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Newsletter for 9 January 2018 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Welcome back
Next Roadside Demo - Bellingen Thursday January 11th 2:30pm
Next Market Bellingen Sat 20th
Fundraiser film showing Sunday March 4th
Film festival in Coffs
Our Glorious Leaders Christmas message

Welcome back!

We hope that you have enjoyed a relaxing break with family and friends in recent weeks.  We start the New Year as we ended the old one, with up to 2,000 refugees and asylum seekers still languishing in indefinite detention , and seemingly largely forgotten. The government’s cruel and cynical policy of “out of sight, out of mind,” seems to be working well in recent weeks. Hopefully, at some point in January, approximately 60 refugees from Manus island and 130 from Nauru will leave these hell-holes for the US.

Roadside demonstration: Thursday 11th January: Bellingen 2.30 to 4.00 pm

Our first roadside demonstration for 2018 is this Thursday in Bellingen, from 2.30 pm until 4.00 pm. Maybe you made a New Year’s resolution to join us this year! You will find us on Waterfall Way, near the Yellow Shed, opposite the entrance to the golf club. It would be great to welcome some new supporters, as quite a number of our usual crew are still away on holiday. These demonstrations are such a good way of showing our solidarity with Australia’s refugees and asylum seekers, and also help remind the public that the issue is not going away.

Our first market of 2018: Bellingen, Saturday 20th January 9.00 am to 1.30 pm

Our first market will be held at the Bellingen community market on Saturday 20th January, and we are looking for help between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm. If you can lend a hand for an hour or two, please let Mike know by emailing him at: We’ll be handing out new leaflets to market- goers, engaging with them about the government’s and the opposition’s asylum policy and encouraging people to sign our new open letter, which is addressed to Bill Shorten, the Leader of the Opposition. If you are not able to help out, then please drop by for a chat and  to  sign the letter.

Special Fundraiser film screening : Bellingen Memorial Hall: Sunday 4th March at 2.00 pm

We have organised a  screening of Hope Road on Sunday 4th March, starting at 2.00 pm, to raise funds for the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown. The film is a moving and emotional refugee story. It lifts the veil on what life can be like for a refugee caught between two worlds. Like many others who are forced to flee their homeland, Zacharia – a Sudanese refugee living in south-west Sydney – wants to give something back and improve the lives of people he left behind. Zac’s dream is to build a much-needed school in his home village, now part of the new nation of South Sudan. He enlists the backing of an eager band of Aussie supporters who join him on a 40-day charity walk to raise funds for this venture. But life disrupts the best-laid plans, and Zac has to draw on all his resources to keep the dream alive.
Please put the date in you diary and come along with family and friends to enjoy the film, and to help raise funds for the ASC.  Tickets are $15, concessions $12. Pay at the door.

The SWIFF film festival comes to Coffs Harbour: 10th to 25th January

This festival includes a most interesting mix of films to enjoy, including The Staging Post, which follows the refugee community of Cisarua in Indonesia as they defy the restrictions that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has placed on any and all organised groups in order to create a learning centre for refugee children. Special guest Muzafar Ali will be in attendance for this film, which will be shown at the Jetty Theatre on Thursday 18th January, starting at 7.30 pm.
Further details of the festival program can be found at:

The Prime Minister’s Christmas message

On Christmas Eve, the Prime Minister appeared on national television and told us all, with a straight face: “please remember those who need our love and support now more than any other time...” He did not, of course, mention the refugees suffering indefinitely in offshore and onshore detention as a direct and intended consequence of government policy.  But it’s never too late to tell the Prime Minister what you think about the government’s asylum policy, and it only takes a couple of minutes. You can  email him by Googling “contact the prime minister” and following the links, or you can phone his office on 02 9327 3988. You will find an example of a letter on our blog. Just click on the link for the blog at the bottom of this newsletter.

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