ARA 40th Anniversary Oration: An Australian Sanctuary?


As part of 2015 SA Refugee Week

Friday 19 June 2015



With Dr Tim Soutphommasane, Race Discrimination Commissioner for the Australian Human Rights Commission

In the presence of His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AO,
The Governor of South Australia

Hosted by Amanda Blair

Podcast available HERE (mp3 format 31MB)

Australia had a proud history of accepting refugees and migrants during the second half of the twentieth century. This oration reflects on recent developments in Australia's approach to immigration and multiculturalism, and the different ways in which the idea of 'sanctuary' shapes our society's response to outsiders.



Presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and the Australian Refugee Association and supported by the International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding



Dr Tim Soutphommasane is Race Discrimination Commissioner and commenced his five-year appointment on 20 August 2013. Prior to joining the Australian Human Rights Commission, he was a political philosopher at the University of Sydney. His thinking on multiculturalism and national identity has been influential in reshaping debates in Australia and Britain. During his term, Dr Soutphommasane will be an advocate for a fairer Australia and drive the Commission’s efforts to combat racism.

Dr Soutphommasane is the author of three books: The Virtuous Citizen (Cambridge University Press, 2012), Don't Go Back To Where You Came From (New South Books, 2012), and Reclaiming Patriotism (Cambridge University Press, 2009). He has been an opinion columnist with The Age and The Weekend Australian newspapers, and in 2013 presented “Mongrel Nation”, a six-part documentary series about Australian multiculturalism, on ABC Radio National. He is a board member of the National Australia Day Council and a member of the advisory council of the Global Foundation.

A first-generation Australian of Chinese and Lao extraction, Dr Soutphommasane was raised in southwest Sydney. He completed his Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford, from where he also holds a Master of Philosophy degree (with distinction). He is a first-class honours graduate of the University of Sydney. 


While the views presented by speakers within the Hawke Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia or The Hawke Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: strengthening our democracy - valuing our diversity - and building our future.

The copying and reproduction of any transcripts within the Hawke Centre public program is strictly forbidden without prior arrangements.