Abraham Maslow, an American professor and most famous psychologist, invented a virtual pyramid back in 1943 called the “Hierarchy of Needs”. This theory is still important today. In this virtual pyramid of the needs and desires of human kind, Maslow places the “need for belonging” above the physiological needs such as food, water and sex, and above safety needs such as the security of family, health and body. This shows that the desire to belong is practically mandatory and is essential to survival of humankind. Good evening ladies and gentleman, students of this University and members of the Australian community. My name is Dr. Darcey Cooper, Professor of International Human Rights here at Melbourne University. Today, I will provide you with valuable facts and knowledge on why the laws regarding mandatory detention of asylum seekers should be modified to give these innocent human beings what they deserve...the opportunity to belong. These asylum seekers have fled their war torn countries in order to escape death. They then spend countless months on a substandard ship with the bare minimum of food to survive on each day. Finally after many weeks of sleepless nights and frightening experiences, they reach the land of “golden soil and wealth for toil” in the hope of starting a new life, free from violence and cruelty. These dreams soon turn to nightmares as the asylum seekers are thrown into detention centres where they can be held for weeks, months and even years. These refugees are not given the chance to belong and be accepted as new Australians, a need which is essential for all humans. Belonging plays an important role in the health and resilience of both individuals and communities. Studies by the Australian Bureau of Statistics have shown that people who feel included, who have rich and diverse social networks, tend to be healthier, happier and longer-lived than people who live in isolation from others. They also have more opportunities...
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