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  • CommunityConversations

    inHiggins

    Ourvalues,viewsandvisionforafairand

    humaneasylumprocess.

  • www.asrc.org.auPage1Gettingonthe#RightTrack

    #RightTrackReportBackinHiggins

    Asacaringpeoplewehaveaproudhistoryofdefendingwhatwebelievein.Ourvalues

    extendbeyondourpoliticsandthisiswhywerenotafraidtoholdourGovernmentsto

    accountwhenpoliciesareatoddswithoursenseoffairness,respectanddoingtherightthing

    byeachother.Westandupandwespeakout.

    ThereisagrowingdisquietinourcommunityaboutsuccessiveGovernmentstreatmentof

    peopleseekingasylum.Overtimewehaveseenmanypeople,includinghealthprofessionals,

    grandparents,mums,teachers,andyoungpeople,feelincreasinglyatoddswiththese

    policiesandspeakout.Corporationsareunderpressuretodivestfromdoingbusinessinthe

    detentionsystem.Communitiesarecomingtogethertosharetheirconcernandtakeaction;

    somethingverypowerfulishappeningonthegroundandyoucanfeeltheshift.

    Gettingonthe#RightTrackisuptous!

    Duringthenext12monthstheASRCs#RightTrackCampaignwillworkwithcommunitiesto

    elevatetheirvoices.Webelievethatwhenpeopleconnectwiththeirvaluesandtrusted

    voicesprovideaccurateinformation,thehumanimpactandfundamentalunfairnessofthese

    policiesbecomeobvious.Webelievethishasthepotentialtoshiftattitudesandprovidea

    powerfulspacefornewvoicestostandupandspeakoutaboutfairandhumanealternatives.

    #RightTrackisaboutbringingsupportersandpeoplewhowanttolearnmoretogether.When

    acommunityisawareandworkstogetherindefenceofwhatisfairandrightanythingis

    possible.

    #RightTrackinHiggins

    Forthelastcoupleofmonthswevehadtheprivilegeofworkingwiththefirstofthese

    communities,inwhatisthetraditionallyconservativefederalelectorateofHiggins.Wechose

    thiscommunitytodemonstratethattheGovernment'streatmentofpeopleseekingasylum

    cutsdeepintotheheartsofmanypeopleregardlessofhowtheyvote.Herewehave

    witnessedthepowerofacommunitycomingtogethertotalkandlearnmoreaboutthemost

    significantissuefacingpeoplewhoarrivedbyseaandarelivinginourcommunity.What

    followsarethefindingsoftheirconversationsontheGovernmentsrefugeedetermination

    processwhichhasunfairlychangedthewaypeoplescasesforasylumareassessedand

    wronglyputstheirsafetyatrisk.

  • www.asrc.org.auPage2Gettingonthe#RightTrack

    Injustoverthreeweeks23conversationswereheldwith184people,111(60%)livinginHiggins,28(15%)fromtheelectorateofKooyongandtheremaining25%fromotherneighbouringelectorates.

    Membersofthecommunitywereinvitedtofacilitate,hostorjoinaconversation.Facilitatorsreceivedinitialtrainingincludingaconversationscriptandrecordingsoftwopeople:Raj,amancurrentlyseekingasyluminourcommunity,andMelinda,animmigrationlawyer.Facilitatorswerematchedtoaconversationarrangedbyahost.16peopleplacedtheirtrustintheprocessandsigneduptobefacilitators,while22othersagreedtohostaconversationopeningtheirhomesandtheirheartstofamily,friendsandinsomecasesstrangers.

    OURVALUESBeforediscussingthetreatmentofpeopleseekingasylum,weneedtogroundourselvesinourvaluesandidentifywhichoftheseguideusinthewaywetreatoneanother.

    Followingarethemostcommonthemesthatemergedfromourconversations.

    Referencestoempathy,compassion,kindness,humanity,understandingandhavinganopenmindfeaturedmostheavilyintheconversationsasawhole.Peopleexpressedtheneedforustoactwithdecency,haveanappreciationofdifferenceandbecuriousaboutothersinordertounderstandtheirneeds.Helpingvulnerablepeoplewasalsoimportanttomany.

    Empathy&Care(cited52times)

    Respectingpeopledespitetheirdifferenceswasathemecommonlyraisedintheconversations,withthewordrespectbeingthemostfrequentlyrecordedvalueacrosstheconversationsasawhole.

    Respect&Dignity(cited28times)

    WHATWEDID

    Fairness&Equality(cited25times)

    Fairnesswithoutprejudicecapturesthisthemenicely,whichalsoincludesreferencestojusticeandconscience.Peoplecitedequalityofopportunityasvital,andastatementwasmadethatpeoplewhodontlooklikeusarestillpeople.

    Thiswasthetopsayingthroughouttheconversationswithdountoothersalsocited.Toquoteoneparticipant,weneedtorecognisepeopleasbrothersandsisters.

    Treatothersasyouwanttobetreated.

  • www.asrc.org.auPage3Gettingonthe#RightTrack

    Whenwelearnaboutsomeonesexperienceofseekingasyluminourcommunity,itbecomesobviousthatmanyofourGovernmentspoliciesareatoddswithourvalues.

    Inourconversations,welistenedtotwopeoplespeakaboutthehumanimpactofcurrentpolicies.

    First,Raj(nothisrealname),spokeabouthisexperience,hisfrustrationaboutwaitingforyearsbeforetheGovernmentwouldlethimapplyforasylum,andhisconcernforhisfuture.

    AfterlisteningtoRaj,harmfuleffects(cited29times)wasthetoptheme,includingtermssuchasfrustration,desperationandtrauma,concernsaboutworseningofmentalhealthandtheprocessretraumatisingpeople.Nextwasconfusion(cited26times),particularlythelackoflogicandtransparency(whydoesittakesolong?,evensympatheticpeoplehavenoideaitshappening).Anothertopthemewasunfairanduncertainprocess(cited22times),summarisedbycommentssuchasdeliberatelymadeasdifficultaspossibleandlimbo.Afundamentalviolationofthejudicialsystemwasaparticularlystrongstatementrecorded.

    Inallconversations,participantsvoicedconcernsthattheprocessdoesntsitwithourvalues,anddescribeditasdisrespectful,inhumane,illogical,complex,unfairandhypocritical.

    Thereweredifferencesofopinioninthreeconversations.Whilemostparticipantsthoughttheprocesswasatoddswiththeirvalues,asmallnumberofpeopleacknowledgedthisdisconnectbutthoughtthatweneededtomaintainalevelofdeterrence.Inonecase,someonequestionedRajsstorybecausehedidntsaywhyhehadlefthishomecountry.

    OURVIEWS

    Second,Melinda,animmigrationlawyer,outlinedthelegalprocessRajandothersinhissituationhavetogothrough.

    Inallconversationspeopleweredeeplyconcernedaboutthechangestothelegalprocessintermsofourvaluesandhumanity.Thetopthemethatemergedwasthatitsdeliberatelyunfair(cited37times).Inmanyconversationsitwasdescribedasdesignedtobedifficult,asamakebelieveprocess,deliberatelyunderhandedandsetupforpeopletofail.Othertopthemesincludeddiscriminatorypunishment(cited21times,fearisaweaponbeingusedandpeoplebeingdehumanised)andagainstourvalues(cited20times,shamesusasAustraliansandatbestwe'reincompetent;atworstit'smonstrous).

  • www.asrc.org.auPage4Gettingonthe#RightTrack

    Totrulyshiftattitudes,peopleneedtobelievethatchangeispossible,andthatwecancreateafairandhumaneprocessforpeopleseekingasylum.

    Afterhearingaboutthecurrentprocess,includingthetimepeoplehavespentwaitingtoapply,theconversationsturnedtodiscussingalternatives.

    Thetopalternativewastimelyprocessing,withpeopleaskingtheGovernmenttospeeduptheprocessandintroduceclearlydefinedprocessingtimes.Next,peoplewantedtheprocesstobefairandtransparent,providingthesametreatmentforthosecomingbyseaasairandcallingforarobustlegalsystemgivingpeopleameaningful

    OURVISION

    Attheendoftheconversations,peoplewereaskedwhattheywantedtheprocesstoinclude.

    Followingaretheirresponses:

    chanceformakingaclaimforasylum.Accesstoworkrights,familyreunionandpermanentprotectionformedthethirdmostcommonthemeofstablefuturesforpeople.Agreateremphasisonourresponsibilitytoworkwithneighbouringcountries,particularlyIndonesia,andlooktoothersforleadership,likeCanada,formedtheideasaroundaregional/globalframework.

  • www.asrc.org.auPage5Gettingonthe#RightTrack

    Whenaconnectionismadebetweenpeople,theirvalues,andthisissue,ithasthepotentialtoshiftattitudesandprovideapowerfulspacefornewvoicestostandupandspeakout.

    Asaresultofpeoplegaininganinsightintotheprocess,47%shiftedtheirviewstosupportfairandhumanealternatives,while52%werealreadyinsupport.Theremaining1%wereinfavourofmaintainingthecurrentprocess.

    GETTINGONTHE#RIGHTTRACK

    ThemajorityofpeopleinconversationssaidtheywouldconsiderthesethemeswhencastingtheirvoteonJuly2.

    Peopleoverwhelminglywanttoseetheirelectedrepresentativetakeleadershipandmovethisbeyondpolitics.Weneedbipartisanagreementtoacthumanely.

    Therehavebeenallbackgroundsandpolitical

    persuasionsheretonightbutweallagreeit'sunfair.

    Thereisagroupofvoters

    thatwantafairersystemfor

    peopleseekingasylum.

    Therewasaresoundingcommitmenttotakecollectiveactionattheendoftheconversations.Workingtogethertomakechangehappen(cited60times)wasthemostcommonkeytakeaway,followedbypromotingvalues(cited39times).

  • www.asrc.org.auPage6Gettingonthe#RightTrack

    Capturedherearethevalues,viewsandvisionofacommittedcommunity.Wewouldliketo

    acknowledgeallofthosewhohaveparticipated,particularlythosewhosevaluesweresoat

    oddswiththeunfairnessofthispolicythattheywerepreparedtobravelystepupandtakea

    leadrole.

    Whatyouhaveachievedispowerful,andanindicationofthepoweryouholdasacommunity

    tomakethischangehappen.

    ItiswithgreatpleasurewedeliverthesefindingstotheHigginscommunity.

    Haveconversationswithpeople

    youmeettellingthemaboutthe

    24,500groupandrefugeeissues.

    ASRCCommunityEngagementTeam,June2016

    Weneedtofostercommunity

    connectionsbetweendifferent

    groupsofpeopletowork

    togetherinsociety.Localneighbourhoodcouldact

    togetherasasupportgroupin

    streetwherehostandparticipants

    live.Gettoknowalocal

    person/familyseekingasylum

    hereandincludethemtobelong

    tostreetgroup.

    Weneedtospeakoutabout

    this.Weneedtomakepeople

    understand.Thisneedstobe

    exposedtothemedia.Lookat

    whoisactuallyourcommunity.

    Itisuptothoseofuswhocanvotetoputpoliticalpressureonthisissue.

    DatacompiledandanalysedbyateamledbyTessAltmanPhDCandidate,UniversityCollegeLondon

    Peopleexplicitlynamedtheactionstheywouldtake,including:

    usingmedia/publicitytogetpeoplesstoriestoldandgivethepublicaccurateinformation;helpingthesectorandcreatingpartnerships(workingwithchurches,schools,councilsetc);changin