In September 2017 the NSW Law Society convened a Discovery Session to explore alternative options for offshore processing of asylum seekers. This session evidenced the vast amount of work already done and the need to distil key elements of that work into a preferred model which will be promoted to influence policy, shift community perceptions, and change the public narrative on this important issue. In order to realise this ambition, the decision was made to organise a larger Symposium to agree on a preferred model and chart a course of action. We were asked to drive the co-design process and the delivery of the symposium.
Given the constraints of a one-day Symposium, we decide to take the purpose for granted and convene participants around an unambiguous statement: the current model is breaching human rights; we need to develop an alternative model and have it translated into policies.
Our change strategy relied on the assumption that once we would have formed a high level view of a new model and of how to take it forward, the group would use their draft model to build interest, engagement and ultimately a coalition to join them on this journey. During the following stages, they would engage people with an expertise in building movements, and leverage Australia’s seat on the UNHCR.