Rural Australians for Refugees conference to discuss movement aims

Arif Hussein is one of the keynote speaker at the RAR conference. Photo: Refugee Advice and Casework Service

Many refugee rights activists view Labor’s recent election win differently to how the movement did when it won in 2007. Back then a “problem solved” attitude took hold, only to fade as Labor revived mandatory and offshore detention.

Now there is more wariness and an understanding that Labor’s support for detention and boat turn-backs means people’s right to seek asylum is still to be won.

Addressing how to do that will be central to the discussions at the Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR) national conference, the first since 2018, in Katooma, New South Wales from September 16–18.

Connecting for Change will bring together the organisation’s 70 member groups from regional Australia. Many are active among refugees and advocacy groups throughout the country.

Arif Hussein, senior supervising solicitor at the Refugee Advice and Casework Service is one of the featured speakers. The opening evening panel includes advocate Craig Foster, Biloela resident Angela Fredericks and former Afghanistan refugee Muzafar Ali.

There will be four sets of workshops to hear from refugees and campaigners, and to develop policy changes and action plans. Other panels will present movement voices and discuss how RAR advances its aims. The conference aims to develop a RAR action plan.

The last four years under the federal Coalition have been difficult. However, campaigners’ perseverance has been important in influencing parties' policies and we have many reasons to grow the movement.

[More information on the RAR conference can be found at Rural Australians for Refugees. Tickets are available here. Jonathan Strauss is the RAR national secretary.]