Insight 11 - June 2014 - page 4

02
EDITORIALTEAM
SaraCoen
CaitlinGanter
PUBLISHER
ChrissaFavaloro
DESIGNER
ElizabethKoudsy
CONTRIBUTORS
AssociateProfessorVaughanMonamy
ProfessorGregCraven
DaleForbes
JessWoodward
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Cover:
GrahamThomasQC
Photography:
TristanVelasco
BackCover:
School childrenon the
Thai-Burmaborder
Photography:
TristanVelasco
Editor
AlisseGrafitti
LAURASARIC,ACUMELBOURNE
LAWSTUDENT
“Myparentswereborn inCroatiabut lived in
Bosnia.When thewarbrokeoutandYugoslavia
split intodifferentcountries theywere forced to
fleeand leaveeverythingbehind.Aftermonths
ofmovingand trying tofindasafeplace, they
settled inHamburg,Germany.
Although Iwasborn inGermany themigration
administrators failed to recognisemybirth
datebut referred to it asan ‘arrival date’as
Iwasa refugee.
Iwasfiveyearsoldwhenweeventuallycame
toAustraliabut I remember a lot. I remember
settlinghereand thedifficultyof notbeing
able to speak the language. I remember
starting school andbeing thenewgirl
whodidn’t speakawordof English. I knew
GermanandCroatianbut I hadno ideawhat
the teacherswere saying so I just sat there. I
rememberbeing thirstyandnotbeingable to
ask for adrinkofwater.Theseare the things
about the refugeeexperience that youmight
notnecessarilyunderstandunlessyouhave
lived through it.
As refugees inGermanywewereactually
treatedquitewell compared tohow some
refugeesare treatedhere inAustralia. People
werealwayskind tousand I still remember
howmuch thatmeant at the time.That iswhy
I am sopassionateabout volunteeringat the
Refugee ImmigrationandLegal Centre (RILC).
It’smyway togiveback.
I originally completedapro-bonoplacement
at the centreaspart ofmy lawdegreeatACU
and I havebeen thereever since. Human
rights law is a real interest ofmineand I
admire thepassion that RILC’s Executive
DirectorDavidMannehas for thisparticular
area. I think thewayanorganisation is run
usuallyfilters from the top-downand this is
definitely the caseat RILC. Everyone there is
passionateabout theirwork.
Asa lawyer, you reallyhave tounderstand
your clients.Youhave to listen to themand
understandwhere theyarecoming from. Pro-
bonowork isa really importantpartof a legal
career so this isagreatopportunity to see
how that aspectworks. Even thoughRILC isa
not-for-profitorganisationmywork there still
replicateswhathappens ina lawfirmcontext.
TheclientsatRILCareusually seeking some
formof visa, either for themselvesor for family
members. Lately therehavebeena lot of
refugees fromPakistanwhich is affectedby
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