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World Refugee Day

World Refugee Day 2008

Andrew Bartlett and A Nun's New Habit

During his last month as a Senator in June 2008, Queensland based Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett delivers a lecture about Australia, asylum seekers, refugees and the Migration Act, and we celebrate the tens of thousands of ordinary Australians, and amongst them in particular the catholic nuns, who became a massive wall of quiet protest during the years since Tampa in the Documentary A Nun's New Habit.

Image: A World Refugee Day poster for 2007 from the website of The British Council in Brussels

Andrew Bartlett and A Nun's New Habit

A 2008 World Refugee Day event

Launched by the Mayor of Fremantle
Peter Tagliaferri

Saturday 21 June 2008

Senator Andrew Bartlett

Refugee Policy Under Rudd: Fortress Australia for the 21st Century?

A lecture about Australia, asylum seekers,
refugees and the Migration Act

Robyn Hughan's documentary: A Nun's New Habit

FTI Cinema, 92 Adelaide Street, Fremantle WA
6:45pm for 7:00pm start | entry by generous donation


16 June 2008: 2008 World Refugee Day: Who'll keep the bastards honest now? - This page contains media reportage surrounding Project SafeCom's 2008 World Refugee Day movie event at the Fremantle Film and TV Institute, and it begins with an Opinion Editorial by Queensland Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett.

What's on this page

This is the page about our 2008 World Refugee Day event at the Fremantle FTI Cinema, with the documentary 'A Nun's New Habit' and a lecture titled "Refugee Policy Under Rudd: Fortress Australia for the 21st Century?" by Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett.

Here are quick links to the sections:

The event blurb

Andrew Bartlett and A Nun's New Habit

Andrew Bartlett

Andrew Bartlett

During his last month as a Senator in June 2008, Queensland based Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett delivers a lecture about Australia, asylum seekers, refugees and the Migration Act; and we celebrate the tens of thousands of ordinary Australians, and amongst them in particular the catholic nuns, who became a massive wall of quiet protest during the years since Tampa in the Documentary A Nun's New Habit.

Andrew Bartlett's gigantic commitment to human rights and social justice issues during his 11 years as a Senator could well be labelled "more impressive than any other member of Parliament".

Since he became a Senator for Queensland in 1997, Bartlett spoke out and spoke up about the dreadful way Australia deals with refugees no less than 273 times. During the Howard years he moved many motions in The Senate, and with success: motions that were supported by both the Greens and Labor. He was Parliament's most frequent visitor to Australia's refugee jails, and the only one who visited the isolated Nauru camp no less than 3 times.

In his lecture, Andrew reviews the work that's been done and he looks at the change of government and its implications. In his own words:

"While there has been some change in the mood of the current government, there is still much more to be done. The community and politics campaigns for fairness and equality must continue. A key place to start would be to totally overhaul our Migration Act, which is an unworkable and unnecessarily complex and cumbersome piece of legislation." (more below)

A Nun's New Habit

Sister Carmel

This remarkable short documentary portrait of Sister Carmel Wauchope from Whyalla is not in any way a soapy sketch of someone dedicated to two "R's": religion and refugees. It is a story of someone, just like thousands of other ordinary Australians, who developed a fiery, feisty and determined habit following the Tampa period and the ghastly treatment of asylum seekers during the period of the Woomera and Baxter detention centres.

A Nun's New Habit makes you both smile and feel proud of being an ordinary Australian. It is a dedication to the Rural Australians for Refugees' advocates as well as to the many others around Australia, who did not - did never - relent from their determination to express their fierce stand of taking a "Not In My Name" position when it came to the treatment of refugees during the Howard years.

End of Senate time

June 20 is World Refugee Day, and following on from suggestions by the Australian Refugee Council, it now has become part of Australian Refugee Week. June 2008 is also significant for another important reason: the last week of June also sees the last session for the Senate as elected in 2004. The next sitting of the Senate will be in July - when the new Senators chosen at the November 2007 election will take their places. Consequently, June will also be 'the last lap' in the Senate for Senator Andrew Bartlett. Even while Senator Bartlett will be busy during this period, he has offered to come all the way from Brisbane to Western Australia to be the keynote speaker for our event.

So come and celebrate his years of work in the Senate, hear his final lecture as a Senator, and bring back some of the credit he deserves for the relentless commitment he has given to The Senate, to human rights policies and to changing Australia's draconian refugee policy during the Howard years.

92 Adelaide Street: map

If you have never been to the Fremantle Film and TV Institute on Adelaide Street, click on the button below to open a pop-up window and a Google map.

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John Howard is gone, and with him went a serious denial of rights and dignity, even designed vilification of refugees and displaced people who "dared" to come to Australia uninvited. Has Australia now changed? Is it all over now?

Refugee Policy Under Rudd: Fortress Australia for the 21st Century?

A lecture about Australia, asylum seekers, refugees and the Migration Act

2008 World Refugee Day Lecture
21 June 2008
by Andrew Bartlett

Senator for Queensland, 1997-2008
Deputy Leader, The Australian Democrats

The Democrats have had a long and illustrious record over the last 30 years of advocating on behalf of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants and I am proud to have contributed significantly to it. No issue has consumed more of my time and focus in the Senate over the last ten and a half years.

There are many important lessons from our recent and past history with regards to migration and refugees that we all need to learn from so that the errors and injustices of the past decade do not reoccur.

While there has been some change in the mood of the current government, there is still much more to be done. The community and politics campaigns for fairness and equality must continue. A key place to start would be to totally overhaul our Migration Act, which is an unworkable and unnecessarily complex and cumbersome piece of legislation. Over the last few years in an attempt to provide a roadmap, I introduced close to 20 Private Senator's Bills on migration seeking to remove and amend a range of different injustices, inefficiencies and inequities in the Migration Act.

"The government deliberately creates dysfunctional members of our community - at our expense."

"The government has created a twisting labyrinth of cruelty and faceless bureaucratic dispassion that is so heartless and so lacking in any reason that Franz Kafka would not have dared to have conjured it up. Despite the lives destroyed, the vast resources squandered and the children's futures that have been stolen, our government has the audacity to call their "strategy" a success." (go to source)

About Andrew Bartlett

Andrew Bartlett is Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats and a Senator for Queensland. He is the party's national spokesperson on Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Defence, Veterans' Affairs, Children and Youth Affairs, Animal Welfare and Environment and Heritage. He has been in the Senate since 1997 and held many positions within the Democrats prior to that time.

Andrew has degrees in Social Work and Arts from the University of Qld. He has a long involvement in community organisations, including 10 years on the Executive of the Qld Tenants' Union, as well as groups like Community Aid Abroad/Oxfam and Animal Liberation.

Andrew has been an active Senate participant, regularly raising social security, refugee and migration issues, including his 1999 initiation of a Senate inquiry into the refugee determination process.

Andrew Bartlett's website

The movie: A Nun's New Habit

A Nun's New Habit

ABC Goulburn Murray
Arts and Entertainment
Posted March 14, 2008 15:28:00

Documentary maker Robyn Hughan

The plight of refugees in Australian detention centres is back in the spotlight in Benalla, in north east Victoria.

Image: Robyn Hughan in the ABC Wodonga studios (Narelle Graham, ABC)

Benalla's Rural Australians for Refugees are the first group to screen the documentary A Nun's new Habit.

The film was written, directed and co-produced by Robyn Hughan from Tatong, near Benalla.

A Nun's New Habit follows the story of Sister Carmel Wauchope who lives in Whyalla, not far from the recently closed Baxter detention centre.

Sister Carmel talks about the hardships faced by refugees who were detained in Baxter. She says the ongoing psychological damage and trauma the refugees suffer after their release is arguably just as profound.

Robyn met Sister Carmel on a road trip to Baxter in 2004. She was considering making a film about the refugee situation but was unsure what approach to take.

After an initial interview, Robyn thought Sister Carmel should be part of the film. After living and shooting with her, Robyn decided sister Carmel should be the film's main focus.

Robyn was interviewed on ABC Shepparton and ABC Goulburn Murray breakfast programs during the week on March 11 -14.

The movie flyer

A Nun's New Habit: Refugee film opens hearts

Tatong Tattler, April 2008
Pages 16, 19, 20
by Kevin Smith, "Riverview", Tatong

(also in the Benalla Ensign April 9 2008)

A truthfully daring documentary, compelling to watch, and guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of the most hardened of hearts

On Friday March 14 2008 at 8pm a special Preview Screening of "A Nun's New Habit" was held at the Benalla Performing Arts Centre. This event was sponsored by the Rural Australians for Refugees (Benalla Group).

Preceding the main screening of "A Nun's New Habit" an ABC Arts segment highlighting the artistic merits of refugee, Shafiq Monis, was shown.

"A Nun's New Habit" is a film written and directed by a local Tatong identity, Robyn Hughan, daughter of Keith and the late Fran Hughan.

Robyn first became aware of the plight of Refugees in Australia when she was involved as a Researcher/ Producer Attachment for the SBS series "Tales from A Suitcase", the Afghani experience. Whilst travelling to the Baxter Detention Centre in South Australia she met a Nun called Sister Carmel, SGS who was to have a lasting impression on her life. She decided to showcase and illustrate the plight of the refugees by telling the life story of Sister Carmel and her involvement in the Refugee Story.

Sister Carmel is a member of the Religious Congregation of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan. This Congregation was begun when Bishop Bede Polding saw the terrible suffering, wretchedness, sexual vulnerability, despair, and hopelessness of many of the female convicts transported to Colonial Australia. He requested the formation of a Congregation dedicated to helping the outcast and down trodden. The Sisters would use as their Patron the Biblical Good Samaritan. The story of The Good Samaritan highlights those in Society who could have assisted a fellow human being but chose not to due to social status or perceived circumstance but assistance was given by one who himself was an outcast and shunned by Society but who was able to identify what the core values and principles were and to act accordingly.

The Documentary" A Nun's New Habit" highlights the interaction and love, the religious tolerance and compassion of a human person to another human person, cutting through all those layers of ego, distrust, religious fundamentalism and cultural hatred. It showcases a filial outreaching to others in need and the identification of needs and problems that are common and shared by all peoples, not just specific nationalities.

The Documentary was frank and hard hitting, shocking and sad but also full of life and vitality, laughter and love. It illustrated that sometimes small things can be big things, even if we are unaware of the implications at the time, and that love conquers all. Of special interest in the Documentary is the use of religious art and iconography from our local St. Patrick's Church, Rothesay at Riverview, Tatong.

Following the screening of the Documentary a Panel Discussion took place. The Panel consisted of Robyn Hughan (Filmmaker), Sisters Brigid Arthur and Catherine Kelly (Brigidine Sisters) Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project, Melbourne, Frank Purcell (Interfaith Councilor, Shepparton) and two Afghani Refugees Daouwold and Saied. Following questions and discussion from the floor the beautiful evening came to a close. The Chairman for the evening was Robyn's partner Steve Warne (Documentary Manager, Film Victoria.)

"A Nun's New Habit" has left a lasting legacy and challenge. It is inspiring and confronting, inviting us to accept our fraternal responsibilities, permeate our lives with core values of love, respect and tolerance.

This review is online available as a PDF File in two parts, at this location and also here.

Andrew Bartlett at work:

27 February 2008: The Senate debates Australia's 'Excision Zone' - There's no reason in 2008 for anyone in Labor to argue that the issue of John Howard's extraordinary excision zone 'has not been discussed'. When the former government pushed through changes to that exclusion zone for refugees in 2005, Labor supported a Disallowance motion put by Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett.

15 March 2004: The Democrats and refugees, 1977-2002 - "For twenty-five years the Australian Democrats have adhered to our core principles of social justice and human rights. We have fought for human rights on many levels including working on individual asylum seeker cases, opposing cutbacks to the rights of refugees and fighting for legislation, which would ensure a fair outcome..."

26 November 2003: Andrew Bartlett's October 2003 SIEV X Senate Motion - Speech in the Senate accompanying the Motion of Condolance for the victims of SIEVX. "...that the Senate ... calls on the Commonwealth Government to immediately establish a comprehensive, independent judicial inquiry into all aspects of the People Smuggling Disruption Program..."

24 November 2003: The Melville Island incident: Australia's New Low - UNHCR regional representative Michel Gaubadan called it "a new low" for Australian refugee treatment. Fourteen Kurdish asylum seekers sought refuge in Australia. In an extraordinary move the Howard government retrospectively excised thousands of islands, including Melville Island - but Senator Andrew Bartlett intervenes.

Event sponsors

Our previous Refugee Day Events

Project SafeCom's 2007 World Refugee Day event17 July 2007: Project SafeCom's 2007 World Refugee Day readings - This week's Fremantle Herald, a major Project SafeCom sponsor, features major coverage of Project SafeCom's World Refugee Day event as part of its wraparound for World Refugee Day. This page reproduces the entire section, including articles by our speakers for the event who came from The Greens, the ALP, and from Melbourne. Perth Community Television (CTV) filmed the event, and the 15-minute documentary is included on this page.

22 June 2007: World Refugee Day 2007: Why the Boats Must Come - A movie evening set to become one of our biggest ever events, with UN Lawyer Melissa Parke, Carmen Lawrence, Melbourne advocate Jessie Taylor, and the movie We Will Be Remembered for This, featuring Malcolm Fraser and Julian Burnside about Baxter and Australia.

26 October 2006: Out of Sight, Out of Mind: 2006 Refugee Week - KULCHA & Project SafeCom would like to invite you to a special event being held in conjunction with Refugee Week, joining the national Refugee Week celebrations by hosting a visual arts exhibition Out of Sight, Out of Mind, by Adam Janali Ozala. Ozala is a Hazara refugee from Afghanistan. For three and a half years he waited in detention centres for his claim for asylum to be approved. Unable to communicate to the outside world...

10 August 2006: World Refugee Day 2006: reports and pictures - World Refugee Day 2006 has passed us, and we look back at a spirited event at Kulcha Multicultural Arts of WA, with our guest Pamela Curr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne.

20 June 2006: - Did the Cornelia Rau saga change refugee treatment? - For our event at Kulcha Multicultural Arts WA, Melbourne advocate Pamela Curr, the person who "found" her in the Baxter detention centre, asks whether the light which the Cornelia Rau case shone into the detention regime will make a difference to the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia.

18 June 2005: World Refugee Day Events in Fremantle - In collaboration with Amnesty International Australia and the Refugee Rights Action Network, we created a day for the entire family with 'Daybreak in Detention' and 'The Field of Hearts Project'. Come along and show your hearts and minds!

16 October 2005: Photos of our Fremantle World Refugee Day 2005 - During World Refugee Day weekend in 2005, we again had our stall and the Cage in a Daybreak in Detention event with Amnesty outside the Fremantle Markets in Fremantle. Here are the photos.

Another Country :::RAFFLE::: 21 June 2004: 2004 World Refugee Day Raffle: Another Country, Sydney PEN's Refugee Anthology - Sydney PEN's anthology of refugee writing, Another Country, was launched by Australian actor Claudia Karvan on May 16 2004 at Gleebooks. Just one hundred copies of the Special Edition, signed by Rosie Scott and Tom Keneally, were issued, and we have one of FOUR for you. Page is still worth looking at, even while it closed on 30 June 2004: it includes a Sydney Morning Herald editorial and a good article by Sharon Verghis about the book.

19 June 2004: World Refugee Day: Forcing the Deportation Issue - A short introduction to the movie documentary at the Fremantle Film and TV Institute by Project SafeCom's Jack H Smit on the World Refugee Day 2004 weekend.

Organised by Project SafeCom in collaboration with Oxfam and Amnesty International Perth19 June 2004: Three World Refugee Day 2004 events: a time of action for the entire family - For World Refugee Day 2004 we have combined forces with Amnesty International and Oxfam Community Aid Abroad for a great family day of local action in Fremantle. The day features the Daybreak in Detention project, The Field of Hearts, theatre at Deckchair (Something to Declare) and concludes with the screening of the movie The Deported. Review the program and come see us!!!

20 June 2003: Project SafeCom's World Refugee Day 2003 comes to Bunbury - An event at Edith Cowan University's Bunbury Campus with two movies, including the clandestinely made Australia's Pacific Solution (BBC) and guest speakers, including local peace activist Liam Barry. In conjunction with BRAG, the Bunbury Refugee Action Group.

See the World Refugee Day Quiz!20 June 2003: Project SafeCom's 2003 World Refugee Day Aussie Tourist Quiz - On the occasion of 2003 World Refugee Day we developed The Aussie Tourist Quiz, a quiz designed for Australian politicians as well as overseas tourists. We designed this on-line Quiz for both Aussie tourists and Aussie politicians who could win prizes with the Quiz ... See the answers and the Quiz here!