Australia’s recent policy of mandatory detention for unlawful arrivals on its shores is a chequered and distressing history. Journalist and author Margot O’Neill spent a couple of years researching how the policy drew hundreds of ordinary Australians together to advocate for detainees and protest at mandatory detention over more than a decade. Her book, Blind Conscience documents the story. On Tuesday 3 February 2009, Margot O’Neill addressed The Sydney Institute and recaptured some of the personalities and spirit that drove the movement.

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