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Newsletter for 18 October 2016 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Roadside demonstration report - Thursday 13th Toormina
Next market stall - Coffs Harbour Sunday 23rd
How much does secrecy cost?

Our recent roadside demonstration in Toormina

Unfortunately the weather was unkind to us last Thursday when seven of us braved the wind and the rain to publicise our messages about offshore detention. We stuck it out for three quarters of an hour before calling it a day. That apart, we had lots of very positive responses from passing motorists, many of whom were on the school run, so hopefully we  generated some conversation topics between parents and their children.
Our next roadside demonstration will be on Thursday 27th October  outside the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour between 3.00 pm and 4.30 pm. Please put the date in your diaries and  join us if you can. Let’s make this one a big one to make up for the disappointment of Toormina. And let’s hope that the sun shines!
Next Market: Harbourside Market, Coffs Harbour, Sunday 23rd October

Our next market is this coming Sunday, 23rd October, in Coffs Harbour. Mike and John (now that he is home from his six-week holiday in South Africa) will be setting up our stall at 7.00 am and are hoping that people will join them for an hour or so between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm. If you can help out, please email Mike at:  to let him know the time that you plan to arrive. A great opportunity for you to show that you care about asylum seekers, to engage in discussion with others and to enjoy the occasion. As you will be aware from last week’s newsletter, our petition containing almost 1400 signatures has now been sent to the Prime Minister. At this market and at others up until December, therefore, we will be inviting people to sign an open letter to our local MP, Luke Hartsuyker, calling on him to represent the views of his many constituents who are calling for an end to the government’s cruel and unlawful asylum policy.
How much does it cost not to tell us about offshore detention?

We already know that the government spends approximately $500,000 per year for each asylum seeker or refugee currently held in indefinite detention. We also know that the government goes to great lengths to keep the whole operation secret, on the basis that the less we know about the brutal treatment of asylum seekers, the less we are likely to agitate about it. But if it’s all so secret, why does the government spent such a lot of money “explaining” things to us?  Minister Dutton, it turns out, employs a veritable army of spin doctors, media monitors, communications staff and external consultants. The Minister’s department has 82 communications staff, 22 of whom are dedicated to “24/7 media operations”. The Minister himself has three ministerial media officers. The total bill for not telling us about what is going on cost the taxpayer in excess of $9 million last year.

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