National Conference Migration 2016 Wrap-up
Brisbane Wednesday 16 November - Saturday 19 November
MIA 2016 National Conference Wrap-up
Wednesday 16 November - Saturday 19 November
The Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) National Conference commenced with Welcome Drinks at Ole Sangria Bar in Brisbane’s South Bank district, on Wednesday evening. The event was a great success and kicked off three days of information sharing and networking opportunities.
The Conference was opened by the MIA National President, Angela Julian-Armitage, with an address an address on the MIA's activities since the last Conference and an update on the migration advice profession.
On Thursday morning Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Alex Hawke MP, delivered the Conference key note address and outlined the government’s priority areas for the immigration portfolio in 2017 and beyond.
Former Queensland State Politician and the first Asian-Australian Queensland State Parliamentarian, Michael Choi, spoke about his time in parliament and what he saw as the advantages and disadvantages of immigration for Australia.
Michael Choi's speech was followed by a panel discussion 'Achieving social cohesion. How do we get there?', with panel members Mohammad Al-Khafaji, Anka Sahin, Blaise Itabelo, Dai Le, joining Michael Choi on stage.
The MIA was delighted that officials from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Office of the Migration Agents Registration attended this year’s conference.
The head of the OMARA, Mary-Jane Jones, facilitated a session updating delegates on changes to the profession. The MIA would like to extend its thanks to Mary-Jane and her team, who worked tirelessly to make the OMARA-DIBP sessions possible.
This year’s Gala Dinner was also a celebration of the Greek-Australian community. The MIA was fortunate to have the Honorary Consul of Greece, Mr Jim Raptis and his wife Helen, attend the event. There were also performances by Greek pop-star Kelly Kelekidou and The Hellenic Dancers of Brisbane.
The Gala Dinner also saw Christopher Paspaley, from the Paspaley Pearls, talk about his family’s story of rising from Greek refugees to Australian entrepreneurs. Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Zed Seselja, paid tribute to Australia’s multicultural program and also spoke about his family’s migration story. Senator Seselja presented the MIA Excellence Awards.
This year’s MIA Award winners were:
MIA Life Member: Ron Dick
Deidre Sheekey Award: Libby Hogarth
ANU Migration Law Program Award: National Association of Community Legal Centres
MIA Services Award: Jennifer Kwok
Outstanding Coverage of Migration in the Media Award: The Guardian Australia – The Nauru Files
Friday’s program saw Fair Work Ombudsman, Natalie James, take to the stage to discuss measures being taken by Fair Work Australia to combat migrant worker exploitation. This was particularly pertinent in light of the highly publicised and ongoing 7-Eleven franchises case.
Daniel Webb from the Human Rights’ Law Centre spoke later about the Centre’s inspiring work mounting a High Court of Australia case on behalf of 267 asylum seekers to allow them to stay in Australia. This case became a major part of the public ‘Let Them Stay’ movement, which saw a large number of Australians and organisations come out in support of these asylum seekers.
On Friday afternoon, Dr Anne Aly MP, Federal Member for Cowan, who has published five books on terrorism and de-radicalisation, addressed the Conference. Dr Aly spoke on making de-radicalisation programs work and how communities can be kept safe and socially cohesive.
The conference program concluded with a panel session with DIBP representatives. The panel session provided delegates with a DIBP strategic policy update on the direction of the immigration program and also discussed visa processing and program issues from a Queensland state perspective.
The final event of the National Conference was drinks held in the historic Brisbane City Town Hall building. The event was kindly hosted by the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Graham Quirk. This final event was a great networking occasion and gave delegates the opportunity to reflect on an interesting and informative few days.
The MIA looks forward to welcoming everyone to the MIA National Conference – Migration 2017 - in Melbourne during October 2017.