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Newsletter for 28 November 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Roadside Demo - Big Banana Coffs Thursday December 7th 2:30pm
Next Market Stall - Valla Beach 2nd December
RAR annual get together Sunday 3rd December
Congratulations to Violet Roumeliotis
Bennelong - Trumble plays the race card
Manus Island tragedy continues

Roadside demonstration report

Another really successful demonstration in Toormina last week, with eleven supporters turning up to remind the public about the plight of our asylum seekers in offshore detention centres. A big thank you to all involved. The response from motorists was overwhelmingly positive, as always.
Our final roadside demonstration for 2017 will be on Thursday 7th December

 next to the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, from 2.30 until 4.00 pm. Let’s make the last one a big one, so please put the date in your diary!

Our next market: Saturday  2nd December at Valla Beach

A reminder that our final market stall for the year is this Saturday at Valla Beach market from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. A great opportunity for people to buy our asylum seeker T shirts, bags and tea towels for Christmas! We’ll be handing out leaflets, engaging with market-goers and collecting signatures on our petition, as usual. If you can help out for an hour or two (no previous experience required), then please email Mike to let him know.

Meeting and lunch: Sunday 3rd December, starting at 10.30 am

A final reminder that  our end of year meeting and lunch will be held at 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach next Sunday. We can still squeeze a few more people in, so if you would like to attend, then please let Mike know bySaturday at the latest by emailing him at:  There are two options for parking, either in Rogers Drive or the Robert Louden car park, which is just 80 metres from the house. In Rogers Drive, you can park in the driveway at number 39,  on the nature strip at the end of the drive, or the hard standing parking area opposite the house. Please don’t drive onto Mike’s newly-laid lawn!
Directions to Rogers Drive: Turn off the recently-named Giinagay Way into Valla Beach road. Proceed for 500 metres and, just before the water tower, take a left turn into Kuta Avenue. Proceed along Kuta Avenue for 450 metres, and  Rogers Drive is the third turning on the left. Proceed down Rogers Drive and you will find number 39 almost at the bottom of the hill on the left.
Directions to the Robert Louden car park.  Proceed along Valla Beach Road as above, but continue past Kuta Avenue  and take the next left into Henderson Street. Proceed down Henderson Street into Cockburn Street and at the bottom of the hill you will arrive in the car park. Take the path by the side of the house next to the car park, cross over a small footbridge and you will emerge into Rogers Drive. Number 39 is just a few metres up on the right.
We look forward to seeing you there.

Congratulations to Violet Roumeliotis

Last week, Violet Roumeliotis, the child of immigrant parents who came to Australia with nothing, was awarded the Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year for 2017.  She is the CEO of the not-for-profit organisation Settlement Services International, and under her leadership, the organisation aims to give voice to vulnerable Australians and raise awareness of the economic value of migration.Through its employment and enterprise efforts, 1185 people have gained work in the past 18 months.

Warehousing people on Nauru to cost   a million dollars a day

The latest government estimates show that Canstruct, the building company and Liberal party donor now engaged to run services for refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, will be paid $385 million over the next twelve months to continue the indefinite detention of the people who fled violence  and persecution in their home countries to seek a place of safety in Australia. It is clear that our government has every intention of continuing its policy of punishing innocent people, at great expense, for political ends. We must keep up our fight to bring this cruel and inhumane policy to an end.

Turnbull plays the race card in Bennelong

Unsurprisingly, but disgracefully, our Prime minister, just like John Howard before him, sought to gain some electoral advantage at the weekend in the Bennelong byelection by playing  the race card in an attempt to scare the voters. In Sydney he stated: “ Kristina Keneally wants us to bring all of those asylum seekers from Manus to Australia........When the boats start again, if Labor were ever to get back into government, how many of those asylum seekers is she going to bring to Bennelong?” It’s surely a sad indictment of the state of our nation when our political leaders think it appropriate to encourage voters to fear that the arrival of small number of people from Nauru and Manus  will change the world as we know it.

The Manus tragedy continues

The tragedy of lies, propaganda, and punishment continues on Manus, as the detainees are forcibly moved into new detention centres in the township of Lorengau. The evidence from phone footage and from witnesses makes it clear the the detainees offered no violence, and that they were mistreated by the police who removed them from the now-closed centre. We have been repeatedly told by Minister Dutton that all three relocation centres were ready for occupation, whilst conceding that perhaps the BBQ areas were not yet complete in one centre. It took the stark reality of Tim Costello standing in front of the building site which is the third centre to force a partial back down. By now we are all used to the blatant untruths from the minister, and to his regular vilification of all those who seek  to get to the truth and to hold the government to account for its brutal offshore detention regime. Following hard on the heels of the appeal from Doctors for Refugees, from former Australians of the Year, from the Australian Medical Association, we now have this week a group of some of Australia’s most senior clinicians offering to conduct free health assessments of the men held on Manus to ensure that they are not being deprived of their human rights. In their open letter, the eighteen clinicians say: “ We believe that the humanitarian issues take precedence over politics. This is a matter beyond immigration and border control but one that affects the health of people and others’ perceptions of our great nation.” The letter goes on to say: “All politicians regardless of their political party should respect the human right to health and themselves be advocate of “health for all” without discrimination.”
We congratulate these clinicians for standing up for the detainees on Manus.

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