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Breaking The Deadlock - Creating solutions for refugees

15 August 2017
6.30pm – 8.00pm AEST
Sydney Opera House
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Breaking The Deadlock - Creating solutions for refugees

Join us for an evening of positive discussion about fresh approaches to Australia’s refugee policies, hosted at the Sydney Opera House by the Kaldor Centre and the UNSW Grand Challenge on Refugees & Migrants.

Australia is in a bind about refugees and asylum seekers. Although the scale of our challenge is small compared to many other countries, it sparks intense political heat.

Principles clash with political expediency. Some voters are satisfied that boats are being turned back. Some are ashamed about the conditions of our offshore processing centres. Many believe that discussion is futile. Well-worn assumptions have closed off thinking about urgently needed new approaches.

Can we break the deadlock? How can we offer protection to those who seek refuge in our region? 

This conversation with Paris Aristotle AO, Professor Gillian Triggs, Professor Guy S. Goodwin-Gill and Huy Truong will consider what a just, lawful and humane approach to refugees could look like.

“Australia may try to shift people and responsibilities, but when it comes to international law, Australia can run, but it can't hide.” – Professor Guy S. Goodwin-Gill


Paris Aristotle AO is the CEO of the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Inc (Foundation House). He has over 25 years’ experience in supporting refugees and asylum seekers, particularly through the provision of services to survivors of torture and trauma. Throughout this period, Paris has worked closely with UNHCR in the field of refugee resettlement and served on a wide range of state and federal government bodies advising on refugee and asylum seeker policy, and multicultural affairs. In 2012, he was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers. He currently chairs two federal government councils, the Settlement Services Advisory Council (SSAC) and the Minister’s Council on Asylum Seekers and Detention (MCASD). He is also an executive member of the Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (FASSTT). In 2002, Paris was made a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003 was awarded an Australian Centenary Medal. In November 2016, Paris was named the 2017 Victorian Australian of the Year.

Guy S. Goodwin Gill is Professor of Law at UNSW and Acting Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. He is also Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford and Emeritus Professor of International Refugee Law of the University of Oxford, and practises as a barrister from Blackstone Chambers in London. He has held academic appointments in the United Kingdom, Canada and the Netherlands, and has been a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, and the European University Institute in Florence. He has published widely in the areas of international refugee law, human rights law and humanitarian law, child soldiers, and free and fair elections. Professor Goodwin-Gill is a Patron of Asylum Aid in the United Kingdom, was the President of Refugee & Migrant Justice (London) for 13 years, President of the Media Appeals Board of Kosovo from 2000–03, and the Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Refugee Law (1988–2001). Between 1976–88, he worked for UNHCR in various roles, including as Senior Legal Research Officer, Legal Adviser (Europe and North America Bureau), Deputy Chief Resettlement, and Legal Adviser (Australia and New Zealand). He obtained his BA (Honours), MA and doctorate from the University of Oxford.

Emeritus Professor Gillian Triggs is the former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, having served in that role from 2012–17.  She was Dean of the Faculty of Law and Challis Professor of International Law at the University of Sydney from 2007–12 and Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law from 2005–07.  She is a former Barrister with Seven Wentworth Chambers and a Governor of the College of Law.  Professor Triggs combined an academic career with international commercial legal practice and worked with governments and international organizations on offshore insurers, World Trade Organization law and human rights.   She graduated in Law from the University of Melbourne in 1968 and gained her PhD there in 1982.

Huy Truong came to Australia by boat in 1978 as a Vietnamese refugee. He has since developed a diverse business career as a management consultant, venture capitalist, corporate executive and entrepreneur. He is currently CEO and co-owner of the ALI Group and a Founding Director of Thrive Refugee Enterprise. He was a pioneer of the Australia e-commerce industry, founding which was subsequently sold to Qantas. Huy was recognized as the Australian Financial Review Ecommerce Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000. Huy also founded the private equity fund, Yarra Capital Partners, and was formerly CEO of Jurlique International, CEO of Carter Holt Harvey Tissue, and a consultant with Boston Consulting Group. Huy holds an Economic (Hons) degree from Monash University and a MBA from Harvard Business School. He has a particular interest in entrepreneurship, refugees and more broadly contributing back to Australia.

Presented by UNSW Sydney Grand Challenges Program and the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. 


Breaking The Deadlock - Creating solutions for refugees