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All at sea: Comparative perspectives on turning back boats

1 March 2017
6.30pm – 8.00pm AEDT
Allens Linklaters, Level 28, Deutsche Bank Place, 126 Phillip Street, Sydney
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All at sea: Comparative perspectives on turning back boats

Hosted by the Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, UNSW and Macquarie University

The movement of asylum seekers and migrants by boat has seized attention across the world. In Australia and elsewhere, governments have enacted policies to intercept and turn back asylum seekers at sea. What do we know (and not know) about these policies, and what are the legal and practical implications of turning back boats? This panel discusses the law, policy and practice of turning back boats in Europe, the United States and Australia.

The event was chaired by Professor Natalie Klein, Dean at Macquarie Law School.

Audio from this event is available via iTunes.


Dr Daniel Ghezelbash is a Lecturer at Macquarie Law School where he teaches courses in administrative law, human rights, refugee law and social justice advocacy. Daniel's research focuses on comparative refugee and immigration law, with a particular interest in the diffusion of restrictive asylum seeker policies across jurisdictions. This is the subject of his forthcoming book, Refuge Lost: Asylum Law in an Interdependent World, which examines the spread of mandatory detention, maritime interdiction and offshore processing policies from the United States to Australia and beyond. His latest research project compares the implementation of international search and rescue law in the context of the response to asylum seeker vessels in Australia and Europe (with Professor Natalie Klein (MQ), Professor Brian Opeskin (UTS) and Dr Violeta Moreno-Lax (Queen Mary)). He has spent time as a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School, Brooklyn Law School and New York Law School. He operates a pro bono refugee law practice and is the founder and Director of the Macquarie University Social Justice Clinic. He is also a Special Counsel at the National Justice Project.

Rear Admiral James Goldrick AO, CSC RAN (Retired) joined the Royal Australian Navy as a 15 year old Cadet Midshipman in 1974 and completed his full time service in the RAN in 2012. He completed a BA at UNSW in Kensington and graduated from the RAN College at the end of 1978. In addition to sea service as a junior officer around the world in units of the RAN and the Royal Navy, he commanded HMA Ships Cessnock and Sydney (twice), the Australian naval task group and the multinational maritime interception force in the Persian Gulf, the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) (twice – 2003-2006 and 2011-2012), Australia’s inter-agency Border Protection Command (2006-2008) and the Australian Defence College (2008-2011). He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of NSW at Canberra (ADFA) and in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University, as well as a Professorial Fellow of the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources (ANCORS) at the University of Wollongong. He was a visiting fellow at All Souls College, Oxford University in 2015. He is a member of Australia’s Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal and of the Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal. He was a member of the Minister’s Expert Panel supporting the development of the 2016 Australian Defence White Paper. In addition to his BA (UNSW), he holds an MLitt from the University of New England. He was awarded a Doctorate of Letters (honoris causa) by the UNSW in 2006. His books include: No Easy Answers: The Development of the Navies of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and Before Jutland: The Naval War in Northern European Waters August 1914-February 1915, and, with Jack McCaffrie, Navies of South-East Asia: A Comparative Study. He has edited or contributed to more than 30 other volumes of naval history and maritime strategy, as well as to academic and professional journals, such as the British Naval Review, the US Naval Institute Proceedings and IHS Navy International. He is currently working on After Jutland: The War in Northern European Waters June 1916-November 1918.

Dr Violeta Moreno-Lax is Lecturer in Law, inaugural Director (2014-16) and co-founder of the LLM in Immigration Law programme, and inaugural Co-Director (2014-16) and co-founder of the Centre for European and International Legal Affairs (CEILA) at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). She is also EU Asylum Law Coordinator at the Refugee Law Initiative of the University of London, Co-Chair of The Refugee Law Observatory, Convener of the Society of Legal Scholars (SLS) Migration Law Section, as well as member of the Steering Committee of the Migration Law Network. Since January 2016, she is part of the Editorial Board of the European Journal of Migration and Law. And since March 2016, she is a Fellow of the High Education Academy. She regularly collaborates with JMCEMigrants, the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on Migrants’ Rights in the Mediterranean coordinated by L’Orientale University of Naples, and the ODYSSEUS Academic Network for Legal Studies on Immigration and Asylum in Europe, especially through the OMNIA project (2015-18), with both of which she has concluded an institutional partnership on behalf of Queen Mary. She has published widely in the areas of international and European refugee and migration law and acted as expert consultant for the EU institutions and other organisations active in the field. Her monograph, Accessing Asylum Europe: Extraterritorial Border Controls and Refugee Rights Under EU Law, is forthcoming with OUP.

Frances Voon is Executive Manager at the Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. She joined the Kaldor Centre in 2015 from the UNHCR Policy Development and Evaluation Service in Geneva. Frances has worked for several years in refugee operations in Bangladesh, Jordan and South Sudan. She completed a Masters in Development Studies at the University of Oxford as a John Monash Scholar, where her research addressed policy and assistance for self-settled refugees in protracted situations. She was Tipstaff to Justice John Basten at the Supreme Court of New South Wales and is admitted to legal practice. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New South Wales.