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13.12.19

Bello Nambucca RAR Newsletter 10th December 2019




Valla Beach market report

Bush, Beach and Bash update

Roadside demonstration: Thursday 12th December, Coffs Harbour

World Human Rights Day: Tuesday 10th December

Medevac laws repealed

Medevac. So, what is the “secret deal”?

Valla Beach market report
Saturday’s market was a busy event, with lots of people arriving to buy their fresh fruit and vegetables and hunt for Christmas presents. We had an excellent spot under the trees in a busy location and there were many visitors to our stall. People were very keen to sign our open letter to the Prime Minister, and many of them expressed their anger and despair at the repeal of the medevac legislation in the Senate last week. A big thank you to the thirteen supporters who turned up at different times to lend a hand. We remain a strong and resilient team!
This was our final market for 2019. We will post details of our market calendar for 2020 in the first newsletter of the new year, but in the meantime, you might like to put the Bellingen market on Saturday 18th January 2020 in your diary.

Bush, Beach and Bash update
Following last week’s social and fundraising event, we received a further $60 in donations from supporters who were unable to attend, bringing the total raised to $965. We’ll give you a final update on our 2019 fundraising for the Asylum Seekers Centre in next week’s newsletter.

Roadside demonstration: Thursday 12th December, Coffs Harbour
Our final roadside demonstration for the year will be this Thursday, 12th December, by the Pacific Highway in Coffs Harbour, opposite the base hospital, from 2.30 to 4.00 pm. Please join us if you can, to help us show our steadfast commitment to the refugees and asylum seekers in Australia and offshore who continue to suffer at the hands of our cruel government, which seems to be completely lacking in empathy and compassion.

World Human Rights Day: Tuesday 10th December
World Human Rights Day is a day that marks the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – a document which our government helped to write. Our nation signed up to uphold and protect the human rights of all people, including those who came here to seek asylum. Instead, our government’s punitive laws and policies are deliberately designed to humiliate and punish some of the most vulnerable people on the planet who fled their countries to seek safety and protection on our shores. Instead of helping them, we have created systems aimed at crushing their spirits, ruining their health and forcing many of them to return to danger, in clear contravention of our international obligations. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes:
Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Article 7. All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.
Article 14. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
It is clear, and deeply shameful, that our government is falling well short of the obligations that it entered into when it signed up to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Medevac laws repealed
Sadly, but perhaps predictably, Senator Lambie sided with the government last week, thereby allowing the repeal of the medevac legislation. Once again, it will be bureaucrats, rather than doctors, who will make decisions about whether or not a detainee on Nauru or in PNG should be transferred to Australia for medical treatment which cannot be adequately provided offshore.
All the evidence is that the medevac legislation was working exactly as it was meant to do. Lives have undoubtedly been saved. We now return to the previous regime, where deliberate delays are built into the system, and where the recommendations of doctors will be routinely overridden by bureaucrats in Canberra. As before, lawyers will have to intervene on behalf of patients, and, as before, the government will spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ money in the courts in futile attempts to prevent transfers. And for what, we are entitled to ask? The only explanation seems to be that the government simply wants to demonstrate, yet again, that it is tough on “border security”, that only the Coalition can keep us safe, and that Labor cannot be trusted. In the end, it is all about politics, and has nothing at all to do with the humane treatment of sick refugees, who are but pawns in their games. It is a truly shameful and tragic state of affairs.
Interestingly, four doctors on the Coalition benches voted for the repeal of the legislation, notwithstanding their professional obligations to do no harm and to treat sick people without discrimination. They are Dr Katie Allen, who is a paediatrician, Dr Fiona Martin, who is a psychologist, Dr David Gillespie and Dr Andrew Laming. They all voted to give the power to assess the medical condition of seriously ill people to non-medical professionals. A staggering example of the power of ideology and self-interest to usurp professional ethics.

Medevac. So, what is the “secret deal”?
Much has been made in recent days of the so-called secret deal between Senator Lambie and the government, which vehemently denies that any deal exists. The consensus seems to be that a deal to resettle some refugees in New Zealand is finally on the table. But the government has been shifting its position on the NZ offer for some time. From a position of “this is never going to happen”, we received a letter from the Director of Regional Processing and Resettlement on 4th October, in which he states: “Australia appreciates the offer from the New Zealand Government to resettle refugees, however we are focused on completing the larger arrangement with the United States.” It is therefore reasonable to conclude that, once the US resettlement programme has run its course, the government will finally engage with the New Zealand government to resettle refugees in NZ. However, it is important to note that, since last week, government ministers have constantly referred to “getting people off Nauru.” There is no mention of the several hundred men in PNG, which is deeply concerning. We need to be very alert to this, and be prepared to campaign strongly in the New Year to get all refugees on Nauru and in PNG to places of safety.


Check out the index of subjects on our blog http://bellorar.blogspot.com.au

It includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians and newspapers.

This newsletter is sent to >670 recipients


(579 likes)

Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam

Email address bellingen.rar@gmail.com


 

The National RAR web site is at  www.ruralaustraliansforrefugees.org.au 

The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook


7.12.19

Day of shame as Medevac repealed

The repeal of the Medevac legislation yesterday means that the refugees in PNG and Nauru will once again be left without medical treatment.
For over six years, the Coalition government has deliberately deprived refugees of medical treatment. Even during the operation of the Medevac Bill, they colluded with the Nauru government’s efforts to block people who had been approved for medical transfer. 
There has never been a connection between people seeking asylum and national security. The government simply wants total control over the lives of those they have imprisoned offshore.
But it cannot escape its responsibility for those they are holding offshore. 
Their willingness to use psychological and physical torture as part of their refugee policies is revealed by the mistreatment of over 40 asylum seekers being held on starvation rations and without phone or legal access in the Bomana detention facility in Port Moresby.
The government has no resettlement process. The US deal is almost exhausted. Around 70 refugees are still waiting in Port Moresby to be transferred to the US. Join us to protest this Saturday and as we continue fighting to demand all the asylum seekers and refugees in PNG and Nauru be brought to Australia and given the protection they asked for in 2013.

Refugee Action Coalition

Newsletter

5.12.19

Letter to Senator Lambie

Senator Lambie,

You should hang your head in shame. Today, you have agreed to allow bureaucrats, rather than medical professionals, to decide on whether or not people on Nauru or in PNG should be transferred to Australia for medical treatment.  Tonight, Morrison and Dutton will be popping the champagne, because, thanks to you, they have had a “win”! Is that what our politics has descended to? 

Will you be joining them?  I’m devastated, and I’m sure that there are many refugees on Nauru and in PNG who will now be thrown into even greater depths of despair. How will you feel when the next refugee commits suicide out of sheer desperation that nobody cares about their plight? I don’t think that I will sleep easily tonight. Will you?

Mike G.....

4.12.19

Raising funds for refugees. A Valla experience.

Raising funds for refugees with a pleasant social experience is proven strategy. It works in our rural society. Our group has raised well over a $1000 this year.




Thanks to Mike and Marlene for their hospitality. Thanks to all who have contributed to our fundraising and our voter education.

3.12.19

Gillian Triggs says 'vindictive point-scoring' behind Coalition's medevac repeal

 


The Coalition government’s campaign against the refugee medical evacuation laws is based on “mistruths” and “vindictive point-scoring”, the former president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs, says.

On Friday Triggs was appointed United Nations assistant high commissioner for protection, working with the UN high commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi.

Grandi said Triggs would bring “extensive expertise, knowledge and vast experience in international refugee protection” to the role.

In Triggs’ five-year term as AHRC president, which ended in 2017, she faced a combative government that took umbrage at her criticism of its treatment of refugees and asylum seekers held on Manus Island and Nauru.

Read complete The Guardian article

Bello Nambucca RAR Newsletter 3rd December 2019




 Roadside demonstration report
Bush, Beach and Bash report
Valla Beach market stall: Saturday 7th December
Life in Australia for Medevac transferees
Medevac and Senator Lambie

Roadside demonstration report

We had another successful roadside demonstration next to the Big Banana last Thursday, with lots of support from passing motorists. Our seven supporters were joined for a while by two students who had recently graduated from the Coffs Harbour Senior College. Their interest and enthusiasm was truly uplifting!
Our next demonstration, which will be our final one for 2019, will be by the Pacific Highway in Coffs Harbour, opposite the base hospital, on Thursday 12th December from 2.30 to 4.00 pm. We hope that many of you will try to get along to support us in reminding the public about our shameful treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.

Bush, Beach and Bash report

There was a great turn out of thirty supporters for our final fundraising event of the year on Sunday. Half of the group enjoyed a stroll around the Jagun nature reserve, led by John and Bronwyn who shared with us their great knowledge of the flora and fauna of the reserve. Somehow, we didn’t make it the beach! Lunch on the deck followed, and it was clear that everyone welcomed the opportunity to eat, drink and enjoy one another’s company until mid-afternoon. We raised an amazing $905 from donations and the raffle of a bottle of Veuve Cliquot. Together with the money raised from the recent sale of coins, other donations and sales at our market stall, it looks as if we will far exceed our 2019 fundraising target of $10,000 for the Asylum Seekers Centre. We will let you know the total amount for the year in our final newsletter of 2019 on 17th December.



Valla Beach market stall: Saturday 7th December

Our final market stall for 2019 will be at the popular Valla Beach market on Saturday 7th December from 9.00 am until 1.00 pm. We’ll be collecting signatures on our open letter to the Prime Minister, handing out information leaflets and selling merchandise to raise funds for the Asylum Seekers Centre. Please drop by to sign the letter if you are visiting the market. If you can help out at our stall for an hour or two, then please let Mike know by emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com. New volunteers are always very welcome. 

Life in Australia for Medevac transferees

At this critical point in the government’s efforts to repeal the Medevac legislation, it is worth remembering that the Coalition has always been opposed to the transfer of sick refugees to Australia from offshore detention, and has spent large sums of taxpayers’ money attempting to block transfers over a number of years through the courts, but to no avail. The courts have routinely ordered the transfer of sick people, accompanied by family members, on the grounds that their medical needs – most often mental health problems – could not be met offshore. Once the refugees are here, lawyers intervene to prevent their return to the punishing regime from which they have been transferred. Since the start of 2016, only about eight people have been returned to offshore detention, much to Minister Dutton’s chagrin.
But what is life like in Australia for this group of people? The reality is that they live in fear of being returned offshore, they have few rights, and many restrictions on their lives. Most of those transferred remain in community detention and are subject to curfews, restrictions on their movements and the requirement to report weekly to the authorities – much like alleged criminals on bail. It is not surprising that they are often unable to overcome the sense of worthlessness that offshore detention instils. Academic and journalist Saba Vasefi explains: “Poor rehabilitative services and deprivation from civil engagement are two major components which contribute to refugees’ disempowerment.” People’s fear and uncertainty breeds anxiety and prolonged illness. One refugee reported: “Two days ago, my sister called my caseworker and she said: “you might get sent back to Nauru,” and so then again we get depressed.”
Nicolas Procter, professor of mental health nursing at the University of South Australia, has been working with asylum seekers for 25 years and advises governments on health and suicide prevention programmes for refugees. He says: “It takes time for people, particularly who have been in some cases in excruciating distress and despair, to be able to talk about that, to be able to bring about a calmer sense of self in all of that experience. That’s one of the real-world issues that this at-times-fragile and vulnerable group are in need of.” Unsurprisingly, professor Procter says that removing the threat of being returned to Nauru or PNG would help patients’ recovery. He adds: “Many people are dealing with such tremendous amounts of uncertainty that is linked to excruciating states of distress. If you want to rock somebody’s mental health, give them a dose of uncertainty and that will do it.”
There is clearly an urgent need for the government to treat these sick people with humanity and sensitivity, to manage their medical problems appropriately and to reassure them that they will not be returned to the terrible situation on Nauru and in PNG. We need a compassionate, safe, and permanent solution for these people, so that they can finally have some sense of security and, with support, rebuild their shattered lives.

Medevac and Senator Lambie

At the time of writing, we are still in the dark about Senator Lambie’s voting intention in relation to the government’s bid to repeal the Medevac legislation. She has stated that she will back the government provided that it meets her demand for a quid pro quo which she refuses to disclose as it is a “national security issue.” It has been widely speculated that she will back the government provided that it agrees to take up the New Zealand government’s offer to resettle 150 refugees, but this has neither been confirmed nor denied. Senator Lambie has been under huge pressure to do the right thing, namely to refuse to support the repeal of the legislation, from a wide range of organisations and citizens. It seems that only the Coalition, supported loudly by its friends in the Murdoch press, is keen to see the Medevac legislation repealed. Most Australians, according to a recent Guardian poll, back the legislation in its current form, or believe that it should be more compassionate. Only 22% of respondents believe that the current legislation weakens Australia’s borders. But that has not stopped Senator Mathias Cormann from spouting the usual government nonsense, stating on Monday: “Each individual senator has to make a decision: whether they stand on the side of stronger national security or weaker national security.”
It is very likely that the repeal bill will be tabled in the Senate this week. We can only hope, for the sake of the sick refugees, that the government suffers another defeat.

 
Check out the index of subjects on our blog http://bellorar.blogspot.com.au
It includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians and newspapers.
This newsletter is sent to >670 recipients
(579 likes)
Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam
Email address bellingen.rar@gmail.com

 
The National RAR web site is at  www.ruralaustraliansforrefugees.org.au 
The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook

30.11.19

November 28 rally in Coffs Harbour

Australians are becoming more and more receptive to giving refugees a fair go. Certainly this rally outside the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour drew many positive responses from motorists.

Six years too long.




27.11.19

Bello Nambucca RAR Newsletter 26th November 2019

Roadside demonstration: Thursday 28th November by the Big Banana
Our next market stall: Valla Beach, Saturday 7th December
B, B and B: directions to 39, Rogers Drive
Coin collection bonanza
Craig Foster speaks out for Medevac


Roadside demonstration: Thursday 28th November by the Big Banana
A reminder that our next roadside demonstration is on Thursday 28th November from 2.30 until 4.00 pm by the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour. Please consider joining us if you can. These demonstrations make a significant impact, and are a great way of promoting our message of compassion and justice for refugees. 

 





Our next market stall: Valla Beach, Saturday 7th December
A reminder that our final market stall of the year will be at the Valla Beach market on Saturday 7th December from 9.00 am until 1.00 pm. As usual, we’ll be engaging with market-goers, handing out leaflets, asking people to sign our open letter to the Prime Minister, and selling merchandise to raise funds for the Asylum Seekers Centre. If you can help out for an hour or two, then please let Mike know by emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com

B, B and B: directions to 39, Rogers Drive
A final call for our fundraiser and social on Sunday 1st December, commencing at 11.30 am. The details of the event can be found in any of the newsletters of the past four weeks, which are on our blog.

Directions:
Turn off Giinagay way onto Valla Beach Road. Proceed for 450 metres, and take the turning on the left into Kuta Avenue, just before the water tower. Proceed along Kuta Avenue for 450 metres, and Rogers Drive is the third turning on the left. Proceed down the hill, and you will find number 39 almost at the end of the road on your left. There is plenty of parking on the driveway, and some off-street parking on both sides of Rogers Drive.

Coin collection bonanza
A few weeks ago, one of our supporters generously donated a coin collection to us, in the hope that it might be of some value. Following some research, and contacts with dealers in Sydney and elsewhere, we catalogued those coins in the collection which we thought would have some value. The work paid off, and a visit to a coin dealer in Lismore resulted in a receipt for $1,809, which will be donated to the Asylum Seekers Centre, together with the funds that we expect to raise at our social on 1st December. How good is that? Almost all the coins were silver Australian florins, shillings and sixpences, with a high, and therefore valuable, silver content. A huge thank you to our very generous donor, who wishes to remain anonymous.
If anyone is interested, we still have just over 100 silver coins from New Zealand and Great Britain which we would like to dispose of. If you have an interest in these coins, or know somebody who might want to purchase them, then please let Mike know by emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com



Craig Foster speaks out for Medevac
Former Socceroos’ captain and sports broadcaster Craig Foster has spoken out passionately about the need to retain the current Medevac legislation, declaring that people in offshore detention are now “long past any threshold of torment a human should suffer.” He has visited Port Moresby recently and has seen at first hand the suffering of the asylum seekers and refugees. He commented: “The physical and psychological torment from almost seven years of detention is difficult for most of us to truly understand. I implore anyone involved to uphold the basic right of humans to access adequate care. In relation to the Medevac legislation, he had this to say: “I invite all MPs to come with me to meet those directly affected by our decisions- there are real people at the end of each clause, flesh and blood resting on every vote.”
The Medevac repeal Bill is finally due to be considered by the Senate tomorrow, Wednesday 27th November. As you will know from earlier newsletters, the vote of Senator Jacqui Lambie is absolutely crucial. Her vote is likely to determine whether the legislation stays in place, or is repealed. Could you therefore please make one final push to urge her NOT to support the government’s attempts to repeal the legislation. Remind her that the law is working well. It is about duty of care and providing support for people for whom Australia has responsibility. It is saving lives.
Senator Lambie’s contact details are: senator.lambie@aph.gov.au. Telephone: 02 6277 3614.


Check out the index of subjects on our blog http://bellorar.blogspot.com.au
It includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians and newspapers.
This newsletter is sent to >670 recipients
(579 likes)
Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam
Email address bellingen.rar@gmail.com

 
The National RAR web site is at  www.ruralaustraliansforrefugees.org.au 
The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook

20.11.19

Bello Nambucca RAR Newsletter 19th November 2019

Not the roadside demonstration report
Bellingen market report
Have you signed up yet for B, B and B on Sunday 1st December?
Behrouz Boochani is finally free

Not the roadside demonstration report
Unfortunately, due to the smoke haze in Coffs Harbour on Thursday, we had to cancel our planned demonstration by the Big Banana. We did contact everyone who we thought might be planning to attend, and do sincerely apologise if anyone was inconvenienced.
Our next demonstration will be at the same location – by the Pacific Highway beneath the Big Banana - on Thursday 28th November from 2.30 until 4.00 pm. We do hope that you will consider coming to join us if you can. 

Bellingen market report
We had an excellent time at the Bellingen market on Saturday, with eleven supporters turning up at different times to lend a hand. We were in a really good spot, with lots of market-goers passing our stall, enabling us to collect more than 200 signatures on our open letter, engage in many fruitful conversations, and collect a number of generous donations for the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown. A big thank you to our team of supporters and to Kaz and the market crew for allocating us a site at such a busy junction.
Our next stall will be at the Valla Beach market on Saturday 7th December from 9.00 am until 1.00 pm. If you can help out for an hour or two, then please let Mike know by emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.

Have you signed up yet for B, B and B on Sunday 1st December?
Our final fundraiser of the year is now less than two weeks away, and we would be so pleased if you would indicate soon that you are planning to attend. You can revisit the full details in the newsletters for the past three weeks, which you can access by clicking on the link to our blog at the end of this newsletter. Briefly, for the benefit of our new supporters who signed up at the Bellingen market, the plan is to gather at 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach at 11.30 am on 1st December. We’ll have a gentle walk through the Jagun nature reserve and along the beach, before returning to the house for lunch at about 12.30 pm. Drinks will be provided, and you are asked to bring a plate to share if you can, and to donate $20 towards our $10,000 target for the Asylum Seekers Centre. Please let Mike know soon if you are planning to attend, which we hope you will. Email: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com. If you don’t feel like the Bush and Beach parts, just arrive at 12.30 pm or earlier for lunch.
Directions will be provided in next week’s newsletter.

Behrouz Boochani is finally free
So many people at the Bellingen market were overjoyed to learn that Behrouz Boochani had arrived in New Zealand from PNG on Thursday, after spending more than six years in offshore detention. Many of you will have read his award-winning book: “No Friend but the Mountains”, in which he depicts his experiences of his flight from Iran and his life in detention. He was able to obtain travel documents to leave PNG to give a presentation to the Christchurch writers’ festival later this month, and was warmly welcomed with a civic reception in Christchurch. He has a temporary one-month visa, but, unsurprisingly, he has vowed never to return to PNG. A New Zealand government MP Golriz Ghahraman, who, like Behrouz Boochani is a Kurdish refugee from Iran, had this to say: “I’m just so proud that New Zealand gets to stand as the counterpoint to the kind of politics that has led to Australia’s prison camps being in operation for so long. We’ve got a man like this, a human being, trapped for six years, and we get to be the country that stands for inclusion and for human rights and for freedom.” Asked if she had a message for the Australian government, Ghahraman said: “Close the camps…they amount to torture. It’s time the Australian government acts like a good international citizen.”
The contrast between the actions of the New Zealand government and the cruel and punitive policy of the Australian government could not be starker.
Labor senator Kristina Keneally, the party’s immigration spokesperson, issued a statement welcoming Behrouz Boochani’s freedom, but he was, rightly, having none of it, describing her statement as “shameful,” and reminding her that it was a Labor government that had exiled him and many others to Manus, and that her party has supported the Coalition’s offshore detention policy ever since. He told her: “If you are honest, do something for others who are suffering in PNG and Nauru. In my view, anyone who supports the policy is a criminal and a terrorist.”
Let us hope that Behrouz will finally be able to rebuild his life in New Zealand or the USA, where he has been accepted for resettlement. He has so much to offer, as undoubtedly have so many other people who we have left in limbo on Nauru and in PNG for purely political purposes.

 


Check out the index of subjects on our blog http://bellorar.blogspot.com.au
It includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians and newspapers.
This newsletter is sent to >670 recipients
(579 likes)
Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam
Email address bellingen.rar@gmail.com

 
The National RAR web site is at  www.ruralaustraliansforrefugees.org.au 
The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook