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Newsletter for 11 October 2016 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Roadside demonstration - Thursday 13th Toormina
Next market stall - Coffs Harbour 23rd
Our petition to parliament
Forgotten asylum seekers on Christmas Island

Our next roadside demonstration: Thursday 13th October, in Toormina

A reminder that our next roadside demonstration is this Thursday 13th October from 3.00 pm until 4.30 pm  in Toormina. We will be located on Hogbin Drive, on the opposite side of the road to the Sawtell  Garden Centre, towards the roundabout where Hogbin Drive meets Sawtell Road.  A good reference point is the fire station, which is located next to the roundabout, at the beginning of Hogbin Drive. It would be great to have a sizeable turnout for our demonstration, so if you could join us, we would be delighted to see you. Please email Robin at: to let him know that you plan to participate. We have lots of banners and placards to share.
Next market stall: Coffs Harbour, Sunday 23rd October

Our next market stall will be at the Coffs Harbourside market on Sunday 23rd October. As always, we are looking for help between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm. If you could give up an hour or so of your time to help out at the stall, that would be much appreciated. The markets are always pleasant occasions, and we never fail to meet a range of interesting people with their different insights into the current government policy on refugees and asylum seekers. If you are able to help, please let Mike know by emailing him at
Our petition to Parliament

We have finally sent off our latest petition to Parliament, signed by almost 1,400 people. The petitions have been sent, with an accompanying letter, to the Prime Minister. Copies of the letter, together with personal letters, have also been sent to Bill Shorten and to Richard Di Natale.
We collected just over 550 signatures at our regular market stalls, with the remainder coming from RAR groups around the nation. A great team effort! Let us hope that this continued pressure, which we intend to maintain, will finally have some tangible impact on Coalition and Labor policies.
The three letters are attached to this newsletter for your information. (shown in posts below)
The forgotten asylum seekers on Christmas Island

Whilst our main focus has always been on asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru and Manus, it is worth remembering that there is still a small number of asylum seekers languishing in indefinite detention on Christmas Island. Two refugee activists, Pamela Curr and Sister Brigid Arthur, visited the detention centre in August, and their report makes harrowing reading. There are about 30 male asylum seekers sprinkled among a detainee population of some 200, who Minister Dutton has described as “some of the country’s most hardened criminals”.
The two visitors interviewed 25 asylum seekers, and described a group of men who are “utterly without hope, almost all of them broken human beings”. Their situation is defined by loneliness, despair and fear of the other inmates. Many of them do not know why they were transferred to Christmas Island. Others had been charged with minor offences in Australia and had had their right to remain cancelled by the Minister. It is well-nigh impossible for them to get proper legal representation so far from the Australian mainland, making the risk of serious miscarriage of justice very real. They remain, therefore, in indefinite limbo, with no hope of  freedom or resettlement, and suffering serious mental harm.
Why do we continue to spend huge amounts of taxpayers’ money to treat people with such inhumanity?

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