15 October 2014

rally in support of refugeesCalls for a different approach on Australia’s asylum seeker policy – and consideration on where change might come from – will come under the spotlight at UniSA’s Hawke Centre next week.

Welcome to Australia national director Brad Chilcott will lead discussion at a special event to unpack one of the most controversial and contested political issues of the nation – that of asylum seekers arriving on our shores.

Chilcott says that despite years of campaigning and advocacy for just and compassionate asylum seeker policies, Australia’s treatment of people seeking protection has gotten steadily worse.

“Harsh rhetoric and damaging deterrence measures are used by political leaders because they are popular with the electorate and the ability to administer cruelty has become a sign of strong leadership,” he says.

“Australians are well aware of the impact of mandatory, indefinite detention on children and adults. We’re familiar with the stories of self-harm, mental illness and violence. And yet there is no collective call for a different approach.

“So we must ask, where will change come from and what could it look like? Is there a way to address the damage being done to asylum seekers in our name and to arrest the erosion of our national character?”

Chilcott will be joined at the event by Marziya Mohammadi, a University of Adelaide student who is a refugee and Welcome to Australia volunteer.

Hawke Centre executive director Jacinta Thompson says the event has been moved to a larger venue to accommodate strong public interest.

“We’re delighted to be presenting this event which reflects the Hawke Centre’s mission of strengthening democracy and valuing diversity in our society,” Thompson says.

The event, titled ‘Australia’s asylum seeker policy: where will change come from and what could it look like?’, will be held on Thursday October 23 at 7pm in the Allan Scott Auditorium, Hawke Building, UniSA City West campus. It is being co-presented by the Hawke Centre and UniSA’s Global Experience program. For more information and to register, click here.

Contact for interview:
Brad Chilcott mobile 0410 548 637

Media contact: Kelly Stone office 8302 0963 mobile 0417 861 832 email Kelly.stone@unisa.edu.au

Other articles you may be interested in