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Newsletter for 29 July 2015 - Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Hi Everyone

This newsletter is stored here for archival purposes. You can read it by clicking on "read more" below

Thursday Picket of Luke Hartsuker MP's office 30 July 

Don't forget our Thursday Picket outside Luke Hartsuyker's office every Thursday between 10am and Noon. Bring a placard and join our dedicated team sending a message to our government. 

We seek to keep the pressure up on the government over their horrendous policy. 

Luke's office is at 39 Little St Coffs Harbour. We hope to make this a weekly event. Coffs Growers market is on at the same time so give our MP a message and then go and support our local producers.

Valla Beach Markets Saturday 1 August 2015

Our next market stall will be at the Valla Beach Reserve on Saturday 1st August. John and Mike will be setting up at 7.00 am as usual and we are urgently looking for volunteers to join us, particularly between 9.00 am and 1.00 pm. 

It’s a great opportunity to meet people and to show solidarity for the plight of asylum seekers, especially those held in indefinite detention on the mainland or on Manus or Nauru. We will be handing out information sheets, collecting signatures for our petition and we will be a strong visual presence. Politicians need to understand that we will not be silenced and that we will continue to advocate peacefully and steadfastly for the just and humane treatment of asylum seekers. So if you can spare an hour or two to join us on 1st August, please email Mike at:  or phone him on 6569 5419.

Labor conference resets its asylum seeker policy.
As supporters will be aware,  Labor Party delegates at last weekend’s conference conducted a passionate and largely civilised debate about asylum seeker policy. Three key positive outcomes were the commitment to allocating substantial funding to UNHCR to support regional processing and resettlement, a promise to abolish Temporary Protection Visas, and a commitment to doubling the refugee intake to 27,000 by 2025.  To achieve the latter policy, however, would require Labor to win the next Federal election and to stay in power for a further nine years. That’s a long timeframe, given that the numbers of asylum seekers and refugees in the world is currently at levels not seen since the end of the Second World War.
On the critical issue of boat turn backs and regional processing, the Labor Party conference delegates voted  to maintain the current Coalition policy if elected to government. Richard Marles, the Opposition Shadow Minister for immigration, when pressed on the commitment to release children from detention on Nauru, stated that, given that these families will not, under any circumstances, be resettled in Australia, then a Labor government would seek the help of the international community in resettling them elsewhere. It’s clear, therefore, that Labor, like the Coalition, is committed to the policy of “anywhere but Australia” in relation to asylum seekers who are deemed to be in need of protection. That is likely to include countries like Cambodia and the Philippines, where poverty and corruption are endemic. There is therefore no end in sight for these families who continue to be traumatised at the hands of those responsible for caring for them.
It is up to each and every one of us, as citizens of Australia, to continue to advocate for a principled, humane and lawful process for resolving these complex problems. Politicians need to understand that we are not going away!


Follow up letter to Nambucca Guardian

Dear Editor 
Mary Forbes is right to challenge the policies of the Coalition Government in relation to human rights issues ( letter to Guardian News July 15th) . 
The Border Force Act 2015 which was passed earlier this month is an example of the government’s lack of concern for such issues. It carries penalties of up to two years in prison for Australian doctors,  teachers, health workers and any other staff  who disclose information related to their work in offshore detention centres on Nauru or Manus Island. This effectively makes it impossible for them to raise any concerns about child abuse, sanitation, education or any other aspect of health or welfare.
It is difficult to see how this is justified when it would be seen as a serious a dereliction of duty not to report  similar issues here on the Australian Mainland. 
The consequences of the Border Force Act  for children and families held in detention will be devastating. Furthermore our international reputation is also at stake here.  Doctors, nurses, teachers  and others in the fields of welfare provision made their opposition to this act clear by organising country wide demonstrations last week including a well attended demonstration in Coffs Harbour . 
We have to ask ourselves what is it that the present government want to hide ?  Do they feel that if we were told the truth it could affect their standing in the polls?   Many of us feel that enough is enough. We don’t want to live in a secret society we look to our government for openness , honesty and integrity . Is this too much to ask ? 

Pressure from outside our group

Ms Gai Brodtmann MP
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Gai

To say that I am disappointed at the Party’s decision to endorse a ‘turnback’ asylum seeker policy is an understatement. 

In fact irate best describes it, as I am sure are many other members of the ACT ALP. 

Without doubt you will become aware of our wrath over the next few months. Quite a few will leave the Party and join the Greens – others will just leave.  I am considering leaving and joining the Greens because as you know I feel strongly about the need for the Federal Government to develop sound, effective and humane policies to address the issue of asylum seekers.

The ALP policy on Chapter 9 does not reflect this despite the spin being put on the amendments.

Many of us in the ACT have worked hard on researching and developing a policy which many others in this ‘space’ support including well known advocates like Julian Burnside, Frank Brennan and of course Jon Stanhope.

Whether or not I stay and fight for a change in this Shorten promoted policy or leave and fight against the Party depends upon whether or not you, as my local member, support or oppose the ‘turnback’ approach and, if you do, how you justify it. 

Interested in your response.

Yours sincerely

Terry Walls
25 July 2015  

Chilout Thanks for donation
Dear John,

This is wonderful news - thank you so much for raising funds for us! It is greatly appreciated by all of us at ChilOut.

I love the photo. It looks you Bellingen and Nambucca RAR did some fantastic work raising awareness at your market stalls. Congratulations to all of you and keep up the great work!

Kind regards,


Kaldor Centre Newsletter

The newsletter summarises what has been happening in the Centre from January to June 2015. The items include 

Forgotten Childrens's report

Book "Refugee" -  short listed for NSW Premier's Literary Award
sub title "Why seeking asylum is legal and Australian Policy is not"

ASRC Campaign to bring back babies from Nauru

Hi RAR Groups.

Please consider getting involved with this ASRC campaign to bring back the babies from Nauru.
For postcards, contact Amber at the ASRC -
See email below.

Warm regards
National RAR

The ASRC is currently running a campaign to stop the forced transfer of babies to Nauru.

Asha is one of a number of babies born in Australia to asylum seeker parents who are all due to be sent to Nauru under the Government’s offshore detention policies.

We would love your help in distributing postcards addressed to the Minister of Immigration to bring back babies held on Nauru and to halt the transfer of others.

Can you please send us your postal address and a number for how many postcards you would like.

Kind regards,

ASRC Communications Team

 Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
214 - 218 Nicholson St
Footscray Vic 3011
Tel: 03 9326 6066
Fax: 03 9326 5199
Mobile: 0438 829 651

Become part of our Community of Compassion - Donate to the ASRC Christmas Appeal

ASRC is on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation


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

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David Wallin

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