In the first six months of our operations (end of financial year), AAMEYS has offered many FREE SERVICES to the Multicultural and African communities.
Visitors come to AAMEYS Office in Footscray with queries about a wide range of issues. There are many problems and challenges they face settling into the Australian way of life.
About one-third of the queries to AAMEYS are about legal issues and about one-fifth are business matters. We also receive many queries about problems with employment, training, housing, security and personal issues (Graph for more info).
Legal issues are the most common. As readers of this bulletin will know, AAMEYS holds fortnightly free legal sessions with lawyers from the major law firm, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers. These sessions are always well attended and have provided valuable advice and assistance to people from our community. We are grateful for the support of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.
The legal questions we have helped with include issues of immigration, family law (including family violence and child custody), criminal matters, work injuries and occupational health and safety, civil matters, business, car accidents and traffic fines. Why AAMEYS legal triage services is unique and necessary for the refugees, asylum seekers and migrants? It is necessary because majority of people are not confident to walk to legal aid services and communicate their legal needs. One client said, “Going to mainstream legal aid service is like going to court” he said, I like someone who understands my language, culture and religious believe to help me navigate the legal system”.
Arriving in Australia where there are Federal, State and Local Government laws that are so different from the home countries of African Australian settlers can be very confusing. The challenges involved in understanding the significance and the importance of "the laws of the land" can be challenging and confronting, particularly for people following non-mainstream religions and from different cultural backgrounds. The most confronting is perhaps the non-discriminatory nature of Australian law - the law is the same for everyone, regardless of gender, religion, sexuality etc.
A second big challenge is accessing and choosing the right legal support to negotiate and navigate the Australian legal system, with its Federal, State and Local Government parts covering different legal issues.
Without good support to understand the legal system, newcomers to Australia are lost. They might attend court without proper legal advice and preparation. There is the time it takes in seeking justice or settlement of legal issues. There are lawyers' fees.
Sometimes, without good legal advice, members of the community finish up worse off even though they are in the right, or even end up in prison because they don't know the legal system.
There are particular problems for women facing violence, and young people prone to breaking the law without thinking of the consequences.
Going beyond the valuable legal advice and assistance the community, through AAMEYS, receives from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, what is needed is for government - Federal, State and Local - to come together and offer one-stop shop legal service in areas where there are significant new settlers from other cultures.
Such centres could initially deal with legal issues and problems and direct people with legal problems in the right direction: by writing letters, making introductions and so on. We'd like to think of it as "Legal Bureaucracy with a Human Face".
New settlers in Australia facing the challenges of understanding and coping with the Australian legal system will be better placed to become valuable members of Australian society with such "hands-on" direct help from government legal authorities. And that is of great benefit to the wider Australian society where we all have rights and responsibilities under laws that are the same for everyone.
Dr Berhan Ahmed, CEO, African Australian Multicultural Employment and Youth Services (AAMEYS), and Victorian Australian of the year 2009
Think about this – "Old men can make war, but it is children who will make history."
Let’s unite our people for this noble cause to create future generations“Children are one third of our population and all of our future".Let’s live in harmony and build respectful society as equals.
Supported by African communities and Businesses; AASBA, and AAMEYS
The Flemington Victoria Police Multicultural lunch was prepared by Ms. Tehiya Umer from African Australian Multicultural Employment and Youth Services to enhance communication and understanding between Police and local communities. In the current climate of fear on "youth crime" in Victoria, our communities are working with VicPol and other local organisations to promote better understand and co-operations. Zero tolerance to violence and better prevention strategy working with Victoria Police.
Speech delivered by Dr. Berhan Ahmed at the Islamic conference dinner on 13 October 2016 on ““The Role of Community in Countering Radicalisation”
Welcome…I am extremely grateful to be breaking bread with all of you, as we share our open views. It behooves me to begin this conversation by acknowledging the Wurundjeri people, traditional owners of the land, and the community and religious leaders, friends, colleagues, and countrymen. It is a distinct honor to address you all on this day.
Radicalisation is a process by which an individual or group comes to adopt increasingly extreme political, social, or religious ideals and aspirations that reject or undermine the status quo, which also includes the rejection or undermining of contemporary ideas and expressions that jeopardize freedom of choice.
We must understand that this is a fairly innocuous and basic understanding of the word radicalisation, mainly because of its subtlety, since most, or all, of us in this room could be called radicalised individuals. For some of us who say that men and women should be segregated, then we are undermining an expression of freedom of choice as being radical. For those who say that mosques shouldn’t be built, apart from being unconstitutional, are also undermining freedom of choice, and are in a sense radical. For those who wish to oppose marriage equality, ban abortion clinics, allow asylum seekers with permanent visa or stop immigration, they can be considered radical. In addition, some of the known individuals or organisations, such as Donald Trump, one nation party, the United Patriots Front, Hizbut Tahir, or Exclusive Brethren, can all be considered radical. We all have radical thoughts, and depending upon which side of the spectrum we emanate from, our radicalisation is never as bad as the other, in fact it is simply all about one's perspective.