In our tutorials, we were given the chance to interview people working on contrasting subjects to our own, which in turn, allowed us to receive greater insight into an outsider’s opinion of our emerging issue. For my research in particular, I’m leaning towards focusing on the varying perspectives and perceptions of Refugees & Asylum seekers from a variety of people. As well as how a myriad of factors such as education, location, political stance can influence their opinion – whether informed or not.
This exercise particularly linked in my scholarly article for Post 2 – ‘It Would be Okay If They Came through the Proper Channels’: Community Perceptions and Attitudes toward Asylum Seekers in Australia’. With my questions, I tried to keep them quite open and unbiased by simply asking Annabel what she knew about the issues regarding Asylum Seekers and Refugees as a whole.
Q: Are you aware of Asylum Seeker or Refugee issues at all? What do you know so far?
A: I’m definitely aware of it, I think it’s pretty hard to escape it since it’s so prominent in the media at the moment. I don’t know that much about the specifics like policies that are in place…Other than that Australia doesn’t take on nearly as many asylum seekers and refugees as it should, considering how affluent our future is. I just know we’re not doing enough, or that much.
From her answer, I could deduce the great amount of exposure she’s received on this issue, as it is so ubiquitous on both print and online media. But it was interesting to see how, with only a broad and general overview of the topic, she has already formed a definitive opinion on the issue. This could suggest that her opinions are based more on personal feelings than facts, which is a common occurrence in relation to this issue, on both sides of the argument.
Q: You touched on the Australian side of the issue, do you know about what’s happening overseas as well?
A: Yeah, I’ve kind of gotten into podcasts called ‘This American Life’ and I recently listened to a couple of last week from early this week about a couple of refugee camps in Greece and it was Iranian and Syrian refugees. So that was very specific to what the camps were like there and it was I assume, a general overview of the lack of information they have access to and the little bits of hope they grab onto and think they might be able to leave sooner. But as a whole, it’s a very intense subject matter and I personally feel like I can’t quite keep up with it all.
The issue of Refugee and Asylum Seekers extends beyond just the current crisis we have in Australia, indeed it is a global issue. It seems like one has to be able to actively look and dig deep in order to know the specifics about the issue. Popular media, such as Podcasts, have such a huge reach in being able to educate and inform their audiences. Without this, she wouldn’t have known about the Refugee crisis in Italy or be informed into what was going on. Also, since this issue has become so widespread, it is definitely not surprising that Annabel finds it overwhelming as there are so many aspects to consider.
Q: Do you have any influences on where you get your information from about Refugees and Asylum seekers? Do you think your background, upbringing or maybe particular media sources you watch affect your opinion?
A: I think our generation, or at least my group of friends, are pretty motivated to be morally correct. So I feel very passionate that we should be letting more asylum seekers and refugees into Australia, but I guess that is totally influenced by the media and politics. It’s what we should be doing, but I wouldn’t say my upbringing other than school or education…I wouldn’t say my family has particularly influenced that way of thinking.
Annabel acknowledges that the media and politics do have a say in her current stance, but also points out that she has a group of friends where they share the same aspirations regarding Refugees and Asylum Seeker.
Q: Do your friends side with the point that they (Refugees & Asylum Seekers) should be welcomed?
A: Definitely. I feel like UTS being an inner city university kind of changes our perspective on it, and we’re engaging in media more regularly than someone from a rural area.
Annabel makes a very insightful response to how locality does have an effect on your opinion due to resources, culture, positioning and lifestyle from the city to more rural areas.
Q: How do you think we can change the issue? Do you think it could build from a smaller scale for example, or should it be tackled as a global issue?
A: If I was told ‘How should we solve this?’, on a local and community level, I wouldn’t know other than suggesting more educational tools – so that there is a greater awareness of the situation both globally and nationally. But then again, I feel like the issue is so big at the moment that perhaps a global strategy is more necessary. I feel like there should be one governing body that is allowed to make decisions on behalf of some countries, like ‘you have to take X amount of people, asylum seekers & refugees, to your country’
I asked her this question, where in hindsight I should have been more specific in a way, as it is such a loaded question. But she has a very interesting answer for responding to the issue at hand. Education and awareness is one key element in allowing people to truly understand what is going on throughout all the filters, events and influences one can find in varying sources.
Reflecting back on the interview, it was great to be able to chart a university student’s opinions on the Refugee and Asylum Seeker issue. I would like to be able to do some further interviews with people of varying backgrounds, careers and ages to be able to chart their differences and understandings of Refugees and Asylum Seekers. It would also be a great opportunity to be able to see the issue from the perspectives of current Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Australia, and how this is compared to the other interviewees. Bias is also a key factor that I would like to further work on, as my left-wing perspective is quite evident and may skew some results. However, this task enabled me to further engage and explore what I would like to focus on in regarding the treatment of Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
For the probe, I asked her to save the sources she came across whenever it was linked to the issue of Refugees and Asylum and analyse the tone and information being communicated. By being aware in collecting her information, she was able to delve further into the issue and educate herself in varying media sources. The most useful platform in coming across issues regarding Refugees and Asylum Seekers was her Facebook. Some friends in her circle were actively invested in sharing information related to Refugees. Another way she was informed was by various forms of media she came across during her week such as her Facebook newsfeed in the morning or the radio in the drive home.
After this exercise she felt much more informed and more comfortable in discussing with others the range of positions and perspectives that are currently being debated in Australia. The feeling of being more educated in the subject allows her to present her own opinions and be more interactive with the matter itself. It also allowed her to be more aware and analytical with the information she came across, in terms of source, political stance and opinions.
- List one source you came across
- Where did you find them from?
- What was the overall tone/influence from the media source?
- How do you feel after reading it?
Monday / 22 August 2016
- Q&A on ABC
- Friend recommended me to watch it. Also they were planning to discuss about Nauru on the show.
- Defensive answers from the panellists, some acts of blame, circling around opinions and what they should do as political leaders
- Disappointed, confused and not feeling fully informed in the situation with such different opinions.
Tuesday / 23 August 2016
Wednesday / 24 August 2016
- Opinion piece by Simon Longstaff on ABC News
- Front page of ABC news website
- Ethical, unbiased opinion piece
- Informed and had a well understanding of his points. He was able to communicate really effectively to both sides of the discussion around Refugees.
Thursday / 25 August 2016
- Hack on Triple J radio
- Came on in the car driving home from uni
- Factual with pause for opinions, more left-wing
- Supportive. I feel like my left-wing stance has heightened after doing this probe.
Friday / 26 August 2016
- ‘Hungary to build a bigger fence’ article on Daily Mail
- Scrolling through news sites for more information on Refugees
- Informative and also slightly left-wing stance
- I feel like the action is unnecessary, but also a good insight into how other countries are facing the refugee crisis.