Wednesday 18th June 12.30PM-1.30PM
Refugee week
Ella Latham Auditorium, Royal Children's Hospital

Refugee Week is Australia's peak annual activity to raise awareness about the issues affecting refugees and celebrate the positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society. Refugee Week is held from Sunday to Saturday of the week that includes 20 June (World Refugee Day).


Currently there are 4258 people in immigration detention facilities and 2913 people in community detention in Australia, and 2450 people in offshore processing centres on Manus Island and Nauru. These figures include children, with 833 in immigration detention, 1490 in community detention, and 190 on Nauru.  People in detention face profound uncertainty over their claims for asylum and their future, and detention affects health, mental health and family functioning. The impact of detention increases with time - the current average duration of detention in Australia is 305 days. The closed nature of immigration detention means many child health professionals will not be aware of the conditions or experiences of people who are detained.

RCH Immigrant Health Service is the longest running paediatric refugee health clinic nationally. Over the last 13 years, the service has provided longitudinal care across more than 10,000 patient attendances within the hospital and also in community settings. The service has provided care for children in detention, technical support to health and community services involved in asylum seeker care, and advice on refugee and asylum seeker health to the Victorian Government. This body of work has provided a unique insight into the experiences of children who have had contact with Australian immigration detention.  

This extraordinary grand round, during refugee week, will provide clinical, policy and legal perspectives on people seeking asylum. The Hon. Malcolm Fraser will provide his perspective on asylum seekers, Hon. Alistair Nicholson will examine rights and the rule of law, and Hon. Frank Vincent will detail the changes in legislation related to refugee policy over recent years.   RCH welcomes you to this refugee week grand round.


Rt. Hon. Malcolm Fraser AC, CH was the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia, between 1975 - 1983. He was chairman of the United Nations Panel of Eminent Persons on the Role of Transnational Corporations in South Africa and, from October 1985 to August 1986, jointly chaired the Commonwealth Group of Eminent Persons against Apartheid in South Africa. In 1987 Malcolm Fraser formed CARE Australia as part of the international CARE network of humanitarian aid organisations, he was Chairman from 1987 until 2002, and president of CARE International from 1990 to 1995. In 1988, he was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia and in November 2000, Australia's Human Rights Medal - for his contribution to the advancement of human rights in Australia and internationally.

Hon. Alastair Nicholson AO, RFD, QC was a barrister for 19 years and appointed as Queen's Counsel in 1979. He was appointed to the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1982, as Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, and a Justice of the Federal Court of Australia in 1988 - retiring in 2004. He is Chair of National Centre Against Bullying and has been a Professorial Fellow of Melbourne University since 2003 and an Officer of the Order of Australia since 1991. He was Judge Advocate General of the Australian Defence Force from 1987-91 He is the founding patron and now Chair of Children's Rights International.

Hon. Frank Vincent AO, QC was appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria in 1985, and was a Judge of the Court of Appeal from 2000 - 2009, and Chancellor at Victoria University between 2001 and 2009. He has served as a member of the Victorian Law Reform Commission, as a consultant to the Australian Law Reform Commission and as Chairman of the Victorian Criminal Bar Association. He is currently Adjunct Professor (International Legal Education), Provost Sir Zelman Cowen Centre and Distinguished University Fellow at Victoria University.

Dr Georgie Paxton is Head of the Immigrant Health Service at the Royal Children's Hospital and Chair of the Victorian Refugee Health Network. She has worked in refugee health for nearly 10 years, and has been involved in developing clinical guidelines, education resources and policy in paediatric refugee health in Australia.