Julian Burnside on asylum seekers in Australia

Julian BurnsideOn Sunday 1 November, the Outer Eastern Asylum Seeker Support Network will host prominent human rights activist Julian Burnside for a public forum to discuss issues around refugees and asylum seekers in an Australian context.

Supported by Lentara UnitingCare Asylum Seeker Project, the free event will include wide-ranging discussion and debate on Australia’s response to refugee and asylum seekers.

Uniting Church member and event organiser Jim Aylmer said as well as providing practical support, there is a need to combat misinformation around the realities of displaced people and the circumstances they face.

“We try to uphold those in need of support with fundraising and hands-on support,” Mr Aylmer said.

“And while there have been successes and some individuals have been granted citizenship, many stories do not always end happily.

“There is a pressing need to illuminate the realities around the asylum seeker issues.”

The Outer Eastern Asylum Seeker Support Network was established more than 14 years ago with the aim of providing advocacy for refugees and asylum seekers living legally in the Australian community.

Under the stewardship of Rev Graham McAnalley, the network has long provided a range of practical support as well hosting community forums and information sessions on the realities of refugees and asylum seekers.

The network is now partnered with Lentara UnitingCare Asylum Seeker Project.

“The enthusiasm of the early days which brought in an excellent cash flow has given way to a diminishing support base, a product of an aging population and ‘charity fatigue’,” Mr Aylmer said.

“The plight of asylum seekers continues to feature on our front pages almost daily, these issues aren’t going away.

“I would encourage anyone interested in the debate who wants to get in involved to come along.”

This is a free event and all are welcome.

The Asylum Seekers in Our Midst community forum will be held on 1 November 2015 from 3 –5pm at the High Street Road Uniting Church, 482 High Street Road Mount Waverley. For enquiries please call Jim Aylmer on 0400 789 543.

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