Event details
Event Start Date: 09/05/2016
Event End Date: 09/05/2016
Time: 6.00 - 7.30pm

Location: Hassell Studio, Level 2, Lot 2, Pier 8/9, 23 Hickson Road, Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2000

Book Launch - Offshore: Behind the Wire on Manus and Nauru

Madeline Gleeson’s new book Offshore: Behind the Wire on Manus and Nauru, was launched on 9 May 2016 by Julian Burnside AO QC, an esteemed barrister and refugee advocate. 

In his speech, Burnside expressed grave concern over the abuses of human rights experienced by those sent to Manus Island and Nauru by Australia. He noted “epidemic proportions” of self-harm and suicide attempts and “numerous cases of child sex abuse”. Burnside noted a “disappointing” preference for “politics over principle” on the issue of refugees amongst Australian politicians, which has allowed the degradation of human rights to continue in offshore detention centres.  

Madeline Gleeson said that the goal she hoped the book would achieve is to “inform everyone of the basic facts” about offshore processing, in order to enable the conversation to move beyond divisive rhetoric and misinformation, towards solutions.

In researching the offshore detention regime in Australia since 2012 for Offshore, Gleeson states that she “failed to find one government that has thought through this policy to the end” and that ultimately “there has never been an answer of where these people are supposed to go when they are found to be refugees.” Gleeson called for Australians to “start a proper constructive conversation about how we can work out an endgame… and fix the situation we have.”

Burnside heralded the book as “meticulously documented” and “genuinely compelling”, stating that “Offshore brings together so many compelling details, many of which I was unaware of, that I was torn: part of me could not put the book down; part of me could not cope with more and more searing detail of our cruelty to men, women and children who have had the courage to risk their lives on the ocean in a search for a safe place to live.”

Burnside concluded by stating that “Madeline Gleeson’s wonderful book will be an enduring reminder that human rights matter.” 

Audio from the event is available below or as a podcast on iTunes.


Offshore: Behind the Wire on Manus and Nauru is published by NewSouth Books and is available to order here.

With thanks to Hassell Studio for hosting this event.

This summary was prepared by Claudia Daly, an Intern at the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law.

 Book Launch    Book Launch    Book Launch _ Burnside    Book Launch_Gleeson



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