On Friday July 30th, Kath and I had the overwhelming pleasure of interviewing Alison Battisson, who is the Director for pro-bono legal firm Human Rights 4 All. We had heard Alison speak last year on Australia's treatment of refugee asylum seekers, Stateless people seeking asylum and people in arbitrary indefinite detention without legal right to representation (yes, unlike any other developed nation). We, for too long, had placed this in our 'too hard basket', but like all injustices in our world, once you see and hear about the issues, it becomes too difficult to ignore.
About change-maker Alison and Human Rights 4 All.
Alison is one of those unique human beings who is willing to walk between the known and unknown and bridge solutions to protracted and difficult problems, because she fundamentally believes it's possible! Her depth of knowledge and experience answers so many questions and strengthens the feeling of 'agency' we can have in this area.
In her own words, the purpose for establishing HR4A is to hopefully create systems and jurisdictions where Australia does not have arbitrary indefinite detention, i.e, to make HR4A obsolete!
We hope this interview can be a starting point for a deeper, empathetic conversation. Too many of our important issues have become entirely politicised, fear driven public discourse has made it difficult to enter conversations objectively. Alison speaks on the overall structures and policies that are perpetuating, rather than transforming the problem. This is by no means a 'blame game', change will not occur unless we are all able to take shared responsibility for the things that have meaning in our lives, but as we delved deeper into Australia's treatment of asylum seekers we realised how successive political parties have turned refugees into prisoners and weapons for their own political advantage, and in a democratic country, you and I can change that.
Your link to the zoom interview
https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/RNnUDUrgBWbvX5_cEQn87IezBxKcCPWvpIXVwbGTPzFQKgB0qHx_wnU5fXt_SWeo.6Gel-CgNGY_UDxHQ Passcode: W3T+6r4d
'Lived experience' - Daniel and Sultan
We had the priviledge and pain of hearing from Daniel and Sultan, both Alison's clients, Daniel joined us from detention, where he struggles against a system that is designed for failure. We must continue to humanise the situation by drawing upon those who have lived (and living) experience. We know that it is community action and empathy that is helping the Biloela family - so by listening deeply to each case we know that we can do better.
A word of adivce from Alison to (young) change-makers
Alison has some of the best advice we have ever heard for change-makers, particularly young ones, especially drawn to such difficult areas - she encourages young ones to take time and get some life experience, Alison started in corporate law, lived and worked around the word, cut her teeth by learning from big institutions, politics, immersing herself is a variety of different cultures and narratives and then came to the world of human rights. One of her best pieces of advice - "Give up the shouldn'ts - the world just is...work for what you want to see'.
Building our understanding of the unseen and unknown
We so hope that you share this recording far and wide, contact HR4A if you would like to make a contribution to their work. We also had Helen Esmond join us and has recommended a link from the Rural Australian's for Refugees group- with a guide to letter writing. We are passionate about keeping this conversation and action going, so keep in touch for future events from us.
Once again - the link is here. Big Love. Kim and Kath