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Newsletter for 2 May 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Roadside Demo - Thurs 4th May Big Banana 3pm
Offshore detention centres - who is responsible?
National RAR petition

Next Roadside Demonstration: The Big Banana: Thursday 4th May.

Our next fortnightly demonstration is this Thursday, 4th May in Coffs Harbour, next to The Big Banana, from 3.00 pm until 4.30 pm, weather permitting. Please consider joining us for the demonstration, given that these events are such a good way to get our message across about the evil policy of indefinite offshore detention. As always, we have lots of banners and placards to share.
Two weeks later, on Thursday 18th May, our demonstration will be in Nambucca Heads, by the side of the Pacific Highway, adjacent to the Plaza shopping centre.

Offshore Detention Centres: Who is responsible?

For  several years now, we have constantly been fed the line by our government that all aspects of the organisation and running of the detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island are the responsibility of the governments of Nauru and PNG. Numerous reports by international bodies have rejected this claim, reminding the Australian government that it cannot simply outsource its international and humanitarian responsibilities.This week, in response to enquiries about the serious outbreak of dengue fever on Nauru, which is affecting a significant number of detainees and refugees on the island, the Department of Immigration refused to comment, stating that the outbreak is “a matter for the government of Nauru.”
However, a Senate standing committee, which has recently delivered damning findings from a seven-month enquiry into allegations of abuse in offshore detention centres, firmly rejects the government’s deceitful stance. The report notes that the Australian government pays for all the costs associated with the detention centres, engages the contractors, owns all the major assets and is responsible for negotiating third-party resettlements.The report goes on to state that the government clearly has a duty of care for the asylum seekers and refugees transferred to Nauru and Manus Island, and “to suggest otherwise is fiction”.
The Greens stated that the establishment and operation of the regional processing centres is “a shameful chapter in Australia’s national story” and recommended that they be closed immediately, with the  asylum seekers and refugees brought to Australia.

National RAR Petition to close offshore detention centres

In recent months, we have collected some 350 signatures for the national RAR petition, which our group is coordinating. Petition sheets have been arriving in the post each day, and at the time of writing  we have approximately 3,000 signatures from many RAR  and refugee support groups around the country. We have decided to extend the deadline for the return of the petitions until the end of May, as they cannot be presented to Parliament until the sitting week of 13th- 19th June. The petition will be presented to Parliament by Lisa Chester, the Labor MP for Bendigo.
Please find attached a copy of the petition. If you could  print it off and collect signatures from family and friends, that would be much appreciated. Hard copies of the signed petitions (electronic copies are not permissible) can be returned to our market stall in Bellingen on 20th May, or posted to Mike Griffin –his details are on the sheet.

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