For some time now, the discussion about refugees and asylum seekers and what to do about them has been dominating the public conversation. Even before the current human catastrophe that is Syria, much of our political dialogue was focused on refugees and boat arrivals. It’s disappointing to me that most of this dialogue has consisted of little more than rhetoric – from the toxic rhetoric of the “stop the boats” days, to the frankly unrealistic advocacy of open borders, there hasn’t so much been a conversation on this issue as there has been a shouting match.
Well, call me old fashioned, but in my opinion it’s impossible to resolve anything without resorting to that quaint political device we used to call “discussion”. For as long as people are simply shouting past each other, we can expect a future of wild swings between hard line and laissez faire policy, with some of the most vulnerable people in the entire world caught helplessly in the middle.
The militancy of all sides of politics on the issue of refugee policy has been deeply unhelpful. I think that our representatives have failed us on this front. So it’s up to the people to make up their own minds and, later this year, vote accordingly. In order to help with this, I’m gathering a panel of experts on the issue to have a discussion and take questions so that, at the very least, the electorate of Warringah can make up their own minds based on real information rather than partisan slogans. Phil Glendenning, President of the Refugee Council of Australia, will be speaking, as well as prominent human rights lawyer Claire Hammerton and others.
If you’d like to come along to this free event, we’re holding it at the Seaforth Anglican Community Hall, 3 Frenchs Forest Road, Seaforth, at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday the 31st of March.
Register for your free ticket here.
We really look forward to seeing you at what is sure to prove an interesting and informative discussion.