Students broach refugee subject with Premier

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

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.