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Newsletter for 6 February 2018 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Market - Coffs Harbourside Sun 18th February
Lunch with RAR president
Fundraiser film showing 4th March
Next Roadside Demo - Toormina Thursday February 8th 2:30pm
New DVD available to share
We are insured! 
Disgraceful government actions exposed

Valla Beach market report

What can we say? On the day that our national president was scheduled to join us at the market, Mike duly arrived to set up at 6.45 am and within five minutes the heavens opened and he got a thorough soaking! The market organisers then understandably decided to call the whole thing off, as very few stallholders had turned up. Apologies to anyone who arrived expecting to see us and to meet our president. Our next market stall will be at the Coffs Harbourside market  on Sunday 18th February from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. You will find us back by the jetty, now that the refurbishment of the park has been completed. Let’s hope that the sun shines! If you can help out for an hour or two, please let Mike know by email at:

Lunch with our national president

We were delighted to welcome our national president, Marie Sellstrom  to meet local RAR supporters at the weekend. Ten of our members joined us on the back deck for lunch on Sunday and we had a most productive and enjoyable time. Lots of ideas to share and experiences to relate, which will no doubt influence our future planning both at local and national level. Marie had travelled from Mansfield in Victoria, meeting groups in various locations on the way, before leaving us to travel to Ballina for a meeting with several groups who were coming together for the occasion. We were all full of admiration for her dedication and commitment to the refugee cause.

Reminder about the fundraiser filming of Hope Road

Please don’t forget that on Sunday  4th March at 2.00 pm we will be showing the film Hope Road at the Bellingen Memorial Hall.  This is a fundraising event, and all profits will be donated to the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown. It’s a film of inspiration and hope which tells the story of a Sudanese refugee and the ambitious project he undertook to build a village school in his home town in South Sudan. Please come and join us, and bring your family and friends.

Roadside demonstration: Thursday 8th February from 2.30 to 4.00 pm

Our next roadside demonstration is this Thursday, 8th February in Toormina. You will find us at our usual location on Hogbin Drive, just down from the fire station and almost opposite what used to be the Sawtell nursery.  We have lots of banners and placards to share, but we really do need a few more helping hands to hold them up! Please try to join us if you can, as these demonstrations are important in bringing the issue of our government’s dreadful treatment of asylum seekers and refugees to the public’s attention.

A new DVD available to share

We have recently purchased a copy of an outstandingly good DVD, entitled Freedom Stories. The documentary film takes a considered and poignant approach to the lives and achievements of former “boat people” who now call Australia home. The stories are about people who arrived from the Middle East around 2001, some of them just children. It’s an excellent and moving documentary. If you would like to borrow it to view it at home, then let Mike know so that we can arrange a handover. You might want to watch it with a group of friends. The copy we have purchased is licensed for public viewing, so if anybody out there would like to organise a showing in your local hall or school, that would be great. First come, first served! Email Mike at :

We are now insured

From time to time, supporters have expressed some concern about our lack of third party insurance, particularly for our roadside demonstrations and market stalls. We are pleased to let you know that, as of 1st February, we are now covered through a policy taken out by the national RAR committee on behalf of all RAR groups, something that we have been urging for some time. It will cost us just $60 per annum and will cover us for all the events that we organise, from markets and demonstrations, to auctions and other fundraising events. Rock climbing and bungee jumping are not covered!

Minister Morrison’s callous actions exposed

Revelations from supposedly secret (filing) cabinet documents describe just how far our government is prepared to go to prevent legitimate refugees from settling in Australia. The documents reveal that Morrison, who was the immigration minister at the time, attempted to lean on the security services to delay the final security clearances of 700 refugees in order to prevent them from receiving permanent visas. At the time, the government was rushing through legislation to replace permanent protection visas, to which these refugees would have been entitled, with temporary visas, thereby throwing hundreds of people into a state of limbo. The Refugee Advice and Casework Service explains how this action by the minister impacted on an individual client. “Mehdi (not his real name) was one of those people. he fled Afghanistan to escape the Taliban and in 2013 was assessed in Australia and found to be a refugee. Scott Morrison’s cruel instructions to delay the finalisation of his visa meant that he missed out on being granted permanent protection. It has torn his family apart. Mehdi’s wife and 3 young children are still living as refugees in Pakistan – their safety was the very reason he fled Afghanistan. His youngest child has never met him, and under current Australian law, they will never be able to live together here.”
We must keep up our campaigning to bring this cruelty and inhumanity to an end.

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