Rock the Boat for Asylum Seekers

asylum seekers

The state of politics in Australia at the moment is a bit of a shambles. An embarrassment. With Tony Abbott’s seemingly interminable misogynistic outbursts, Kevin Rudd ousting the woman who had replaced him, (now ex) candidate Stephanie Banister mistaking Islam for a country and Jaymes Diaz’s impressive knowledge of Liberal’s six point plan, the country is currently a laughing-stock. Something that definitely isn’t funny though is the mistreatment of people arriving by boat. Despite whatever rhetoric politicians throw at you in their soundbites, asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat aren’t doing anything illegal, nor are they immigrants.

The UN Refugee Convention (to which Australia is a signatory) recognises that refugees have a right to enter a country in order to seek asylum, regardless of how they get there or whether they have valid travel or identity documents. The Convention says that what would usually be considered illegal (like entering a country without a visa) shouldn’t be treated as illegal if a person is seeking asylum. So it’s wrong to refer to asylum seekers who arrive without visas as “illegal”, as they in fact have a right to enter Australia to seek asylum.

In Melbourne, people are making their voices heard about this with ROCK THE BOAT, which is a reaction about the mistreatment of people arriving by boat. There’s a benefit git on Thursday, August 22 at the Northcote Social Club with proceeds going to Greens MP, Adam Bandt’s election campaign and The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Greens Member for Melbourne, Bandt said, “People in my electorate are passionate about caring for refugees. It’s great to see music-lovers and some of Melbourne’s most talented musicians motivated enough to speak up in support of asylum seekers. I’m honoured that they’re raising money for my campaign and pleased they’re supporting the ASRC. As a long-time fan of Snout and admirer of Wally De Backer, I’m also looking forward to a great night of live music.”

rock2Wally De Backer, of course, is better known as Gotye and is also is one-third of The Basics. The band will play live and the night will also feature a reformation of 90’s outfit, Snout, MC and producer Joelistics and Even, performing as a duo. The shindig will be hosted by Alan Brough, of Spicks & Specks fame, who will interview Bandt live then and there.

If you would like to get involved then head along to the gig and be one of at least 284 people in attendance (that’s 1 for every 30 asylum seekers held in detention as of 31 May 2013). The benefit hopes to raise at least $10,000, so if you can’t make the show on Thursday, August 22 at the Northcote Social Club you can still donate at the event’s website.

For more information about the gig or if you would like to donate, see the Rock the Boat website or Facebook. Or simply grab a ticket here.



Words by Carol Bowditch and Bobby Townsend.