ARTS NONFICTION AWARD GOES TO REFUGE AUSTRALIA
book that documents the history of Australia's response to refugees has
been awarded the 2004 Human Rights Arts Non-Fiction Award.
Refuge Australia, written
by Klaus Neumann, an author, historian and senior research fellow
at the Institute of Social Research at Swinburne University of Technology,
provides fresh insights that illuminate the social and political forces
that have shaped Australia's refugee policy.
The judges described Refuge Australia as a highly
readable account of Australia's long history of debate about refugees
and asylum seekers. Drawing together thousands of personal stories of
refugees seeking refuge in Australia between 1930 and 1970 and original
government documents, the book describes Australia's ambivalent attitude
to refugees in a cool, clear tone.
"In so doing, Klaus Neumann doesn't prejudge the issues.
Rather, he allows readers to arrive at their own conclusions. Refuge
Australia does, however, leave the reader with a sense of optimism
and the idea that change is possible.
In the midst of widespread community debate about Australia's
current treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, Refuge Australia provides
an important historical context in which to examine these issues. It's
also a great read."
Four other books were shortlisted:
- Lives in Limbo; Michael Leach & Fethi Mansouri
- Little Black Bastard; Noel Tovey
- Quarterly Essay 13: Sending them Home - Refugees and the new politics
of indifference; Robert Manne with David Corlett
- Learning to Trust; Paul Sendziuk
updated 14 December 2004.