History, Headlines and the Law: What's shaping refugee policy in Australia? | Law

History, Headlines and the Law: What's shaping refugee policy in Australia?

Event date: 
2 November 2017
6:00pm to 7:30pm
Venue: 
Wotton + Kearney Level 26 85 Castlereagh Street Sydney, NSW 2000
Speaker: 
Dr Claire Higgins, Ben Doherty, Prof. Guy S Goodwin-Gill, Heidi Nash-Smith
Enquiries: 
lawalumni@unsw.edu.au

How has Australia moved from a humanitarian approach to asylum seekers – and is there a way back?

How is public opinion influenced by the actions and attitudes of politicians and the media?

What impact can international law and the legal profession have?

Join us on 2 November as UNSW Law Alumni’s Look who’s talking series presents a fascinating discussion with:

Moderator: Dean of UNSW Law Professor George Williams AO

As leaders around the world balance populist pressure against an unprecedented number of refugees, our panel takes a closer look at the history of Australia’s asylum policy, and how it has been shaped by governments, law, and ever-changing public opinion. 

Our panel of experts will explore what is needed for Australia to return to a humanitarian approach, and what impact the legal profession can have on improving policy and protecting the rights of asylum seekers.

Q&A and networking drinks and canapés will follow the panel discussion.

Panellists Bios:

Guy S Goodwin-Gill

Guy is Professor of Law at UNSW and Acting Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. He is also Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford and Emeritus Professor of International Refugee Law of the University of Oxford, and practises as a barrister from Blackstone Chambers in London. He has held academic appointments in the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands, and has been a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, and the European University Institute in Florence. He has published widely in the areas of international refugee law, human rights law and humanitarian law, child soldiers, and free and fair elections. Professor Goodwin-Gill is a Patron of Asylum Aid in the United Kingdom, was the President of Refugee & Migrant Justice (London) for 13 years, President of the Media Appeals Board of Kosovo from 2000–03, and the Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Refugee Law (1988–2001). Between 1976–88, he worked for UNHCR in various roles, including as Senior Legal Research Officer, Legal Adviser (Europe and North America Bureau), Deputy Chief Resettlement, and Legal Adviser (Australia and New Zealand). He obtained his BA (Honours), MA and doctorate from the University of Oxford.

Claire Higgins

Claire is a Senior Research Associate at the Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. Claire is a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar, and previously completed doctoral study in History as a Clarendon Scholar at Merton College, the University of Oxford, writing on the development of Australian refugee policy. At the Kaldor Centre Claire’s research concerns refugee status determination in historical context, and alternative policies for processing asylum seekers. Her research on protected entry procedures has received funding under the Margaret George Award at the National Archives of Australia, a Travelling Fellowship from the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Australian European University Institute Fellowship Association Inc. She is the author of Asylum By Boat: Origins of Australia’s refugee policy (NewSouth).

Ben Doherty

Ben is a correspondent, photographer, and video journalist, currently working as immigration correspondent for The Guardian, based in the Sydney newsroom. He was formerly Southeast Asia Correspondent for The Guardian, and South Asia Correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald. He has reported from more than 20 countries across Asia, the Pacific and Africa. He has won three Walkley Awards, Australia's highest journalism honour, most recently in 2016 for a feature on the systemic - and ultimately fatal - flaws in Australia’s immigration detention regime, and in 2013 for an investigation into Bangladeshi sweatshop labour conditions. He was 2008 Australian Young Print Journalist of the Year, and has been awarded three United Nations Association media peace prizes. He holds a Master of International Law and International Relations from UNSW, and in 2015, was a visiting fellow with the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. His dissertation, 'Call Me Illegal', examined the semantics of asylum: the language used to describe asylum seekers in political and media debates, and its impact on public opinion.

Heidi Nash-Smith

Heidi leads Wotton + Kearney’s pro bono and corporate social responsibility program, “Community Footprint” and is a passionate advocate of pro bono and community advocacy.

Heidi was admitted as a solicitor in the UK in 2005. and joined Wotton + Kearney in 2010. Heidi’s practice was originally focused on professional indemnity and Directors and Officers claims with a core area of expertise in financial services litigation, she was promoted to the partnership in July 2014.

In addition to her busy practice, Heidi was central to establishing the Community Footprint program in 2012, and has worked tirelessly to shape the firm’s community initiatives since this time. In 2016, Heidi stepped away from her busy insurance practice to focus her time on a sustainable pro bono program for the firm.

The pro bono aspect of Community Footprint enables our lawyers to utilise their legal expertise to help address some of the many unmet legal needs in Australia.  Through our partnerships with organisations like JusticeConnect, LawRight, the Refugee Advice & Casework Service and Refugee Legal, our lawyers participate in a wide variety of pro bono matters and assist many vulnerable members of our community.

History, Headlines and the Law: What's shaping refugee policy in Australia?