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15.1.19

Newsletter for 15 January 2019 Rural Australians for Refugees 15 January 2019


Roadside demonstration report
Next market: Saturday 19th January at Bellingen market
Accommodation urgently required
An afternoon of jazz and classical music

Roadside demonstration report

There was a good turnout of supporters for our demonstration in Bellingen last Thursday, and we received enthusiastic support from the great majority of passing motorists. You might reasonably ask why we persist with these regular demonstrations. Simply put, it’s because we passionately believe that it is really important to keep the issue of offshore detention in the public eye as the federal election approaches. There can be no doubt that the issue of detention and “border protection” will feature prominently as the election approaches, and as the major parties compete over which of them can be best relied on to be tough on asylum seekers and to “keep us safe”.
Our next roadside demonstration will be on Hogbin Drive, Toormina, on Thursday 24th January from 2.30 to 4.00 pm. Please join us if you can. It would be great to welcome some new people to these demos.

Next market: Saturday 19th January at Bellingen market

Our first market of 2019 is this Saturday, 19th January, from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. We have updated our leaflets, created a new open letter to Minister Dutton for people to sign, and we have lots of merchandise to sell on behalf of the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown. The markets present a great opportunity to get our message about asylum seeker policy across to market-goers, many of whom are very interested to learn more and to support our efforts to bring about change. We know from our campaigning that public pressure does work. Just a few months ago, there were more than 200 children trapped on Nauru. Following the national campaign to get children off Nauru, in which we played an energetic part, the number of children remaining on the island is down to single figures. We now need to redouble our efforts, both locally and nationally, to evacuate the remaining 1000+ asylum seekers and refugees from Nauru and Manus. If you can help out at the market for an hour or two, then please let Mike know by emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com. We will be located in Section E, which is accessed by the Ford Street entrance.

Accommodation urgently required

An asylum seeker mother and her three young children are in urgent need of 
suitable rented accommodation in the area. They have spent some time in Coffs Harbour, and more recently in Bellingen, since arriving in Australia some months ago. For the past several weeks they have been living temporarily in a one-bedroom cabin, thanks to the generosity of one of our supporters, but the accommodation is clearly not suitable for a family. The family are supported by the Red Cross, and have a case worker, but to date they have not been successful in securing suitable rented accommodation.
The mother, who speaks English quite well, does not drive. Her eldest child is seven years old and therefore needs to be in school before the end of this month. For these reasons, they really need accommodation in a town rather than in a rural setting.
If you have suitable accommodation available for rent, or if you know anyone who might be able to help, then please contact Sue Kitson urgently at: skit1949@gmail.com or phone her on: 0434 013 010.

An afternoon of jazz and classical music

Many of you will recall that in June last year, local pianist Heather Rose staged a fundraiser for us in the Nambucca Community and Arts Centre, which raised $1,000 for the Asylum Seekers Centre. Heather is planning to return to the NCAC on 17th February with some musician friends to play jazz and classical pieces. Whilst this concert is not a RAR fundraiser, Heather has kindly offered to let us have a presence, which will enable us to hold a raffle, sell our merchandise and encourage people to sign our open letter to Minister Dutton. We are therefore looking for items to raffle and for support on the day to sell raffle tickets and to help with the stall. Please let Mike know if you can contribute something for the raffle or if you can help out at the concert by emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com. And of course, it would be great if you could come along to the concert to enjoy the music and show appreciation for Heather’s support for our cause.
Details: Sunday 17th February, 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm at the Nambucca Community and Arts Centre, Ridge Street, Nambucca Heads.



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It includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians and newspapers.
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Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam
Email address bellingen.rar@gmail.com

The National RAR web site is at  www.ruralaustraliansforrefugees.org.au 
The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook



8.1.19

Newsletter for 8 January 2019 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts


A happy New Year to you all
Roadside demonstration: Thursday 10th January in Bellingen. 2.30 to 4.00 pm
Next market stall: Saturday 19th January at Bellingen market
Market dates for 2019
Adelaide welcomes asylum seekers

A happy New Year to you all.
Let us hope that 2019 brings some hope for the 1200 refugees and asylum seekers who remain trapped on Manus and Nauru. Sadly, as the Federal election looms, it is more likely that the pain and suffering will continue, given that the Coalition continues to insist that it alone will be tough on “border protection” and the Labor party will continue to assert that it can be relied upon to be equally committed to the punitive agenda of (indefinite) offshore detention, combined with the refusal to allow any asylum seekers who arrived by boat to be resettled in Australia. As we have stated on many occasions before, our campaign to end the cruel policy of offshore detention and the demonization of asylum seekers will continue until this shameful policy is brought to an end. We hope that many of you will turn out to support the cause at our roadside demonstrations and markets throughout the year. And, in anticipation of our campaign continuing into the future, Santa delivered us a new roof for our market stall gazebo!
Roadside demonstration: Thursday 10th January in Bellingen. 2.30 to 4.00 pm
A reminder that our first roadside demonstration of 2019 will take place this Thursday on Waterfall Way in Bellingen.You will find us opposite the entrance to the golf club, adjacent to the Yellow Shed. Please come and join us if you can, and let’s show people that we are as committed as ever to ending the cruelty of offshore detention. If you are not able to attend this demonstration, then please note that we hold them fortnightly from 2.30 to 4.00 pm at four different venues. The venues for January and February are as follows:
Thursday 10th January: Waterfall Way, Bellingen
Thursday 24th January: Hogbin Drive, Toormina
Thursday 7th February: Big Banana, Coffs Harbour
Thursday 21st February: Pacific Highway, opposite the Base hospital, Coffs Harbour
Next market stall: Saturday 19th January at Bellingen market
Our first market stall of 2019 will be at the Bellingen market on Saturday 19th January from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. As usual, we’ll be handing out leaflets, encouraging people to sign our new open letter, chatting to market-goers and selling our merchandise on behalf of the Asylum Seekers Centre. If you can join us to help on the stall for an hour or two, then please let Mike know by emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com. Or just drop by to say hello and sign the letter.
Market dates for 2019
Saturday 19th January: Bellingen
Saturday 2nd February: Valla Beach
Sunday 24th February: Coffs Harbour
Saturday 16th March: Bellingen
Saturday 6th April: Valla Beach
Sunday 21st April: Coffs Harbour
Saturday 18th May: Bellingen
Saturday 1st June: Valla Beach
Sunday 23rd June: Coffs Harbour
Saturday 20th July: Bellingen
Saturday 3rd August: Valla Beach
Sunday 25th August: Coffs Harbour
Saturday 21st September: Bellingen
Saturday 5th October: Valla Beach
Saturday 16th November: Bellingen
Saturday 7th December: Valla Beach
Adelaide welcomes asylum seekers
Whilst our government redoubles its efforts to demonise refugees and asylum seekers, many Australians continue to welcome them with open arms, in the true Australian tradition of friendship and compassion. Every year, Adelaide Hills resident, Catherine Russell opens her doors to host new arrivals for a favourite Australian tradition, a barbecue. Catherine explains: “This is to make them feel welcome, make new friends and make them feel comfortable living in the Adelaide community.” The asylum seeker families were both grateful and enthusiastic in their responses to the hospitality provided by Catherine and her friends. Typical responses were: “When we left Nauru and came to Australia we were so excited, because we are safe now, my family are happy, my children are happy.”…”We want to be good people for Australia, we want to be useful.”…”We don’t want extra things. We just want to live.”
It is surely time for our politicians to start listening to the people of Australia, the majority of whom have made it clear that they want offshore detention and the cruelty towards asylum seekers and refugees to end.

Check out the index of subjects on our blog http://bellorar.blogspot.com.au
It includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians and newspapers.
This newsletter is sent to >620 recipients
(579 likes)
Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam
Email address bellingen.rar@gmail.com

The National RAR web site is at  www.ruralaustraliansforrefugees.org.au 
The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook



20.12.18

letter to Prime Minister signed by 1835 people


18th December 2018


Dear Prime Minister,


Please find enclosed an open letter to you, which has been signed by 1,835 people. The signatures have been collected by supporters of Rural Australians for Refugees in many communities across Australia. The letter reads:
“We, the undersigned, are well aware that the international community faces serious challenges in dealing with the millions of people around the world who have been forced to flee their country.
Detaining people indefinitely on remote islands, away from public scrutiny, however, can never be a part of the solution. More than 100 children remain on Nauru. Many of them have only known a life in detention. A large number of them have significant mental health issues. Current government policy is deliberately cruel, utterly inhumane, morally indefensible, and unsustainable. We have a humanitarian catastrophe on our hands which has been deliberately created to achieve political objectives.
We therefore call on your government to immediately evacuate all the children, men and women currently held on Nauru. They must be brought to Australia to receive appropriate care and resettlement here or eventually in other safe countries prepared to accept them. Enough is enough.”
We acknowledge that, since the launch of this open letter, the number of children on Nauru has been dramatically reduced, but we note, with dismay, that your government has spent some $480,000 in the courts during this financial year in a cruel attempt to prevent children coming to our shores for emergency medical treatment. That is truly reprehensible, and cannot possibly be justified. We can protect our borders without treating asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru and Manus with such cruelty and inhumanity.
It is surely time to bring this shameful chapter in our history to an end.

                                                                        Yours sincerely,

                                                                        Mike Griffin
                                    On behalf of Rural Australians for Refugees

18.12.18

Newsletter for 18 December 2018 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts


Roadside demonstration report
Labor Party Conference
Malala Yousafzai on our asylum policy
Bellingen and Nambucca District RAR: 2018

Roadside demonstration report
It was a very windy but dry day for our final roadside demonstration of 2018 in Coffs Harbour last Thursday. A great team of supporters turned out to remind people that our campaign to end offshore detention continues, and will not let up until all the refugees and asylum seekers are evacuated from Nauru and Manus. We had a great response from passing motorists at this very busy spot. Our first demonstration of 2019 will be on Thursday 10th January on Waterfall Way in Bellingen from 2.30 until 4.00 pm. Please come and join us if you can.

Labor Party Conference
At the time of writing, the ALP conference is about to debate the policy on asylum seekers which the party will take to the Federal election in 2019. The indications are that the party will continue the bipartisan approach to indefinite offshore detention, boat turnbacks and refusal to resettle in Australia any of the remaining 1200 people languishing on Nauru and Manus. This, in spite of the huge campaign, supported by millions of Australians, to end offshore detention and to resettle these refugees in Australia, New Zealand and in other safe countries willing to accept them. If this prediction proves to be correct, then we will need to redouble our efforts to convince the major parties that it is not necessary to punish people indefinitely on remote islands in order to keep our borders safe.

Malala Yousafzai on our asylum policy
Malala Yousafzai, the young Nobel Peace laureate, who is visiting Australia at the moment, compared the welcome that she and her family had received in various towns in Pakistan when they were forced to flee from the Taliban, with the treatment of asylum seekers in Australia. She explained: “Australia is a warm and welcoming country. And when you look at the immigration policies, they do not actually represent the people of Australia. Refugees want safety, they want homes, they want somebody to give them protection, and then suddenly you welcome them with hatred. You do not even allow them to land or set their feet in Australia...I hope that the people of Australia do stand up for refugees and show their true human side.” Malala reminded us that Pakistan had taken in millions of refugees from Afghanistan during the past four decades, simply because “we have always had this idea that hospitality is part of our culture, and if somebody has lost their home, no matter where they are coming from and what was the reason…your job as a human being is to welcome them, and to support them, and to open your homes and your hearts as well.”
We have a lot to learn.

Bellingen and Nambucca District RAR: 2018
This year has been an incredibly busy and productive time for our group. We have gone from strength to strength, increasing the number of supporters from 500 to 650, which is indicative of the strong public feeling that the cruelty and inhumanity of offshore detention should be brought to an end. We have organized four open letters and petitions during 2018, targeting both Coalition and Labor politicians. Just yesterday, we posted an open letter to the Prime Minister which had been signed by 1,835 people. At the sixteen markets that we have attended during the year, we have handed out thousands of leaflets, had many hundreds of conversations with market-goers and sold lots of merchandise to raise funds for the Asylum Seekers Centre. Our fundraising efforts for the ASC have included a film night, a music concert, lunches and auctions. In total, we have been able to donate $7,500 to the ASC this year, which is an amazing result. Our campaigning included a very successful and well-attended demonstration in Coffs Harbour to mark the five years since the Rudd government declared that no refugees or asylum seekers held on Nauru and Manus would ever be resettled in Australia. And, of course, we have held some 25 roadside demonstrations in Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Toormina which have been very important in raising public awareness about the plight of refugees and asylum seekers languishing in offshore detention. Add to that the hundreds of phone calls and letters to politicians, and letters to the local press, and you get a clear picture of the commitment of members of our group to raising awareness about the government’s cruel and inhumane asylum policy, and to demanding that both the government and the Labor opposition change their policies.
We hope too, that our weekly newsletter has been helpful to you in keeping you up to date with the plight of refugees and asylum seekers, both offshore and in Australia.
None of the above could have happened without the dedicated support of all those who have turned up to help at the markets, held banners at the roadside, attended our fundraisers, donated items for the two auctions that we have held, made phone calls, written letters and much besides. A huge thank for all your support.
We will now take a short break for the Christmas period. The next newsletter will appear in your inboxes on Tuesday 8thJanuary 2019. We hope that you enjoy some peace and rest with friends and families in the weeks ahead. We’ll return in the New Year to continue the fight up to and beyond the Federal election.

Check out the index of subjects on our blog http://bellorar.blogspot.com.au
It includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians and newspapers.
This newsletter is sent to >620 recipients
(579 likes)
Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam
Email address bellingen.rar@gmail.com

The National RAR web site is at  www.ruralaustraliansforrefugees.org.au 
The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook