Forum:  Compassionate Resettlement of Refugees     View the forum discussion here

In this discussion the speakers compare and contrast the way Australia and New Zealand have responded to people who have sought protection by exercising their right to seek asylum under the United Nations Convention on Refugees. The Forum was organised by Refugee Advocacy Network with the assistance of Amnesty International Australia, Academics for Refugees, Victorian Council of Churches, and hosted by St Paul’s Cathedral. 

In 2001, the infamous standoff now known as the Tampa Incident brought the attention of the world to Australia’s refusal to allow entry to 433 people seeking asylum, who had been rescued by the MV Tampa when their boat was sinking.  In stark contrast to Australia’s rejection, the New Zealand government provided immediate resettlement for the refugees rescued by the Tampa.  Others seeking protection in Australia were not so lucky.  The ‘Pacific Solution’ was scrambled together by the Howard Government and so began two decades of suffering under the much criticised ‘offshore processing’ regime. Since that time people who travelled by sea to seek asylum in Australia have suffered in appalling conditions in PNG and on Nauru, and continue to be refused permanent settlement here.  Thousands are still living with uncertain futures. 

Abbas Nazari – Bestselling author and speaker, Abbas Nazari, fled the Taliban in Afghanistan as a child, and was resettled in New Zealand after his family were rescued by the Tampa container ship in 2001, and shortly after were offered safe resettlement by New Zealand.  Now a New Zealand citizen, Abbas is Fulbright Scholar and author of the acclaimed book:  After the Tampa

Zaki Haidari is a tireless advocate for refugee rights, having himself fled Afghanistan and sought asylum in Australia as an unaccompanied teenager.  After nearly 10 years here in Australia, he is still on a temporary protection visa. Zaki has been a leader in the campaign for the resettlement of people from Afghanistan, especially since the return of the Taliban and the renewed oppression of the Hazara minority in Afghanistan.   Zaki has recently joined the team at Amnesty International Australia as a Refugee Rights Campaigner. 

Dr Claire Loughnan is a Lecturer in Criminology, at the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne and Co-convenor of Academics for Refugees.  Her research examines the expansion border control practices, and her book on the institutional effects of immigration detention is under contract with Routledge. She is currently exploring practices of ‘neglect’ as a tool in the externalisation of refugee policies.