Tac Tam Lam was on the first refugee boat to arrive in Australia as part of the Vietnamese exodus in 1976, with his brother and three friends. He fled Vietnam with his family and began the journey with a map ripped out of a school atlas.  Tac found work four days after arriving in Australia, and was recognised as a refugee a few weeks later. He still remembers the warm welcome he received from the people of Darwin, and has never moved away from the city he has now lived in for forty years.  Tac worked three jobs at once to support his family and establish a new life. Starting as a construction worker, factory hand and later restauranteur, Tac became a successful businessman and is now semi-retired in Darwin.  Three generations of the Lam Family call Australia home.  "I come to Australia as a refugee - not for get a good life, I don't want to be the millionaire. Safety, healthy, happy – that's what I want for my family."

Human lives, Human rights

2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the first major group of refugee arrivals seeking asylum and protection directly from Australia. On 26 April 1976, five young men fleeing Vietnam sailed into Darwin Harbour.

Over four decades, people who have fled war and persecution have enriched their new communities and changed their new homes for the better. Former refugees are to be found across all areas of Australian life. They have become business leaders, doctors, teachers, politicians, sportsmen and women, and an integral part of Australian society.

But refugees should be protected for the simple reason that they are people – mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, neighbours and friends.

Seeking asylum is a fundamental human right. Everyone has the right to life and liberty. Everyone has the right to freedom from fear. Everyone has the right to seek asylum from persecution.

These human rights don’t change based on race, religion, sex or nationality. Human rights don’t change based on whether you seek safety by land, air or sea.

People fleeing war and persecution have few options. Most are faced with impossible choices to find protection for themselves and their families.

The four Australians taking part in this unscripted campaign represent the stories of countless others who have faced the difficult journey to safety, and found it in their new country. Despite their many varied accomplishments, these Australians are ordinary people who have survived through extraordinary circumstances.

Far too often, the humanity of refugees and asylum-seekers is ignored or forgotten. The campaign asks us to reconsider who refugees really are, and to reinforce the basic, common values that compel us to protect them – Human lives, Human rights.