“Go back to where you came from”

This theme explores the complexities surrounding the immigration-security nexus that have broken into the foray of Australian public discourse over the past few decades. It looks at the various voices and political players that have shaped the narrative around asylum seekers and refugees, and in particular, that have created an atmosphere of paranoia and fear around their presence in Australia. By an honest look at the facts, this theme seeks to interrogate claims that refugees and asylum seekers pose a threat (whether through crime or terrorism) to Australia and looks at the impacts this line of thinking has on refugees and migrants at large.


Australia and Asylum

Facts and Figures everyone should know.

Open InfographicDownload Infographic

A conversation with
Dr Clarke Jones

Dr Clarke Jones is a criminologist based at the Research School of Psychology at the ANU, specialising in ethnographic, longitudinal and participant observation research. As part of the Australian Intervention Support Hub, Dr Jones works closely with communities that are often marginalised, hard-to-access and at-risk. This includes terrorist offenders and prison gangs in the Philippines, as well as work with specific marginalised and vulnerable communities in Australia. His intention is to develop more culturally and religiously suitable youth interventions to see whether this improves program efficacy and reduce crime or future offending.


“Go back to where you came from”

Migrants, asylum seekers and refugees have been at the centre of heated national debate about immigration and security. The national conversation has created a paranoia that not only excludes and marginalises these groups – but does so on false grounds. Australia needs to have an honest conversation about the dangers of its existing discourse on refugees and asylum seekers.


“We decide who comes here”

If Australia is to be consistent with its purported, democratic, foundational values such as that of “fairness”, then it is crucial to not exclude and discredit migrants. It is vital to acknowledge their integral role in building Australia’s past, present and future. Failing to ensure such will contribute to a lack of social cohesion.


A Summary of Theme 2

Immigration has been falsely linked to security for the past few decades in Australia. A look to the powerful rhetoric of key politicians and media outlets allows us to understand why these attitudes exist in society. However, a look closer tells a different story – there is absolutely no evidence linking immigration with crime.

The national conversation must raise its standards, resist poorly evidenced rhetoric and heed the potentially destructive impacts of its discourse.
Download Info Sheet

This info sheet is ideal for educators, community organisations and others seeking to educate and elevate community discussions on migrants and refugees.


The internet has become a site of discussion, argumentation and conjecture on all manner of life’s affairs in the last 20 years. Somewhere on the internet, some issue, profound or mundane, is always being discussed.

Politics as an area of concern is chief among these. From migration and refugees, Australian value and culture, the internet is unsurprisingly a hotbed of discussion and debate.

We present an example of how even virulent debate can – given the right conditions – facilitate surprisingly provocative discussions so long as those engaged are willing to open their minds and question their assumptions. This mock conversation resembles real discussions, highlighting that often, all it takes is a willingness to look past long-held biases to actual facts and history.

Read this curious conversation