‘We don’t want to give away how you hack the system’: An Emotional History of the Department of Immigration and Child Refugees (Video Available)

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Online via Zoom

More Information

social-equity@unimelb.edu.au


Speaker: Dr Jordy Silverstein

Part of the Migration, Refugees and Statelessness Seminar Series, presented in partnership with the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness.

There are many ways in which we can write a history of Australian child refugee policy-making: this seminar will present one. By looking at three different senior public servants who have worked in the Department of Immigration – John Menadue, Wayne Gibbons and Mike Pezzullo – this seminar explores what we can learn about the place of child refugees in Australian policy history.

Based on oral history interviews and archival research, this seminar examines Menadue, Gibbons, and Pezzullo’s words and ideas about child refugee policy, thinking through the impact of settler-colonialism – of a racialised population control, of border control, and of ‘white saviours’ – on their policy ideas and rationales.

Dr Jordy Silverstein is an Honorary Fellow in SHAPS at the University of Melbourne, and will be commencing as a Senior Research Fellow at the Peter McMullin Centre on Stateless at the beginning of July. She is the author of Anxious Histories: Narrating the Holocaust in Jewish Communities at the Beginning of the Twenty-First Century (Berghahn, 2015) and co-editor of Refugee Journeys: Histories of Resettlement, Representation and Resistance (ANU Press, 2021). Her research explores the history of Australian child refugee policy and policy-making processes from 1970 to the present, focusing on the ways that ideas, discourses and practices of care and control have come to be preeminent.