Speaker: Dr Jordana Silverstein
6.30pm, Wednesday 1 November, 2023
RSSS Bldg. Ellery Cres. ANU
Concern for the welfare of child refugees has been put forward by Australian governments as the reason for increasingly harsh policies. In 2001, the Howard government claimed that refugees had thrown their children overboard in an attempt to enter Australia. This was shown to be a lie. But it was used as an excuse for sending refugees to offshore prisons on Manus Island and Nauru – including children.
Later, the deaths at sea of children and their families was used as the reason for adopting even more punitive policies such as banning those who come by boat from ever settling in Australia and for turning back boats.
The physical and psychological health of thousands of children has been badly damaged by Australia’s refugee policies. Numerous professional medical reports as well as leaked ‘incident reports’ from these detention centres have illustrated the massive harm done to children kept in them for years. In many cases, these have included suicide attempts.
‘Caring’ for children has become the excuse for harming them.
This public meeting features Dr Jordana Silverstein, who has just published Cruel Care: A History of Children at Our Borders. The book details the history of Australia’s refugee policies as they have been applied to children.
Dr Silverstein is a senior research fellow at the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness at the University of Melbourne. She is also the author of Anxious Histories and co-editor of Refugee Journeys. Her criticism and essays appear widely in Australian publications.