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letter and petition to Prime Minister

Dear Mr Turnbull,

Please find enclosed the details of the  830 people who have recently signed the petition organised by the Bellingen and Nambucca District Rural Australians for Refugees. The petition reads:
"We, the undersigned, call on the Australian government to urgently review its asylum seeker policy. 
Specifically, we urge the government:
·       to take the necessary steps to close the offshore detention centres on Manus and Nauru as a matter of urgency.
·       to resettle in Australia all asylum seekers who are found to be entitled to protection under international law.

In the meantime, we urge the government to end the secrecy surrounding the  operation of the centres and to allow reasonable access by UN agencies, relevant NGOs and journalists."

We are two relatively small communities,  but the support for our campaign to seek an end to the cruel and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers and refugees on Manus and Nauru grows stronger by the day. We have long since lost count of the number  of  people who tell us that they feel ashamed to be Australian. 

They are angry and ashamed that our government continues to punish these vulnerable and traumatised people, who have committed no crime and who have a right to our protection under international law. We utterly reject the government's recent assertion that, as the gates of the Nauru detention centre are now open, these asylum seekers are now "free" and that life has somehow changed for them. Life has not changed for them in any significant way, and it is disingenuous of the government to assert otherwise. These people live in an open prison, in unacceptable conditions, from which there is no escape, and they have been offered  no hope for the future.

We urge you to do the right thing and to make a serious commitment to bringing this shameful situation to an end in the months ahead. We would, of course, be happy to meet with you or one of your senior colleagues if you are planning to visit the Mid North Coast in the near future.
                                                                                                Yours sincerely,

                                                                                                 Mike Griffin

                                                                        Bellingen and Nambucca District RAR

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