Refugee Film Festival 17 & 18 June, State Library Sydney

Sydney Screenings

The Refugee Council are delighted that State Library of NSW are involved in Refugee Week 2017 through the Refugee Week Film Festival.

  • Dates: 17-18 June 2017
  • Venue: State Library of New South Wales, Macquarie Street, Sydney

Festival Program:

  • Saturday 17 June 2017, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm – The Land Between
  • Saturday 17 June 2017, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm – The Staging Post
  • Sunday 18 June 2017, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm – In Proceedure
  • Sunday 18 June 2017, 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm – Life Is Waiting
  • Sunday 18 June 2017, 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm – Constance on the edge

Grandmothers speak out on Australian Values

Lately we’ve heard a lot about ‘supposed’ Australian values from Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton.  Theirs is not a message of tolerance and multiculturalism but a deliberate incitement to fear people with different customs, different skin colour, different religions -who already live here or who seek safety in Australia. As well, Peter Dutton demonises refugees by implying they are paedophiles.  

As an alternative to Turnbull’s Australian values, Grandmothers propose Grandmothers’ Values.  We taught these values to our own children and our grandkids. Let me share a few with you:

Respect Human Rights, the value of caring and compassion for the vulnerable. 

Respect for all people, regardless of where they came from. 

It’s never OK to bully and dehumanise others.  

Every child and every person has the right to live in safety free of fear, and the right to seek asylum.  

We teach our grandkids to always tell the truth, not to lie.  

It’s not OK for our kids, our grandkids, or anyone to accept such behaviour. Grandmothers are calling it out right now, today, that lying for political advantage cannot be tolerated. These camps must be closed and refugees brought here.  We demand that this systematic abuse in our name must end.

As Grandmothers and Friends, we will not stop until there is freedom and safety for all refugee children held by or on behalf of the Australian government.  


Mums4 Refugees heartfelt speech at the SNAP ACTION Thursday 27 April, 2017 hosted by Refugee Action Coalition Sydney

Speech by Veronica, a convenor at Mums4Refugees who arrived in Australia as a Cambodian refugee.  "Boats were involved".  

My name is Veronica. I am a Convenor at Mums4Refugees, and I was a Cambodian refugee. Boats were involved, but don't tell anyone; it's a secret. 


Why was I a refugee? Because decades ago in Cambodia, nationalism and ignorance won. The Khmer Rouge worshipped the idea of the racially pure farmer Cambodian, free of the corruption of science or higher education, and set out to destroy anyone who failed to live up to their standards. Teachers, doctors, lawyers, students. Anyone mixed race. My too-light skin colour was a death sentence. Over two million people died over four years. Seventy of them were my family.

Now, I'm here with you as an Australian citizen. I'm safe. My children are safe. My new family is safe. How did this happen? Because of people like you, standing here today. Community support. Australia took me in. Australia gave me an education and a chance to contribute. People like all of you welcomed me and were patient with my fears and my struggles to adjust. People like you gave me a voice and taught me my values. The value of human rights. The value of respect for the law and for true justice. Australia taught me the two are not always the same thing. Australia taught me the value of the fair go, and never to count the underdog out too soon.

But if genocide of over two million Cambodians happened today instead, Dutton would not want someone like me here. How ironic that he might resettle me back in Cambodia, and throw $55 million at Cambodian PM Hun Sen, a former Khmer Rouge commander himself, to accept me. Or he'd leave me languishing in offshore detention for years without end, and laugh and say and I quote "time doesn't mean anything when you're about to have water lapping at your door." Too extreme? I don't think so, when Dutton has openly admitted to and defended deporting Syrians assessed as legitimate refugees back into an active war zone. 

Unlike the Australians that welcomed me, Dutton would suggest I was illiterate, or innumerate. He'd accuse me of stealing Australian jobs, or living on Australian welfare. If he found out I'm a actually small business owner employing five other people, it wouldn't stop him from calling my Australian-born children, my grandchildren or my great grandchildren "second and third generation migrants" as he did with the Australian Lebanese community. If he saw the old war time scars on my body, he might say I did it myself to blackmail Australia into accepting me, as he did after the horrific tragedies of Omid and Hodan, or accuse my parents of doing it, as he did with baby Asha's family. 

And when he's caught out lying, as he did about the Good Friday attacks on Manus Island, like a petulant child blaming an imaginary friend he says someone else has given him this secret briefing on what really happened, someone senior on the ground in PNG. Who? What information? Will he release the CCTV? It's classified. Do the PNG police who responded to the attack agree? The Manus police commander maybe? The navy commanders and personnel on the base where it happened? Local PNG government, who make no secret they want the detention centre gone? No, no one knows what he's on about, it's all a big secret between Dutton and his imaginary friend. It's frightening to think that this man was once a serving police officer. It's an embarrassment to the Australian police force that their former colleague has no respect for the law, be it Australian or international. If he did, he would understand the concept of innocent until proven guilty, instead of recklessly accusing people of paedophilia, for the act of giving a hungry boy some fruit. He would respect the judgement of the PNG Supreme Court, that declared the Manus Island detention centre constitutionally illegal and ruled it must be closed. He would show the PNG Constabulary some respect instead of publicly declaring he knew more than they did. If this former police officer had any respect for either Australian or international laws, he would quit calling refugees illegals. He'd know that even the Australian Parliament House website quotes RCOA in saying "It is not a crime to enter Australia without authorisation for the purpose of seeking asylum. Asylum seekers do not break any Australian laws simply by arriving on boats or without authorisation. Article 31 of the Refugee Convention clearly states that refugees should not be penalised for arriving without valid travel documents."

You see unlike the wonderful community that welcomes people like me here, Dutton's no true Australian. He might not even be a true member of the Liberal Party, and that is bloody saying something. Turnbull's impotence is obvious as his Immigration Minister trashes former Australian Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser. Former Liberal leader John Hewson is publicly calling Dutton's BS. As Dutton goes the full-Trump and starts crying fake news, complaining about Fairfax or the ABC, even conservatives like Steve Price, Andrew Bolt and the Herald Sun are calling for Dutton to show us the evidence or apologise, and for Turnbull to step him down. And Turnbull must do it! If Prime Minister Turnbull has not sold his soul to the wilful ignorance and frightened intolerance of the far right, then now is the time to show it. Malcolm, if you're listening, give us something to respect! End this ridiculous farce, this horribly unAustralian punishment of people who've done nothing but need our help, this internationally condemned shame that is offshore detention, and sack Peter Dutton. 





City2Surf Early Bird Registration by 10 May

Grandmother Ingrid keeps us updated on the SUNDAY 13 AUGUST 2017 event

Early Bird Registration is now open for the City to Surf!


If you register before or on 10 May, your bib will be send to you free of charge. If you register after that, you have to pay $7.95, if you want it sent to you. There is also the option of collecting the bib at the CityFit expo in Darling Harbour between 10-12 August.

We have not registered as a team (more expensive), so just click "not a team entry". Also choose the Back of the Pack Orange Start Group. 

Another tip: just type in your birth date. If you use the calendar, you'd still be clicking back half a day later (assuming you are as old as me...). Oh yes, and just scroll through all the stuff they want to sell you. A bit tedious, I know.

If you have any problems with the registration, please let me know. 

And stop eating Easter eggs and get moving - just talking to myself... Ingrid

'I Had To Do Something. I Couldn't Do Nothing!': Citizen Action In Support Of Asylum Seekers In Australia, 2001-2006. Grandmother Diane Gosden's PhD Thesis

Here we are in 2017 and, in Diane's words today -
"There was a different social and political environment then, but the constant that remains is still the suffering of asylum seekers and refugees and the motivations of their supporters. The thesis is written in very academic language, but it may be interesting to dip into chapters such as the one on motivation called 'Motivation for Action - 'Something was crook!' (p. 117) or 'The Refugee Movement - A trajectory of struggle' (p. 271), or the Post-Script: Commentary on events since late 2006 (p. 357)"

You'll find a link to Diane's thesis in our Resources section, under the Reading heading.