Our Consultation Work
We have started partnering with organisations to develop new advocacy models that prioritise the voices of people who are most affected by the issues those campaigns tackle.
We’re looking at different ways to address the unique barriers people of colour and impacted communities sometimes face when participating in advocacy – as well as the unique strengths and experiences brought by those communities that ultimately leads to more authentic, effective campaigning.
Every year there are marches across Australia on Palm Sunday to draw attention to Australia’s cruel asylum seeker policies. However, these marches are also an example of the structural power imbalances within the refugee advocacy space.
For example, the Melbourne march initially only had one speaking position (out of many) allocated to someone with lived experience of seeking asylum. With an expected crowd of at least 15,000 people, the Melbourne march could have been an incredible opportunity to prioritise the voices of refugees, allow them to craft their own narrative and create the space for their leadership
However, their initial program of one token speaker with lived experience was just another example of ‘feel good’ solidarity. The kind of solidarity that’s about campaigning *for* people, rather than *with* – actively denying the agency of those they’re advocating for.
So we launched a joint campaign with RISE – a refugee-led refugee advocacy and service delivery organisation – calling on the organisers to prioritise the voices of those with lived experience and dispense with the ‘celebrity’, (usually) white speakers that are wheeled out at refugee rallies with the same, worn out speeches.
Ultimately, the campaign resulted in three people with lived experience speaking at the Melbourne Palm Sunday March and sparked an important conversation about whose voices need to be heard in refugee advocacy.