The 2016 Allan Martin Public Lecture was delivered by Professor Joy Damousi. Professor Damousi's lecture: Child Refugees and Australian Internationalism: Past, Present, Future is now available through the ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences SoundCloud account.
The issue of child refugees is a timely, relevant and highly significant one. The treatment and experience of child refugees continues to be an ongoing concern and the focus of national and international debates.
Australia has played a major role internationally in offering humanitarian assistance to child refugees over several decades. This lecture will considered Australia’s participation on this issue through an analysis of the history of assisting, accepting or rejecting child refugees and the institutions and organisations that have played a role in these processes. This knowledge is pertinent as it enables an exploration of the veracity of the general perception that Australians today are more enlightened with respect to humanitarian issues regarding child refugees than those of the past. An analysis of past histories can contextualise and inform current policies and practices and allow us to examine Australia’s current international role on refugee and migration issues more broadly.
Allan Martin (1926-2002) was an intellectual, institutional, and social pioneer whose career as a historian spanned the second half of the 20th Century. When most Australians went to England for their postgraduate work, he chose ANU, where he was the first doctoral student in History in the Research School of Social Sciences. He accepted the Foundation chair in History at LaTrobe University in 1966 and returned to RSSS as a senior fellow in 1973.