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Newsletter for 1 April 2015

Hi Everyone


Valla Beach Markets this Saturday 4 April 2015

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

Please don't forget that our next market will be at Valla Beach on Saturday. We need volunteers for short periods from 8.00am until 1 pm.  

We urgently need more volunteers for the market, as so far only four of us have signed up. Can you spare an hour or two to join us? The markets are always a pleasant experience and it’s so important to let people know that , as Australian citizens, we are not prepared to let the government keep the appalling realities of their policies out of sight. The treatment of asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru are a national disgrace, and we must keep up the pressure to get them closed. So please come along to share the experience, to bear witness, to give out information and to encourage people to sign our petition.

If you can help, then email Mike on 
Or call him on 6569 5419.

Migration Amendment Bill 2014

A few days ago, the Senate finally passed the Migration Amendment Bill 2014. The aim of the Bill is to make it even more difficult for asylum seekers to get the protection that they are seeking when arriving in Australia. 
The RACS has published a fact sheet click on

Border Protection Bill 2015

There are however, more draconian Bills in the pipeline, namely The Australian Border Force Protection Bill 2015, and The Customs and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015. 

The Combined Refugees Action Group has analysed the Border Protection Bill and this can be seen at 

Please find the time to have a look at the details and write to cross bench and Labor NSW senators, urging them to reject the Bills when they come before the Senate. Mike has written to the eight cross benchers, (see below) so you can adopt the letter as you wish. 

Dear Senator ,

Australian Border Force Protection Bill 2015 [Provisions]
Customs and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

I have read with increasing dismay the details of the two above Bills, which will come before Parliament when it resumes in May. 
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection already has extensive powers in relation to border protection and the management of both onshore and offshore detention centres. The secrecy and complete lack of parliamentary scrutiny surrounding these operations are already a matter of serious public concern. You will of course be aware that, on the few occasions that investigations into activities within the Minister’s portfolio have taken place, the government’s response has been limited, for the most part, to shooting the messenger, including the Australian Human Rights Commissioner and the United Nations.

The Australian Border Force Bill 2015 seeks to increase further the powers of the Minister and to make it more difficult for either the public or Parliament to hold him to account. Section 10, for example, gives the Australian Border Force Commissioner the power to do all things necessary  or “convenient” for, or in connection with, the performance of his or her duties. This is clearly open to an abuse of power. Section 23 allows the Minister to give directions to the Border Force Commission about policies and priorities to be followed. He does not have to declare these directions to the House of Parliament until 15 sitting days after the direction has been given. This gives the Minister far too much power and removes his accountability to Parliament by allowing him to act without prior approval.
There are other sections in the Bill which are of serious concern. It seems clear that the Bill’s central purpose is to give the Minister free rein in the conduct of his duties, and to enable him to escape proper scrutiny and accountability for his actions and for the actions of those who report to him.

The Customs and Other Legislation Bill 2015 clearly seeks to protect the Minister and those answerable to him from any proper scrutiny or accountability in relation to the treatment of asylum seekers.  It  gives carte blanche to authorised officers to do whatever it takes to maintain good order in detention centres. It further enshrines the current climate of secrecy and lack of accountability, making it almost impossible for whistle blowers to raise legitimate concerns about the management and treatment of asylum seekers. Asylum seekers, who are already subjected to threats and violence at the hands of those who are employed to protect them, will find it virtually impossible to seek redress if this Bill is passed.
This is not how a developed democratic country should operate. We are surely better than this. I urge to to examine the details of these two Bills when they come before the Senate, and to do all you can to ensure that they are rejected.
Yours sincerely,
Mike Griffin

Senator Bob Day AO (SA) (Family First) Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices 100 King William Street
Adelaide SA 5000
Senator Jacqui Lambie (Tas) (Independent) 29 Wilson Street
Burnie TAS 7320
Senator Glenn Lazarus (Qld) (Independent) PO Box 228
Brisbane QLD 4001
Senator David Leyonhjelm (NSW) (Liberal Democratic) PO Box 636
Drummoyne NSW 1470
Senator John Madigan (Vic) (Independent) 17 Albert St
Ballarat Vic 3350
Senator Ricky Muir (Vic) (Independent) Level 4, Treasury Place
Melbourne VIC 3002
Senator Dio Wang (WA) (Palmer United) PO Box 6120
East Perth WA 6892
Senator Nick Xenophon (SA) (Independent) Level 2
31 Ebenezer Place
Adelaide SA 5000
Mr Clive Palmer MP
Palmer United Party
PO Box 1978
Sunshine Plaza, QLD, 455 

Tim Winton Palm Sunday Speech in Perth
"We're afraid. But the Government has made them go away" ...."but will we ever sleep easy?"

An amazing speech click on

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

Blog  includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians.
Click on the tabs at the top of the blog  to get ideas for and to see letters already sent to politicians and newspapers  (4367 page reads)

Moss report recommendations click on

Last week we had some difficulty in sending out the newsletter as Bigpond rejected it as "spam". This affected about 25% of our readers.
The newsletter is now being included on the blog, so if this happens again we can refer affected readers to read the newsletter on the blog.

Our Facebook page can be found at 

"Welcome Asylum Seekers - people just like us"

Twitter Account  @RARBellingenNam

Email Address

David Wallin

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