This project was commissioned by the Australian Red Cross to inquire into the nature of humanitarianism in Australian society. It was conceived against a backdrop of apparent declining public support for humanitarian causes worldwide and intensifying hostility in western societies especially, towards persons seeking asylum and towards refugees, primarily from Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East.
In this context, this project was framed with four principal objectives:
- to distil the insights of past inquiries and to situate this project amongst current studies of humanitarianism in Australia, this project conducted a literature review of published research into humanitarian and charitable attitudes, practices and histories of Australia and Australians.
- to gain insight into the current discursive and socio-political milieu, this project conducted an analysis of publications in Australian mainstream media that relate to international humanitarian issues and situations. Particularly focused-upon were opinion and commentary about these situations.
- to understand how some Australians have been moved to act upon humanitarian and charitable sensibilities, 17 face-to-face interviews were conducted with people who have established organisations, projects, ventures etc., to actively assist others in need.
- to build capacity to counter populist strategies and arguments by developing an extensive body of contrary evidence to support interventions in key public debates on humanitarian crises and responses, refugee and asylum seeker issues, and right-wing populist propaganda and mobilisations, through social media and in mainstream print and digital news
Project timeline: 2018
Find out more:
Related journal article - 'Australia Turning Inwards? Insights from Humanitarian Australians'
Submission to Federal Parliament - Submission 67
This project addresses the following Sustainable Development Goals and Targets: