Articles on Immigration

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Refugees fled the Crusades. This is a detail from St Dominic and the Albigenses by Pedro Berruguete. Flickr/derechoaleer

Why lessons from the past can help us understand the refugee debate

Given the often hysterical media coverage of the refugee debate you could be forgiven for thinking that people seeking refuge in other countries is a new phenomenon. Not so. Refugees have been around since…
Australians don’t know enough about Indonesia to judge its farming practices. AFP/Sonny Tumbelaka

Why being a better neighbour could ease our biggest political problems

We need to learn more about the countries we are exporting livestock to, or swapping refugees with. Two recent publicly-funded television documentaries have revealed just how little most Australians know…
Thousands of Brits moved to Australia for the thrill of a more glamorous life. But many struggled. Flickr/MarkFaviellPhotos

A moving history: how personal stories illuminate the past

Published biographies, and indeed many histories, are often about the famous, rich or powerful. And most often, they’re about men. I’ve preferred to research and write about so-called “ordinary” men and…
Go Back To Where You Came From participants prepare to go on patrol in Baghdad with the US military. AFP PHOTO/ HO/ 2011 CORDELL JIGSAW/SBS

SBS preaching to the converted on refugees

SBS’ recent three-part series Go Back to Where You Came From is, simply, a manipulative piece of media spin calculated to redress the balance of a media spun too far towards racist insularity. The intentions…
Are talkback radio hosts or Julia Gillard leading debate in areas like immigration and the mining tax? AAP

Immigration: does government or the media decide Australia’s policy?

The release of figures today showing a dramatic fall in immigration numbers prompts the question of whether certain sections of the media are influencing government policy. Are Australian politicians allowing…
Refugees await processing on Christmas Island. Academics, charities and other refugee advocates have condemned a plan by the Australian government to send asylum seekers to Malaysia. AAP

Academics and activists condemn Malaysia refugee deal in open letter

A conference of academic experts on asylum seekers has published an open letter calling on the United Nations to condemn…
Participants in “Go back to where you came from” had their attitudes towards refugees challenged. SBS: Go back to where you came from

Go back to where you came from: Reality TV encounters the refugee crisis

Tonight, during World Refugee Week, SBS One premieres Go Back to Where You Came From. Over three nights the series plunges six Australian participants into the intense fear and desperation of the refugee/asylum…
Ancient Athens practically invented Western culture, but xenophobia led to the collapse of the Empire. Flickr/SantiMB

A lesson in immigration policy from the cradle of democracy

Those debating Australia’s future, and its immigration policy would do well to consider a lesson from the past. Anybody can establish a successful state, the real difficulty is maintaining its success…
The government says it’s on track to release all children asylum seekers in detention soon, but other policies need to be changed urgently. Flickr/Takver

Australia’s wake up call from the UN: Yes, we’re a racist country

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights says Australia is racist. And she’s right. Racial discrimination in Australia is not idiosyncratic; it is enshrined in laws, policies and practices…
Australia needs professional migrants to fill skills gaps. AAP/David Crosling

Australia not about to turn its back on immigration

Australia has been a nation of immigrants since 1788. It has always sought additions to its population to increase its prosperity and economic strength. But two recent controversies have distracted us…

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