“Boat People” Symposium

Saturday 15 October 1995
Murdoch University


Dr Ien Ang
Centre Director

Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am very pleased to see you all here for our Symposium entitled "The Limits of Tolerance and Refuge". This is interesting because I have actually requested the term "Boat People" precisely because one of the reasons for that is because the term "Boat People" has become very common in the media and the way people speak about refugees, or a particular group of refugees, but at the same time of course it is a very problematic term. There are about 24 million refugees worldwide and the numbers are increasing and they are scattered throughout many parts of the world and only a very small number are actually in this country. But there is a general reluctance, it seems, to welcome these people to offer the refuge they seek.So despite Australia's celebration of this International Year for Tolerance there are clearly some limits put to the tolerance that we are supposed to have for our other human beings.

Acceptance is generally not extended to those who are called "Asylum Seekers" or another term often used is "Illegal Aliens" or even more objectifying "Boat People".

So today we will discuss Australia's treatment of refugees and especially Asian refugees in media, law, politics and culture and without further ado I would like to give the word to Sir Ronald Wilson, former Chancellor of Murdoch University and President of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and I am very pleased to welcome Sir Ronald here because he has actually been our inspiration to organise this event.

Thank you Sir Ronald.

CRCC | New: 24 March 1996 | Now: 27 February, 2015