Rising up ‘ethnic’ in Australia, SBS and its iconic broadcaster Les Murray – who died 5 years in the past subsequent month – had been a relentless presence in my life. However it was solely lately that I found Les, like me, got here to Australia as a toddler refugee. His household fled struggle and Soviet occupation in post-World Conflict II Hungary.
SBS soccer commentator Les Murray. Supply: SBS Information
I used to be 12 – the identical age as Les had been – after I got here to Australia on the UNHCR Humanitarian Refugee Visa in 1999. My dad and mom – an ethnic Croat and an ethnic Serb – had met in Yugoslavia and had 4 youngsters. It was an idyllic childhood, till civil struggle broke out.
As Les as soon as mentioned: “Refugees, maybe greater than different immigrants, usually tend to make a optimistic contribution to their new nation, pushed by a necessity to offer one thing in return for being given an opportunity to start out once more after a horrible expertise”.
Danijel Malbasa (far proper) along with his siblings. Supply: Provided / Danijel Malbasa
What I beloved about Les is that he didn’t let his refugee identification outline all that he was. He was a revered broadcaster, journalist, and soccer analyst. An expert contributing to the Australian society in his chosen discipline, in his personal proper.
Les normalised his refugee distinction with out ever as soon as compromising who he was or what he stood for, or the message he wasn’t a lot promoting however providing. He did this by means of the gorgeous recreation, the place cultural distinction is negated by a round-ball recreation. It was the sport to humanise the world, to welcome the strangers who had been totally different colors or races or gender expressions or sexualities.
I keep in mind SBS for its risqué overseas motion pictures performed each night time alongside Queer as People – a present I’d secretly watch, shortly switching to mainstream channels when a member of the family would stroll into the room.
Les and SBS championed and normalised cultural variations. I switched on SBS and I used to be house.
Danijel spends his time talking out for refugees and asylum seekers, each at a judicial and advocacy stage. Supply: Provided / Danijel Malbasa
I’m very honoured to be the inaugural recipient of the which seeks to recognise and have a good time the contribution of refugees who’re serving to shine a lightweight on the scenario of forcibly displaced individuals.
Australians do not forget that our nation gave the world the Refugee Conference. Our signature introduced it to life. What a proud legacy. We set the usual as respectable worldwide residents for different nations to comply with. That work was championed by Doc Evatt, an Australian choose.
Danijel Malbasa believes the narrative about refugees is beginning to shift in Australia. Supply: Provided / Aaron FRANCIS
It’s time to return to our proud roots as a nation of welcome and standard-setting. It’s time to re-frame who and what a refugee is. And I’m so proud to play a small half on this re-framing.