ARAN Conference 2017

Talking Change -Making it Happen

Developing a National Network for Grass Roots Advocacy for Refugee Rights Brief overview of outcomes from the inaugural Australian Refugee Action Network (ARAN) Conference – May 2017

 Inaugural National Conference … in Canberra

Australian Refugee Action Network

20th -21st May 2017

Australian National University
Copland Theatre, Kingsley Street, Acton, Canberra, ACT 2601


Prog 1


Despite a very long campaign for refugee rights, there has been no nation-wide network of grassroots action and advocacy groups.  A national network would support the efforts of the many and diverse groups which are working to bring about change in Australia’s refugee policies.

To this end, the Australian Refugee Action Network (ARAN) has been formed, and currently has a membership of 31 refugee advocacy/action networks and significant organisations across the nation.  In order to strengthen this newly formed alliance, a national conference is being planned for May 20 and 21, 2017.

The ARAN Conference will provide opportunity to:

  • Discuss ways to improve communication and co-ordination between grassroots action and advocacy groups in the refugee sector.
  • Discuss and establish a common position based on the areas of agreed campaign priorities
  • Share ideas and experience for mobilising and effective campaigning.
  • Form a workable system for organised national collaboration.

Communication and coordination between our groups and organisations, while maintaining the autonomy and diversity of individual groups, will maximise the impact of our various campaign actions and efforts.

ARAN has established a National Conference Committee to draft the agenda, arrange speakers etc. The Refugee Action Committee, Canberra will take care of logistics – venue, food, etc.

The conference will be moderately priced ($50 waged, $20 unwaged) and is open to all who are interested in refugee activism and advocacy.


Ticket includes cost of lunches, morning & afternoon teas.

All venues are wheelchair accessible.

Sunday Afternoon Delegates’ Session

From 1:00 pm – 3.30 pm on Sunday,  there will be a meeting of delegates to elect a national committee and discuss plans for further national coordination.  Each ARAN member group is asked to nominate a maximum of two delegates to attend this session.

It is anticipated that an elected national coordination committee will:

  • Provide broad geographical and political representation of grassroots advocacy and activist organisations
  • Consist of representatives with solid experience in this sector
  • Contain no more than one member of any particular organisation
  • Not possess the power to decide what member organisations do, but instead will make suggestions about campaigns and themes, issue press releases, provide spokespeople, and share information and resources
  • Receive proposals from individual member organisations to initiate actions on a national basis
  • Meet on a regular basis  (via Skype)

Conference Dinner

  • The conference dinner will be an informal event at the Roti House –– which is close to the conference venue and moderately priced. The dinner will be based on the Banquet B (see linked menu) with the final dishes to be determined to ensure that there is a vegetarian option and that other dietary needs are catered for. The cost is $25.80 per person, which includes soft drink and mineral water for the table. The restaurant is licensed and BYO wine only – people bringing wine will need to pay corkage themselves on the night.
  • If you wish to attend the dinner, please purchase a Conference Dinner ticket as part of the conference registration process.

Roti House
Shop 4, Ground Floor, Ernst & Young Building
121 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra City ACT 2601

Accommodation and Transport Information

Mark your diary – 20 and 21 May 2017.

LOCATION : Australian National University
Copland Theatre, Kingsley Street, Acton, Canberra, ACT 2601



Plan to join us!


Activism – What has worked

  • Protest Rallies, Snap Actions & Vigils
  • Getting Media Coverage
  • Social Media
  • Creative Activism
  • Lobbying and Letter Writing
  • Starting a New Group
  • Developing Effective Resources for Shifting Public Opinion  

Activism within Constituencies

  • Students Groups for Refugees
  • Creative Artists for Refugees
  • Unionists for Refugees 
  • Grandmothers against Detention of Refugee Children, & Mums for Refugees
  • Rural Australians for Refugees
  • Faith Communities for Refugees
  • Teachers and other Educationalists for Refugees
  • Rainbow Activists for Refugees
  • Doctors, Medical, & Other Professionals for Refugees

Australian Refugee Action Network National Coordination Committee Terms of Reference 2017 – (Draft)

Discussion Papers:

  1. A Common Policy for Refugee Activist and Advocacy Organisations in Australia
    This document, by the Canberra Refugee Action Committee, is designed to stimulate discussion at the ARAN national conference in the session on a common policy for refugee activist and advocacy organisations in Australia. It make a concrete suggestion for such a policy. We are aware that many organisations have developed policies which are very close to what is being suggested here and believe that there is, therefore, a good basis for agreement.
  2. Experiences of Canberra RAC
    Over the last three and a half years the Canberra Refugee Action Committee has developed an organisation and a way of campaigning that has substantially grown participation and from which we can continue to build. It incorporates some distinctive elements.  Our biggest rallies have been around 3,500 people. We have had two public meetings of 1,400-1,500 and many more in the hundreds. This is a brief summary of how we operate which we hope will contribute to the discussion about activism and the campaign of which are all a part.
  3. Senate Candidate(s) Proposal
  4. Richard Hopkins – MCGG – Discussion Paper – RAR Forum, Cooma 29-04-2017

ARAN currently has a membership of 33 refugee networks and groups.