February 24, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 6.30pm @ The Multicultural Hub, 506 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne 300 (map)
Refugee Action Collective Victoria is proud to host a public forum to challenge the anti-people smuggling rhetoric dominant in Australian politics.
Seeking asylum by boat is not a crime. However, those who assist asylum seekers to reach Australia’s shores via informal travel arrangements have been systematically demonised by both Labor and Liberal parties. This is backed up by mandatory sentencing laws for anyone found to have participated in people smuggling. Hundreds of poor Indonesian fishers, including dozens of minors, have been jailed for the mandatory 3 years in Australia. The criminalisation of people smuggling, combined with the militarisation of Australia’s borders and the impounding and destruction of boats intercepted, is what makes the boat journey to Australia so needlessly dangerous.
This important Refugee Action Collective forum comes at a time when there is growing concern over the treatment of people smugglers. Ten judges have now expressed their concerns out over mandatory sentencing and a bill introduced by The Greens to end mandatory sentencing of Indonesian crew has been referred to a Senate committee and will likely come back to Parliament in late March.
Arnold Zable – Award-winning writer and refugee advocate
Sarah Hanson-Young – Federal Greens Senator
A lawyer for Indonesian fishermen
Peter Farrago – Refugee Action Collective member and former people-smuggling
Nockie Le – Vietnamese refugee
For more information contact Liz Walsh mob 0405 736 265 or email@example.com