawood detention centre for three months. In 2011 he founded the Tamil Refugee Council. Aran currently works as a union organiser with the Finance Sector Union and spokesperson for the Tamil Refugee Council.
Angela Mitropoulos is a Sydney-based academic. She is involved in Crossborder Operational Matters and the Mapping Supply Chains & Infrastructure Networks group which resource the divestment and boycott campaigns against mandatory detention; and she was one of the organisers of the Woomera protests in 2002.
Liz Thompson is a Melbourne-based migration agent, working predominantly with asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat. She worked on Manus Island as a Claims Assistance Provider until resigning in February 2014.
Blending his background in documentaries with journalism, Mark Davis has produced a remarkable range of international reports over the past 18 years. Davis has been awarded Australia’s most prestigious journalism prize, the Walkley’s, five times for his reports. He was awarded a World Medal at the New York Film and Television Festival for one of his many Afghanistan stories, Lion of the Panshir.