Issue 8 - 3 September 2012 enews home

Symposium to explore refugees, terrorism and the future


By Patrick Nelson


Dr Catherine Koerner ... "Entitled to seek safety any way possible"

Charles Darwin University's The Northern Institute will tackle some of Australia's more vexed social and political issues when it hosts an asylum seeker symposium in Darwin this week.

Speakers will discuss terrorism, refugees and some of the myths that frame public discussion in Australia about "boat people", detention centres and "jumping the queue".

Research Fellow in Social Policy Dr Catherine Koerner said the "All in the Same Boat" symposium would provide Territorians with a rare opportunity to hear several leading academics present some of their latest research.

"There is some fascinating research in this area that we'd like to infuse into public debate, which largely has consisted of opinion and some fallacy," Dr Koerner said.

"Many people are of the view that people who arrive in Australia by boat are committing some sort of crime, but the reality is that if you are in genuine fear of being killed you are entitled to seek safety any way possible."

Emeritus Professor Riaz Hassan, an expert in suicide bombings, will present his latest international research and explain how it might inform Australian detention centre policy in relation to protecting the nation against acts of terrorism.

Associate Professor Jane Haggis will present "When does a refugee stop being a refugee?" in which she examines the relationship between asylum seekers/refugees and the people, such as volunteers and community workers, who assist them to settle.

Other presenters are Jeswynn Yogaratnam from the NT Council for Human Rights Education, and Senator Trish Crossin, who sat on the Senate Inquiry into Immigration Detention Centres. Several former asylum seekers, who are now Territory residents, also will share their stories.

Dr Koerner said members of the public were welcome to attend and share their views but advised that it was essential to RSVP by today [Monday 3 September] via The Northern Institute's website: www.cdu.edu.au/the-northern-institute

All in the Same Boat will take place in the Museum and Art Gallery of the NT Theatrette in Fannie Bay this Friday 7 September from 8.30am – 4pm.