Speaking about her song ‘Oh Canada’, which was inspired by the viral photo of three-year-old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi, whose dead body was photographed on a beach in Turkey, Higgins said, “A lot of the time, so many of us are so removed from it, and especially with this rhetoric that comes out of the government calling these people ‘criminals’… even the word ‘asylum seekers’ has a stigma now.
“They come to our shores, or they try to reach our shores, and if they get anywhere close we lock them up in these detention centres, that are like prisons — in fact, probably worse than prisons, because these people are indefinitely kept in a place where they’re suffering hugely.
“To think that we can allow these people — who are only seeking a safe place to live — to think that we treat them like criminals is just really appalling.”
Asked about what role celebrities have in “influencing social and political issues”, Higgins said that while she doesn’t necessarily think it’s celebrities’ “responsibility to talk up about issues or to be vocal on certain issues”, she believes if someone has a platform, they also have an “incredible opportunity”.
“If we feel passionately about something, I think that it’s just as much our right, as it is anybody’s right, to speak our mind, and for our opinions to be heard,” she said.
“I think that art should be a form of self expression, and I don’t think that we should ever have to self-censor ourselves.”
Higgins also performed her song ’49 Candles’, from her latest album Solastalgia, to close the show. Watch video of her Q&A appearance, below.
Missy Higgins will take Solastalgia on a national tour in May.