Thursday, July 29, 2004

Forum on refugee and indigenous human rights

CO-HOSTED BY CHILOUT (children out of detention)

29 July 2004 at 7pm, Auditorium room,
Paddington Woollahra RSL Club,
226 Oxford St Paddington.

Speakers: Senator Aden Ridgeway, Lawyer Julian Burnside QC and Big Brother Evictee, Merlin Luck.

The long-term mandatory detention of asylum seekers not only breaches multiple UN treaties to which Australia is a signatory, it goes against the principals of any decent and humane society.

Refugee law and policy is not just about refugees being given a fair go. It's about the powers that the Howard government seeks to grab for itself; powers that undermine our democracy and the fundamental rule of law.

Lawyer- Julian Burnside is a prominent lawyer and Queen's Counsel working in the area of human rights. He is an outspoken critic of current refugee policies, and represented the Tampa asylum seekers.

Julian will discuss the legal issues surrounding detention, as well as his experiences working with refugees both as a lawyer and advocate. He will relate the arguments put forward by the government in legal cases challenging detention - important information about the government's ideas regarding the limits (or not) of their power that were never reported in the press.

Activist - Shattering the tag of 'reality TV personality' with his protest on Big Brother, Merlin Luck is travelling around the country talking at public events to raise awareness of the plight of refugees in Australia.

Merlin courageously used his airtime on the Big Brother TV show to make a stand about refugee detention. Merlin has recently travelled to Baxter detention centre and will talk about his visit as well as talk about the refugee movement from an activist perspective.

Politician - Senator Aden Ridgeway, the only Aboriginal Federal parliamentarian, visits Villawood immigration detention centre and is a critic of current refugee policy.

The Howard Government wants to abolish the Board of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), replacing it with nothing, and then mainstreaming all Indigenous programs.

What does this mean for the future of reconciliation in Australia? Senator Ridgeway will talk on the parallels between Indigenous and refugee policy. The issues may appear different on the surface but the root cause - expedient racism - is the same.

Kate Gauthier
Office of Senator Aden Ridgeway
Ph: 02 9818 8422
Fax: 02 9818 8099
Mob: 0414 876 139

Senator Ridgeway is the Australian Democrats' Spokesperson on Trade and Overseas Development, Arts and Sport, Industry and Small Business, Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation, Forestry, Consumer Affairs and Tourism.


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On the 2nd day of Christmas 'We give you the gift of Joy'.
On the 3rd day of Christmas 'We give you the gift of love'.
On the 4th day of Christmas 'We give you the gift of hope'.
On the 5th day of Christmas 'We give you the gift of faith'.

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Indigenous Human Rights Links:

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Reconciliation dreaming
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