Seminar Room 1, 13:00- 14:30
Chair: Michelle Chase


“The Reception Crisis”: Global Securitisation of Forced Migration
Jessicah Mullins, PhD Candidate, University of New South Wales, Canberra

History will remember the 21st century for the manner in which the world has responded to the mass movement of individuals seeking asylum. The securitisation of forced migration has been widely examined by numerous scholars, and yet the motivations behind these activities are lacking substantive review. This project has identified three core themes that have driven the use of security frameworks over humanitarian driven policy approaches: capacity; ontological security; and populist movements. The latter two being the neutral and negative manifestations of societal insecurity; both of which find their genesis in capacity concerns. Central to these capacity issues are the practices carried out by states and multinational corporations that cripple the financial stability of other states, inhibiting their ability to manage asylum seeker and refugee applications. This is especially evident with the figures of financial flows and porous borders in Africa, and the limitations of the Dublin Convention and associated strict border control policies in Europe. These events, many of which are driven by post-colonial opportunism and regional frameworks undermined by post-World War II fears, are compounded by the development and economic issues faced by some countries, and cultivated perceptions of capacity limitations in neighbouring states. Such fears have provided the means for opportunistic actors to direct state activities toward vitriolic, punitive, and dismissive policies aimed at forced migrants, even in states whereby the capacity issues identified are not evident. Whilst purportedly in an effort to safeguard the general population, these policies clearly serve the interest of those that govern.

Jessicah Mullins is a PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales, in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Her doctoral research focuses on global forced migration and associated state and regional border control policies. Her other research interests reside broadly in the field of global security, including: climate induced security issues; terrorism; human trafficking; and the intersection thereof.



Absurdities in the Court: Laughable (Condemnable?) By-products of Rising Nationalism in Sri Lanka Following the Easter Bomb Attacks, April 2019.
Vihanga Perer, PhD Candidate, Australian National University

Six coordinated bomb explosions carried out on the morning of April 21st, 2019 in three churches and hotels in Sri Lanka resulted in over two hundred and fifty civilian deaths and five hundred injuries. Investigations suggested the attacks to have been carried out by a locally-indoctrinated group who have had Islamic State (IS) patronage. As a country recovering from a prolonged war (1983-2009), Sri Lanka was deeply agitated by the attack. It created in the country a situation of panic, fear and uncertainty that encouraged a strong anti-Islam wave. A camp of Sinhala Buddhist nationalists – a lobby identifying with the country’s majority – spearheaded several campaigns, among others, against Muslim dress, Islamic schools, the Halal certification, and Islamic marriage; while using propaganda which intensified in the common psyche an Islamophobia. Set against this backdrop, the present paper revisits two cases that made national headlines: the story of an ethnic Muslim doctor who was arrested on the suspicion of ‘sterilizing’ 4000 Sinhala women, and a Muslim labourer-woman who was remanded for wearing a kameez with the design of a ship’s wheel (which was conveniently misinterpreted as a Buddhist symbol). Such representational cases demonstrate the extreme ways in which the law and law enforcement operate at a time of emergency – and with political backing – in favour of the privileged ethno-religious group, notwithstanding the absurdity and incredulity of the charges against the suspects.

Vihanga Perera is a postgraduate research student in Creative Writing and English at the Australian National University. His ongoing PhD research draws on the memory and witnessing of torture camps during the 1987-90 insurrection in Sri Lanka. 



‘Terrorist’ or ‘Bullied teen’? A Critical Discourse Analysis of Australian Media Reporting of the Christchurch Shooting Perpetrator
Kelsey O’Leary, Honours Student, Australian National University

This paper provides a critical discourse analysis of Australian media portrayal of the perpetrator of the Christchurch Mosque Shootings, which took place on 15 March 2019. To date, most literature on the Australian media’s response to terrorist attacks has only examined Islamic terrorism, and little research has been undertaken regarding the Australian media’s response to white supremacist terrorism, or the characterization of the perpetrators of these terrorist attacks. This paper combines critical discourse analysis with Corpus Linguistics to examine how the Australian media characterised the perpetrator of the Christchurch Mosque Shootings through the analysis of online news articles from 12 of the most widely read Australian news websites. It is found that the Australian media rarely described the perpetrator of the Christchurch Shootings as having perpetuated an act of terrorism and tended to use sympathetic and non-othering language, emphasising his normalcy and downplaying his white supremacist ideologies. It is implied that the reason for his terror attack was not due to ideology, but resulted from experiences gained overseas, as well as mental illness and social isolation. The findings of this research show that the Australian media demonstrates bias in its reporting of white supremacist terrorism and continues to perpetuate the notion that Australia is not a place where extremist ideology can develop and remains an international rather than domestic problem.

Kelsey O’Leary is a Linguistics Honours student at the Australian National University. She completed her pass degree at the ANU with majors in Spanish language and culture, and Linguistics and was a recipient of the Sir Geoffrey Yeend Honours Scholarship. Her research interests include formal syntax, romance languages, discourse analysis, language and the media, and language teaching.



Avoca-Don't: How “Superfoods” are Legitimising Unsustainable Agricultural Practices, Contributing to Climate Change and Food Insecurity
Matylda Brecz, Honours student, University of New South Wales, Sydney

Australia is one of the world’s most prolific avocado producers and consumers, with numbers of growers and customers steadily growing annually as the industry expands. The presence of avocados in social media and popular culture are further elevating its status as a desirable and commonplace feature of Western diets. The avocado in and of itself does not represent a crop that is inherently more damaging to the environment than other methods of large-scale mono-cropping; it does however represent a perfect example of a commodity crop that is gaining momentum through global social media engagement as a “superfood” solution to malnutrition. The avocado makes for a valuable case study because it embodies the phenomenon of a highly popular cash-crop, cultivated for consumers in the Global North largely at social, economic, and ecological detriment to the producers: small-holders and labourers in the Global South. This research project will explore what can be learned regarding the impact that environmentally intensive, high-value crop cultivation has on those who are involved in its production and investigate the sustainability of these practices. This research is guided by the main question: ‘To what extent does investigating exploitation within the emerging global trade of avocados inform us about structural inequalities within the global food system?’. To answer this question, this project adopts a comparative case study of avocado production and consumption patterns in Australia and in Central America. The purpose of this research is to examine the patterns of dependence and exploitation that arise from within the global avocado industry.

Matylda Brecz is a Honours student at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Matylda has a strong interest in the intersection of human security concerns (primarily food security) and the problems that are emerging in relation to climate change. The research contributes to the debates over the complex nature of global food systems, the geopolitics of food, and the evolution of food justice.


Challenges for Antarctic Governance Resulting from the Impacts of Climate Change
Hannah Martin, MA Student, University of New South Wales, Sydney

Scientific studies have shown that climate change is having a definite physical effect on the Antarctic ice systems. However, it is only relatively recently that international attention has turned to its implications for policy and governance of the region. There are significant challenges facing the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) in addressing the impacts of climate change in the Antarctic, arising from the increasingly complex interaction between regimes and the need to balance the different views and priorities of the parties involved. The ATS is widely considered to have responded well to previous challenges. The aim of this study is to examine how successfully it could be expected to deal with the impact of climate change in the Antarctic. The first part of this study will identify the issues that need to be addressed by the ATS as well as the current and proposed attempts to do so. The key stakeholders will be identified and the current success of each of these attempts defined based on the public records available. The second part of the study will discuss and analyse in detail the key challenges facing the ATS in creating and implementing its responses to the impact of climate change on the Antarctic ice systems. Consensus will be required amongst the key treaty parties on the need for action as well as the methods.

Hannah Martin is a postgraduate student in the Masters of International Law and Security at UNSW based in Sydney.