In a first for Australia, organisers have been able to crowd-source $20,000 in just 48 hours to fund Professor Wendy Bacon and Professor Carmen Lawrence’s visa and travel to Nauru. Professor Carmen Lawrence was a panellist for the Gender Institute's Framed? Julia Gillard and the gender wars event last year. The donation page can be found here.
The money was raised through individual contributions because Nauru has the most expensive media visa in the world. At $8,000 an application, the money is not refunded even if the visa is refused. Few media organisations are able to underwrite the financial risk knowing they are routinely rejected.
As reports of rape, bashings and extortion of asylum seekers continue to grow it has become imperative that Australians are able to get independent and informed reporting. That’s why both Carmen Lawrence and Wendy Bacon have agreed to go to Nauru.
“The media have a critical role to play in ensuring Australia – the nation funding the detention centres – is kept well informed about the situation on the ground,” said Wendy Bacon. “Both the Nauruan and Australian government have a vested interest in presenting the camps in a positive light, while reports suggest they are a hellhole for the asylum seekers held there.”
“I can’t think of any place more in need of the media’s attention and access than Nauru,” concluded Professor Bacon.
“We have heard a lot from the disgraced Nauruan government and Ministers within both the Coalition and Labor government, but we have heard nothing from the people of Nauru,” said Professor Carmen Lawrence. “One of my aims in going to Nauru is to sit down and talk with the women and men of Nauru, particularly the elders within the island community and see how they feel about what has happened to their island.”
“Australia’s international reputation has been degraded over the last few years, it is time we start a new chapter, develop an asylum seeker policy for the 21st century - not the 18th century. That policy must begin with dialogue and building relationships with impacted communities, in this case the Nauruan community as well as the asylum seeker community,” said Professor Lawrence.
13 October 2015