Click on subject of interest shown on the right under the heading "labels" to see all relevant posts

To look at letters (and some replies) sent to politicians and newspapers, scroll down the index on the right hand side and select the appropriate heading.

Note the blog allows multiple labelling and all letters to politicians are under "letters to pollies".

If you scroll down and cannot go further, look out for icon "Older Posts". Click on that to continue


Newsletter for 18 February RAR Bellingen and Nambucca

Our RAR stall will be held at Community Markets on alternate months at Valla Beach and Bellingen Community Markets

The next stall will be held at Bellingen Community Markets on Saturday 21 MARCH, not February

This newsletter is stored her for archive purposes. To read the complete newsletter click below

We would like to remind our supporters that our next market stall is in Bellingen on  Saturday 21st March and that we are still looking for volunteers, who should contact RAR or Mike Griffin 6569 5419 in the next week or so. 

In April the stall will be at Valla Beach Community Markets on Saturday 4 April.

Protest to remember death of Reza Barati, murdured on Manus Island 12 months ago

15 protesters met ouside Luke Hartsuykers office on 17 February and marched with placards around the centre of Coffs harbour CBD. Very positive reactions from the shoppers.

bannerjpg i.jpg
​link to radio interview with ABC local radio is on the Facebook or

Human Rights Commission "Forgotten Children Report" resume

The Forgotten Children: A Report by the Australian Human Rights Commission.  November 2014

The Human Rights Commission's report, delivered to the Government in November 2014, was finally tabled in parliament  on 11th February 2015. The Government  delayed publishing the report until the last day available under parliamentary convention.

Not only did the Government sit on the Report for three months, it made strenuous efforts in the interim to discredit its author, Professor Gillian Triggs, in a series of briefings and commentary, aided and abetted by its friends in the media. Worse still, it even attempted to force Professor Triggs'  resignation two weeks prior to the tabling of the Report in parliament.

Characteristically, and disgracefully, the Prime Minister, rather than dealing with the serious issues in the Report when it came before  Parliament, instead attacked both its findings and the Report's author. He accused professor Gillian Triggs of  "a blatantly partisan politicised exercise and the Human Rights Commission ought to be ashamed of itself". He suggested that the Commission would have been better advised to send a congratulatory message to Scott Morrison for stopping the boats. The Labor Opposition, who were the instigators of this shameful indefinite mandatory detention policy, and who come in for much criticism in the Report, remained silent.

What does the Report tell us?
·       that immigration detention is a dangerous place for children.
·       that indefinite detention breaches the human right not to be detained arbitrarily.
·       that both Chris Bowen MP and Scott Morrison MP  agreed on oath before the Committee of Enquiry  that  holding children in detention does not deter either asylum seekers or people smugglers.
·        that no satisfactory rationale for the prolonged detention of children seeking asylum in Australia has been offered.
·       that no other country mandates the closed and indefinite detention of children when they arrive on our shores.
·        that the laws, policies and practices of Labor and Coalition Governments are in serious breach of the rights guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
·       that children in immigration detention have significantly higher rates of mental  health disorders than children in the Australian community.
·       that the numerous reported incidents of assaults, sexual assaults and self-harm involving children indicate the danger of the detention environment.
·       that children detained indefinitely on Nauru are suffering from extreme levels of physical, emotional, psychological and developmental distress.
What does the Report recommend?

The recommendations include that:
·       all children and their families be released into community detention or the community on bridging visas with a right to work.
·       legislation be enacted to ensure children may be detained under the Migration Act for only so long as is necessary for health, identity and security checks.
·       assessment of refugee status be commenced immediately according to the rule of law.
·       no child be sent offshore for processing unless it is clear that their human rights will be respected.
·       an independent guardian be appointed for unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Australia.
·       children in detention who were denied education on Christmas Island for a year be assessed to determine what educational support they require.
·       children and families in immigration detention receive information about the provision of free legal advice and access to phones and computers.
·       legislation be enacted to give direct effect to the Convention on the Rights of the Child under Australian law.
·       a royal commission be set up to examine the continued use of the 1992 policy of mandatory detention, the use of force by the Commonwealth against children in detention and allegations of sexual abuse against these children and to consider remedies for breach of the Commonwealth's duty of care to detained children.
What should we do?

Given the Government's refusal to deal with the contents of the report, and given the Labor Opposition's silence, it is up to all of us, the citizens of Australia, to take a principled stand. We cannot remain silent when confronted by this thoroughly-researched and professional report which sets out in great detail the abuse which is being inflicted in our name on asylum seeking children. The long term damage caused by prolonged detention is immeasurable. If we remain silent now, given all the evidence of state-sponsored child abuse set out in the report, how will we be judged by the next generation?

·       Sign our petition, which urges Minister Dutton to  close Australia's offshore detention facilities  and to resettle genuine asylum seekers in Australia.
·       Collect signatures for the petition from your friends and neighbours. These can be returned to our market stall at Bellingen in March or May ; to our market stall at Valla Beach in April ; or post to Mike Griffin, 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach NSW 2448.
·       Write letters to MPs : Nationals, Liberal and Labor, to let them know of you opposition to the mandatory detention of children. You might like to use one of the attached letters, or your own version of them.
To quote Professor  Triggs: "My hope is that the evidence detailed in this Report will prompt fair-minded Australians, Members of Parliament and the Federal Government to reconsider our asylum  seeker policies and to release all children and their families immediately, or as soon as practical". 

Written by Mike Griffin and published by Rural Australians for Refugees, Bellingen and Nambucca Districts.

The resume is also attached so you can send it to friends and colleagues.

Letters to Politicians

Mike Griffin is a prolific letter writer and he would like to remind people that we would like to publish on our blog any letters they have written to politicians. Please email copies of your letters to

Letter to Luke Hartsuyker following the Prime Minister's comments on the report of the Human Rights Commission 

Dear Mr Hartsuyker,

On 11th February I listened to the Prime Minister scornfully dismissing Professor Gillian Triggs' thorough and objective Report on children in detention. It was a disgraceful performance and did nothing at all to instil any confidence in the parliamentary process. How have we come to sink so low? It is surely time for your government to start listening and to refrain from hectoring and insulting our intelligence. Shooting the messenger will not make the problems go away.
Professor Triggs' Report amounts to a thorough and comprehensive indictment of the policies of both the current Coalition Government, of which you are a senior member, and the Labor Government before it. How can the Government hold more than 100 children indefinitely on Nauru, given that both Chris Bowen MP and Scott Morrison MP both agreed on oath before the Enquiry that holding children in detention does not deter either asylum seekers or people smugglers? What possible rationale can the Government offer, then, for the indefinite detention of children seeking asylum in Australia? 
The findings set out in the Report are both shocking and shameful. No other country mandates the closed and indefinite detention of asylum seekers. It is clear that the actions of this Government, and its predecessor, are in breach of our international obligations.
I call on the Government to give the most serious and urgent consideration to the recommendations set out in the Report and to make a serious commitment to the  Australian people that the recommendations will be acted on in the shortest possible timeframe. I urge you, as my representative in parliament, to do everything you can to persuade the government to act responsibly and humanely in the treatment of asylum seekers.
I look forward to receiving your response to the questions raised above.

                                                                                                            Yours sincerely,

                                                                                                            Mike Griffin

Letter to Richard Marles Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection following the Prime Minister's comments on the report of the Human Rights Commission

Dear Richard Marles,

Like so many people, I was utterly dismayed to listen to the Prime Minister's response last week to the publication of the AHRC's Report on children held in detention. The actions by the government to discredit Professor Triggs in the months leading up to the publishing of the report, together with the attempts to get her to resign two weeks before publication, were utterly reprehensible. The Prime Minister's attempt at character assassination in parliament was quite disgraceful. I trust that the Labor Opposition will  support the many groups across the nation who are calling for the recommendations in the Report to be considered and acted upon without delay, including the call for a royal commission.
In an interview on Sky News last week, you stated that: "We need to be doing everything practicable to get these children out of detention as quickly as possible." I applaud that sentiment, but I need you to clarify how this statement sits with Labor policy  in relation to children and their families on Nauru. Is the Labor Opposition now willing to commit to the closure of Nauru, and to the resettlement of the 100+ children and their parents in Australia?  Or does getting children out of detention merely mean that they will be released from detention in order to "resettle" on the island? You know, and I know, that "resettlement" for asylum seekers on Nauru is no more that a political fig leaf  which places political considerations above the welfare of the asylum seekers. Save the Children, which has experience in the field, has stated that "Nauru  is not a sustainable long-term option for the resettlement of refugees". Our refugees are our problem, and it's time we faced up to that.
If the Labor Opposition believes in the rule of law, in fairness and humanity, it should do everything it can to bring this shameful episode in our history to a close.
I will end  by asking you, as the father of four children, the question raised by the editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald on  13th February: "What if the government locked up your children?"
I look forward to receiving your response to my key question about Labor policy in relation to Nauru.

Yours sincerely

Mike Griffin

Joint statement by Australian organisations and community groups 13 February 2015
Our group name has been added to the statement

National Rural Australians for Refugees - now has current on their web site 

Blog  includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians.Click on the buttons at the top of the blog  to get ideas for and to see letters already sent to politicians and newspapers  (3943 page reads)
"pregnant woman attempts suicide on Nauru"

Better use of money that is wasted holding asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island


sound recording of interview with local abc radio on the day  of the protest - link

photographs of protest in Coffs Harbour on anniversary of Reza Barati's death on Manus Island

Twitter Account  @RARBellingenNam

Email Address

David Wallin

No comments: