A community project, #RightTrack, found residents in the Federal Electorate of Jagajaga overwhelmingly support a fair and humane process for people seeking asylum.
Results of the Jagajaga Project have recently been presented in an interim report presented to Member for Jagajaga Jenny Macklin (ALP).
On April 15, Guardian Australia’s Denham Sadler reported “‘This is my country’: how a Melbourne suburb [Eltham] defied the far-right to welcome refugees.“
“The settlement of refugees in Eltham sparked far-right protests. But locals presented a different vision of Australia,” Sadler wrote.
The Jagajaga RightTrack Community Conversations project, led by local volunteers, including members of the Montmorency Asylum Seeker Support Group (MASSG) and Welcome To Eltham, has held numerous conversations sessions across the electorate since February this year.
Each conversation involves around eight people and runs for an hour.
A facilitator guides the group through an exploration of their values, information about the process for people seeking asylum, and a reflection on the process in terms of their values.
The opinions of participants are collected through a survey at the end of the conversation.
Project convener Alessandra Prunotto said “Participants told us they find it really valuable to have the opportunity to sit back and reflect on their own values, and then apply this to thinking about the process for people seeking asylum.”
“For most, it was the first time they’d really been given the opportunity to learn more about the process”.
The project has several sister projects in electorates across metropolitan Melbourne and rural Victoria.
On September 24 this alliance released their first Community Conversation Report with data on conversations with almost 1000 people held across the state. Over 100 of these participants come from Jagajaga.
“The results speak for themselves – by the end of their conversations, 88 per cent of participants were supportive of a fair process for people seeking asylum. These participants told us that they believed the process should be transparent, timely, and supportive of applicants,” Prunotto said.
“Over the coming months we plan on rolling out even more community conversations across the Jagajaga electorate.
“We’re really keen to engage as many people across our community as possible; we’d encourage anyone interested in participating to contact our group,” Prunotto said.
#RightTrack is a community-led movement for safety, fairness and freedom for people seeking asylum resourced by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
-With Allesandra Prunotto.