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Human rights the order of the night at ACU Voice


VoiceRefugee BODY(L-R) Father Frank Brennan, Professor Linda Briskman, Professor Thomas Martin, John Menadue, Geraldine Doogue and Dr Deborah Zion

There are more than 5,700 asylum seekers and refugees in immigration detention centres across Australia, more than two thirds of whom have been in detention for at least six months.

The plight of refugees and their status in Australia was discussed in a heated debate at the latest ACU Voice event, held at The Australian Museum in Sydney on 29 March.

Presenting to a full house, keynote speaker Professor Deborah Zion addressed the ethical issues surrounding refugees and how we should respond from a human rights perspective. 

Drawing on her research and personal experience working in detention centres, Dr Zion presented an interesting humanitarian perspective. 

Asserting that Australia should be doing more to help refugees, she left the audience with a challenge based on a quote from Holocaust scholar, Yehuda Bauer: “Do not be a perpetrator, do not be a victim and above all, do not be a bystander.” 

The expert panel - consisting of ACU’s Father Frank Brennan, Board Director of the Centre of Policy Development John Menadue, and Swinburne University of Technology’s Professor Linda Briskman - brought their own unique views to the discussion. 

Led by award-winning journalist Geraldine Doogue, the audience challenged the panel with questions ranging from their thoughts on the Malaysia solution, to whether not destroying asylum seeker boats upon arrival in Australia would result in more seaworthy boats being sent. 

The next ACU Voice event on Ethics and Euthanasia will be held on June 20,,2012, at the Australian Museum.

With a panel including Dr Philip Nitschke, the event is set to be a thought-provoking exploration of the ethics around ending life. 

More information will be available soon at the ACU Voice website.

ACU Voice is a free public speaker series that examines a range of topical issues through a guest lecture and expert panel discussion format. 

Held quarterly, the series is designed to encourage public debate: with the audience invited to engage the expert panel in the form of a Q&A session.