Victoria: Border Politics Film Night

Border Politics – an Australian documentary which follows Human Rights lawyer Julian Burnside as he examines attitudes to refugees and human migration patterns worldwide – will be screened in Shepparton on evening of Thursday 18 July. Julian Burnside will be present for a Q and A session.

Film Synopsis:

BORDER POLITICS follows human rights barrister Julian Burnside as he traverses the globe examining the harsh treatment meted out to refugees by most Western democracies. This contemporary story is about the threat to human rights, the loss of democratic values and our increasingly heartless treatment of ‘the other’. Seventy years after the world constructed international conventions to ensure the horrors of World War 2 wouldn’t be repeated, Burnside finds it terrifying to see Australian and other western political leaders exploiting fears around border protection to extend political power.

Burnside defines humanity with the universally recognized Golden Rule – Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You as a benchmark. He questions whether the West has lost its moral compass by adopting ideas that reject humanity and undermine democracy. He concludes this erosion of human rights poses a threat to the very democratic values that define Western society.

In this documentary Julian Burnside traverses the globe to see how other Western countries treat refugees. Some of his findings are quite surprising.

In New York, he attends the UN meeting on refugees where the world’s leaders are gathered, at great expense, to find a solution to the greatest refugee crisis since World War 2. But he finds the West is unwilling to resettle just one million of the 22.5 million refugees currently displaced. He travels to Britain to speak with a champion of unaccompanied minors, Lord Dubs, who was instrumental in bringing an amendment to the British Immigration Act which allowed unaccompanied refugee children into Britain. The amendment was repealed after just six months.

He compares the attitudes of Scotland, France, Germany and Greece to demonstrate the role political leadership plays in humanitarian practices in these communities. Visiting hot spots of Zaatari Camp in Jordan, Lesbos in Greece and the Mexican border he talks with leaders, community members and international commentators questioning whether the West has lost its moral compass. Burnside argues that political leadership and vision in Western countries makes a profound difference to public perception. He suggests that there is a growing disparity between government and the community in the matter of humanitarian treatment of refugees. Governments increasingly talk up xenophobic fears, falsely labelling refugees as economic migrants, illegals and terrorists. And they are increasingly using refugees as scapegoats in the race by politicians to curb our civil liberties and erode our human rights.

He challenges the audience to consider their human rights obligations towards the desperate needs of refugees and to force their governments to take a more humane approach.

About Julian Burnside:

Burnside studied law and economics at Monash University and practises principally in commercial litigation, trade practices and administrative law. Burnside has undertaken a great deal of pro bono legal work on a range of human rights related issues. He has acted in many high-profile cases including against the Australian Government over the Tampa refugee affair and against the SA Government over their conduct regarding the Stolen Generation.

He has been a recipient of many honours including the Human Rights Law Award, the Australian Peace Prize, the Sydney Peace Prize, which recognises leading global peacemakers, and has been elected a National Living Treasure.

Julian Burnside: Quote, Unquote

On 19 April 1984, we adopted a new national anthem. The second verse includes the words:

For those who’ve come across the seas We’ve boundless plains to share

I think we meant it in 1984. Do we mean it now?

Event Details:

When: Friday, July 26, 2019 – 19:00
Where: 226 Kooyong Road, Toorak, Victoria 3142
Cost: Donation ($15 to cover costs)
Pizza: will be available from 6.30 pm.
A contribution of $15 is invited to cover expenses.
For more information, contact Delia Paul.