Stu­dents broach refugee sub­ject with Premier

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Quick News - By SOPHIE GABRIELLE

A GROUP of Year 10 boys have met with Premier Colin Bar­nett and a high­rank­ing gov­ern­ment doc­tor to dis­cuss Aus­tralia’s treat­ment of refugees.

The five Christ Church Gram­mar School stu­dents are com­plet­ing the project for their pol­i­tics and law Global Per­spec­tives course, run by Cam­bridge Univer­sity.

Group mem­ber Tom Robins said the group vis­ited the Premier two weeks ago for a 30-minute talk on the is­sue.

Tom said Mr Bar­nett used the term “queue-jumpers” to de­scribe asy­lum seek­ers com­ing to Aus­tralia by boat but said he be­lieved it was im­por­tant to pro­vide refuge to peo­ple who need it.

“He did say that he doesn’t agree with keep­ing chil­dren in de­ten­tion,” Tom said.

Tom said the group had ex­panded their knowl­edge on the rea­sons peo­ple leave their coun­tries and the con­di­tions they en­dure in Aus­tralian de­ten­tion cen­tres.

“It ex­pands how you think about asy­lum seek­ers,” he said.

“We want to raise aware­ness of why they are com­ing here – for a bet­ter qual­ity of life. I think our sys­tem could be less ag­gres­sive.”

Another group mem­ber, Raj Paul, talked to a gov­ern­ment doc­tor who works with refugees in de­ten­tion cen­tres and would pre­fer not to be named.

Raj said the doc­tor painted a bleak pic­ture of the con­di­tions in de­ten­tion cen­tres.

“He fo­cused on the med­i­cal side of things in the cen­tres and what he had to say was very neg­a­tive,” he said.

“The size of the de­ten­tion cen­tres and the cramped con­di­tions were sur­pris­ing. Some peo­ple are born there and spend their en­tire lives there.”

The course, of­fered as a Year 10 elec­tive, is de­signed to de­velop the stu­dents’ abil­ity to think crit­i­cally about global is­sues where there is in­vari­ably more than one valid point of view.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the group’s Refugee Global Aware­ness or­gan­i­sa­tion, visit their web­site at of­fi­cial­rga.wix.com/of­fi­cial-rga, or the RGA Face­book page, or @of­fi­cial­rga on twit­ter.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d425781

L-R Alex Mullins, Tom Robins, An­drew Lester, Raj Paul and Jack Re­tal­lack met with Premier Colin Bar­nett to dis­cuss Aus­tralia’s poli­cies and treat­ment of refugees for a school project.

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