Live Wire for Refugees 24hr speak out at Federation Square starting 12pm Sat Aug 31

12pm Sat Aug 31 – 12 pm Sun Aug 31 – Federation Square

We encourage people to come in person, but you can watch live on the web here 



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LIVE WIRE FOR REFUGEES: A 24 hour non-stop community speak-out for refugee rights
St Paul’s Court, Federation Square, Melbourne
Noon to noon: Sat Aug 31 – Sun Sept 1st

This event commits to reclaiming the conversation around asylum seekers in the lead-up to the September 7 federal election, and it’s going to do it All Night Long.

The PNG ‘solution’ and Australia’s current policy direction on refugees contravenes the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention. Nowhere does the Convention allow for the “outsourcing” of obligations to protect and settle asylum seekers, nor does it allow for discrimination on the basis of arrival methods. This Refugee Convention was drafted as a response to the displacement of millions of people by World War Two and the refusal of many nations to take in Jewish refugees escaping the Holocaust. It’s designed to ensure that vulnerable people, escaping persecution, are not turned away. Australia ratified this convention in 1954: now both major Australian political parties seek to effectively defy it.


Rudd’s PNG ‘solution’, backed by Tony Abbott, is the logical conclusion of the ‘Pacific Solution’ begun by the Howard government. It is no solution for refugees.


Not to be outdone by Rudd’s rightward lurch, Tony Abbott has leapt to new heights of both cruelty and absurdity. Declaring that the 30,000 asylum seekers already in Australia will not get permanent protection, and planning to waste money buying Indonesian boats – it would be more practical, cheaper and humane, to put UNCHR recognised refugees in Indonesia on planes to be resettled in Australia.


The race to the bottom between Rudd and Abbott on refugees has mobilised thousands of refugee supporters around the country, but in the eyes of much of the country (and the world) this opposition has gone largely unseen. So, we need to get talking.
We will be demonstrating the breadth of support for a fair go for asylum seekers, and putting the case to the community that processing and resettling asylum seekers in Australia, with the right to work, would be both cheaper and more humane – a better outcome for all of us.



WHAT: We’re going to brave the frosty Melbourne elements to bring a little warmth back into the refugee debate.


WHEN: Noon Saturday 31 August until 12 noon Sun 1st Sept.


WHERE: St Paul’s Court, Federation Square.


Confirmed speakers and performers include
Father Bob MacGuire
David Manne – Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre
Pamel Curr – Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
Michelle O’Neill – Textile, Clothing & Footwear Union
Jeannie Rea – National Tertiary Education Union
Joffa Corfe – AFL personality
Rebecca Eckard – Refugee Council of Australia
Penelope Swales – Musician
Alex Bhatal – Greens candidate for Batman
Misha Coleman –  Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce
Kate Borland – Public Housing Advocate / Independent
Tinpan Orange – Musician
Margarita Windisch – Socialist Alliance
Harry Angus – Musician (Cat Empire)
Lil Leonie Lionheart – Musician
Citrus Jam – Musician
Plus …. Amnesty International, 3ZZZ, Queering the Air 3CR, Melbourne Spoken Word, Western Region Ethnic Communities Council, Refugee Radio 3CR, Chilout, I am a boat person, Friends of the Earth, Rural Australians for Refugees (Philip Island), Doctors for Refugees, RISE
Supporters sending written, or recorded messages of support:
Adam Bandt – Greens
Australian Education Union
Anna Funder – Award winning author
Wendy Bacon – Professor, UTS
Denis Altman – Emiretus Professor, La Trobe University
Linda Batholomei – UNSW Centre for Refugee Research