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Newsletter for 13 March 2018 Rural Australians for Australia Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Roadside Demo - Coffs Base Hospital March 22th 2:30pm
Next market stall Bellingen Sat 17th March
Our donation to ASC
Harmony Festival Sun 25th March
SHEV - Another acronym
Border Force raids

Roadside demonstration report

Last Thursday’s roadside demonstration in Bellingen was a great success. There were eight of us in all, the sun finally shone and we had a huge and positive response from passing motorists. For the first time ever, we didn’t get a single negative response. Thank you Bellingen!  Our next demonstration will be in Coffs Harbour, by the side of the Pacific Highway, opposite the Base hospital, on Thursday  22nd Marchfrom 2.30 to 4.00 pm. Please try to join us if you can.

Market stall this Saturday at the Bellingen Community Market

Our next market stall is this coming Saturday, 17th March, from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. at the Bellingen Community market. You will find our stall at site C29, which is near to the stage – a great spot, with lots of passing traffic. As usual, we will be handing out leaflets, encouraging people to sign our open letter to Bill Shorten and selling our merchandise on behalf of the Asylum Seekers Centre. If you are able to join us for an hour or two to help out on the stall, then please let Mike know by emailing him at:

Our recent donation to ASC

We have just received a brief, but enthusiastic response from Danijela Spadina, the fundraising manager for ASC . Danijela writes: “Oh wow! How fantastic! And what a great result to raise $900. It sounds like you guys are doing incredible advocacy work in your community.”

Harmony Festival : Sunday 25th March, 9.30 am to 2.30 pm

A brief reminder about the Harmony Festival, which will take place in the Botanic Gardens, Coffs Harbour.  It will be a wonderful celebration of the journeys that people have made from across the world to make Coffs Harbour their home. You can look forward to an uplifting and joyful experience of music, dance and food from many countries.

SHEV : another acronym to conjure with

When the government legislated in December 2014 for the reintroduction of Temporary Protection Visas, it introduced a new class of visa, named the Safe Haven Protection Visa. As with the TPV, the visa is only issued once an asylum seeker’s claim for refugee status has been investigated and upheld. The conditions attached to the SHEV are similar to the TPV, but with several important differences. Firstly, the SHEV is issued for a five-year period, rather than three, secondly holders of a SHEV must reside and work, or study, in a designated regional area for a minimum of three and a half years of the five-year visa period, and thirdly, holders of SHEVS who meet the above conditions MAY  be eligible to apply for other classes of visa at the end of the period. Applications will be assessed based on the applicant’s ongoing need for protection.
In recent months, the proportion of refugees applying for SHEVs rather than TPVs, has increased significantly. It is clearly far too early to judge how well the programme will work.
It is important to note that the SHEV, like the TPV, is a temporary visa, and that there are no rights to family reunion.

Border force removes a refugee family from the community

Last week, the members of a Sri Lankan family  were forcibly removed for their home in Biloela, central Queensland, by a large contingent of police, ABF officers and Serco guards. They were given just ten minutes to collect their belongings , before being driven away in two separate vehicles to Gladstone, from where they were flown to Melbourne and taken to the Broadmeadows detention centre.  The family comprises Priya, her husband Nadesalingam, and their two daughters, one aged two, and the other one nine months. Both girls were born in Australia. Priya’s bridging visa had expired just a few days earlier, and she was working with a case officer to get it renewed. This is a well-respected family who have  been working hard to make Australia home.  A friend says “They were looking to enrol Kopiga into the kindergarten. Priya is a dedicated mum doing everything she could to help the kids. Nadesalingam is well-regarded at the meatworks. Everyone is shocked and outraged about the way they just came and swooped in and took the whole family. People are just appalled that this is happening in Australia, that people can be treated in this way. Everyone who had anything to do with this family wrote letters to the minister before Christmas asking for the family to be granted permanent protection.”
Once in detention in Melbourne, the parents begged not to be deported, but eventually, under severe pressure, were coerced into signing repatriation documents. If they are removed, then it will clearly not be voluntarily on their part. They will be returned under duress to a country where they have a well-founded fear of persecution.
Please phone Malcolm Turnbull’s office to protest and to demand that the family be allowed to remain in Australia. (02) 6277 7700 or (02) 9327 3988.

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