A revealing behind-the-scenes account of how Australia's asylum seeker policy moved from humanity to inhumanity.

ASYLUM BY BOAT Origins of Australia's Refugee Policy, an important just released book by Dr Claire Higgins, an historian and a senior research associate at the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW (UNSW Press).

"In the late 1970s, 2000 Vietnamese arrived in Australia by boat, fleeing persecution.  Their arrival presented a challenge to politicians, but the way the Fraser government handled it, and the resettlement of tens of thousands more Indochinese refugees, marked a turning point in Australia's immigration history.  Turn-backs and detention were proposed, and rejected.  ...........................................

It's about how governments and policy-makers have dealt with the confluence of issues emerging from the end of the "White Australia" policy, a recognition of international responsibilities, and shifting public opinion.  Strikingly, it also shows the extent to which the attitudes and statements of politicians and policy-makers can shape the mood of the country, for better or worse.  


Letter writing action: In the last week we have heard heartfelt speeches in Parliament from Russell Broadbent and Cathy McGowan on refugees.  We have seen George Brandis rebuke Pauline Hanson for her stunt in Parliament. 
Write and commend Russell Broadbent, Cathy McGowan and George Brandis for their speeches.  Letters will go out from GADRC NSW but send individual letters as well. State that you are a GADRC member, we need to let our representatives know that we are out there and what we are thinking. Our Parliamentarians need to be recognised when they speak out and say the right thing so let's get writing. Written & mailed letters have more impact than emails. 

Addresses: Mr Russell Broadbent MP., P.O. Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT  2600.

Senator the Hon. George Brandis QC, P.O. Box 6100 , Senate, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600.


Ms Cathy McGowan AO., MP, P.O. Box 6022 House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Asylum seekers on Manus, Nauru should be resettled in Australia, Liberal MP Russell Broadbent says. Full speech:http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-16/asylum-seekers-should-be-resettled-in-australia-liberal-mp-says/8814

Cathy McGowan 17th August.    Cathy McGowan, the MP for Indi, calls for federal action to address the conditions of refugees in Australia’s detention centre on Manus Island on Papua New Guinea, as services are withdrawn ahead of its closure. ‘My office is flooded with letters, phone calls, calls of the heart [from her constituents]’. The Guardian 17th August.