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Newsletter for 21 November 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Market Stall - Valla Beach Sat 2nd December
Next Roadside Demo - Hogbin Drive Toormina Thursday November 23rd 2:30pm
RAR annual get together Sunday 3rd December
Manus Island standoff continues

Bellingen market report

Our market on Saturday in Bellingen was a huge success in every way. We were out in force – a total of fourteen supporters  helped out at various times throughout the morning -  and we interacted with hundreds of market-goers. Normally at our markets we hope to get between 50 and 100 signatures on our petition. On Saturday, people were literally queuing up to add their signatures and to express their anger and dismay about the cruelty and lack of compassion of our politicians.  We collected an amazing 300+ signatures, which is unprecedented, and we sold more than $250 worth of merchandise. Our success was not just a result of our very active presence, handing out leaflets to everyone who would accept them, though that was clearly very important. It was surely also about the fact that, during the past two weeks, we have finally had significant coverage on television  and in the media about the terrible situation on Manus island, something which the government has sought to hide from public view. The Australian people have at last  been presented with some evidence of the cruelty of our government’s policy, and they don’t like what they see. All the more reason for us to keep up the pressure. The tide may be turning!
Our next market, which will be our final one in 2017, will be at Valla Beach market on Saturday 2nd December, from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. If you can help out for an hour or two, then please let Mike know by emailing him

Next roadside demonstration: Thursday 23rd November , Toormina, 2.30 to 4.00 pm

A reminder that our next roadside demo is this Thursday, in Toormina. You will find us at our usual spot on Hogbin  Drive, opposite what used to be the Sawtell nursery, about 75 metres from the roundabout. Please come and join us if you can to help us keep up the pressure on our politicians. We have lots of banners and placards to share.
Our final roadside demo for 2017 will be in Coffs Harbour, next to The Big Banana on Thursday 7th December from 2.30 to 4.00 pm.

Meeting and lunch: Sunday 3rd December from 10.30 am

Have you booked your spot yet?
A reminder that we are planning a meeting and social get-together on Sunday 3rd December at 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach. This is an invitation to all our 500+ supporters, and we hope that a good number of you will want to attend. There will be the opportunity to discuss what we have done and achieved in 2017, and to explore activities for 2018. Following the meeting, we’ll have a relaxing lunch together on the back deck. Please bring a plate to share. If you are intending to come along, then it’s important to let Mike know by emailing him at:

The Manus stand-off continues

It is now three weeks since the PNG authorities cut off the water, food, services and medical support for the detainees in the Lombron detention centre, in an effort to coerce the men into relocating to Lorengau. The physical and mental health of the detainees must be deteriorating as each day goes by. The New Zealand government has repeated its offer to take 150 refugees, but the offer has again been turned down by the Australian government, which on the one hand acknowledges that the two sovereign governments of PNG and NZ can negotiate an agreement to resettle refugees in NZ , but in the next breath hints darkly about possible repercussions. Sadly, the PNG and NZ governments seem  to have backed down in the face of the veiled threats issued by minister Dutton.
Meanwhile, hard on the heels of the letter from Doctors for Refugees, which we reported on last week, the Australian Medical Association’s federal council has voted unanimously to call on the government to grant access to the Manus detention centre so that doctors can assess the men’s health, well-being and living conditions, stating that: “with a worsening and more dangerous situation emerging on Manus, the federal council believes that urgent action and answers are needed”.
If you haven’t yet made contact with politicians to protest at the government’s cruel intransigence (and the opposition’s support for government policy), it’s certainly not too late, and only takes a couple of minutes. Simply tell them that:
  • the treatment of the men on Manus is cruel and unconscionable.
  • there is ample evidence that the Lorengau township is not a safe place for the refugees, and that they are right to be afraid.
  • the New Zealand offer of resettlement should be accepted immediately.
  • the Australian people have a right to know what is happening in relation to the possible resettlement of refugees in the US.
  • all offshore detention centres should be closed immediately and the refugees and asylum seekers should be brought to Australia for processing and resettlement.
Telephone numbers:
Prime Minister Turnbull: (02) 6277 7700 and (02) 9327 3988
Opposition Leader Shorten: (02) 6277 4022 and (03) 9326 1300
Minister Dutton: (02) 6277 7860 and (07) 3205 9977
MP Hartsuyker (02) 6277 4482 and (02) 6652 6233

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