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Newsletter for 29 September 2015 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Hi everyone 

This newsletter is stored here for archive purposes .

To read the newsletter click below

My apologies for the fonts in this newsletter. They all purport to be the same, but somehow in the copying and pasting there are variations.

Valla Beach Market: Saturday 3rd October

Please don’t forget that our next market stall is this coming Saturday at Valla Beach. We have a new Prime Minister  who has publically stated  that he has “concerns about the people on Manus and Nauru”, though, sadly, he went on to state that “there will be no resettlement of the people on Manus and Nauru in Australia”. It’s vitally important, therefore, that we keep up the pressure and continue to speak out for a change in policy, which will surely have to come in the near future.  There are currently about 1,500 people in detention on these two remote islands, who have committed no crimes, but who are held indefinitely in dreadful conditions, where they face the daily threat of physical and sexual abuse.
Please consider joining us on the market stall for an hour or two on Saturday, or just drop by to say hello and to show your solidarity. We will have a new petition to Malcolm Turnbull for you to sign!
John and Mike will be setting up the stall at 7.00 am, and we would appreciate support from 9.00 am onwards, until 1.00 pm. 
If you can join us, please email Mike at:, or phone him on 65695419.

Letter to PM on treatment of asylum seekers in offshore detention centres

Dear Prime Minister,

It was deeply depressing to listen to you on Radio National on 23rd September, telling the nation that "there will be no resettlement of the people on Manus and Nauru in Australia".

The government has gone to great lengths to maintain a veil of secrecy around the treatment of asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru, and it is clear that there is much to hide.  The available evidence from a number of reliable sources paints a picture of people living in fear and despair, in wretched conditions and with the ever-present threat of physical and sexual abuse. 

These people, who include some 90 children, have committed no crime and yet they find themselves locked away indefinitely, far from the public gaze and with little access to legal and other professional advice. We don't treat convicted criminals like this. 

These asylum seekers are our responsibility, and this is not the way that a wealthy, first-world nation should treat some of the world's most vulnerable people. What the government is doing in our name is neither humane, morally defensible nor compatible with our international obligations.  It is simply not acceptable for you to assert that "you could say it is a harsh policy, but it has worked". Locking up children indefinitely in such appalling conditions can never be justified. They cannot be used as the "price" to be paid for deterring asylum seekers from seeking safety on our shores.

I do hope that, in the weeks ahead, you will indeed pay "close attention" to the current policy and that your government will quickly bring to an end this shameful chapter in our nation's history. These offshore detention centres, which are costing Australian  taxpayers billions of dollars to maintain, should be closed as a matter of urgency and those detainees who are found to be entitled to protection under international law should be resettled in Australia.
Yours sincerely,
This letter followed Mike's comments in newsletter for 22 September which can be read at  
and he encourages you to write to Malcom Turnbull on this matter 

Letter to Nambucca Guardian - "denial of human rights to us all?"

Dear Editor,

There is a book by the famous author, Ursula Le Guin, titled "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas".  In the village of Omelas everyone is happy and fulfilled. There is no war or strife and everyone prospers.

When young people come of age the price of this happiness is revealed. They learn that underneath one of their stately public buildings, or a fine private mansion, there is a cellar with a locked door and no windows. In this room there sits a neglected, malnourished child who spends its days in abject misery. As long as this one child is suffering the rest of the community can be happy. This is the bargain.

At this point in their life the young person learns this and must make a decision: to stay or to leave. If they choose to stay, and remain in the village with a happy and contented life, they have assented that the life of this child does not matter.

If they choose to leave then they have made the decision that this one miserable, dirty, despairing life matters.

Our own lives are like this in many ways. We are told by the government, Labor, National and Liberal, that our way of life, our safety, our security, depends on keeping people locked up in concentration camps on Nauru and Manus Island. 

We are told that we must pay billions of dollars, at a time of budget emergency, to keep people who are innocent of any crime in indefinite detention. This includes 88 children in detention in Nauru.

Omelas is not a place but a state of mind. Walking away from Omelas requires us to reject this Faustian bargain. It requires us to reject the idea that our safety and security depends on denying hope to 88 children. It requires us to act.

If we give our consent to the passage of laws that codify the denial of human rights to some is it really unrealistic to think, given the history of the twentieth century, that it may not lead to the denial of human rights to us all?

Peter Sobey

Open Letter from the women of Australia to the Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten
"Enough is enough.
We are demanding the urgent and immediate removal of all asylum seekers and refugees from Nauru and Manus Island on the  grounds that neither the Government of Nauru nor Manus Island can guarantee the effective protection of women, children and men."
click on the following link to sign the letter

No Business in Abuse
Campaign against Transfield's role in offshore detention centres

"In the Nauru detention camp there has been a "major or critical" incident of:
  • self-harm every four days
  • assault every five days
  • sexual assault every four months
And this is according to Transfield's own records. "

Cruelty in offshore detention centres

Young refugee assaulted on Manus Island and forced to buy his own medicine. 

United Nations special rapporteur on human rights of migrants of migrants cancelled a visit to Australian onshore and offshore detention centres because of restrictions.

Where are the boats?

Asylum seeker boat drifted for three days before washing up on Java Coast.

Border Control did not see it. Do they only find a boat if they get a distress call?

Good News Story

Monthly Picket outside Luke Hartsuyker's Office 24 September 2015

"On the subject of refugees....Yesterday Richard, Craig and Craig's kids from Coffs Greens joined the rally organised by…/…/ outside Luke Hartsukyer's office in Coffs Harbour. Just like our new PM we are concerned about the conditions these desperate and vulnerable men, women and children find themselves in Australian detention centres - unlike Mr Turnbull we want something to be done about it!
Greens and many others in our community agree - The time has come to close down these expensive and cruel offshore 'deterrent' detention camps on Nauru and Manus!

During the one and half hour rally people came and went, however It was good to meet others who understand the need and urgency to end this horrible current policy. The media came along and John Pollock spoke about the on-going monthly rally, RAR and the need to continue to raise awareness and provide facts often lacking when discussing asylum seekers. Craig highlighted the Greens stance on returning the humane processing of asylum seekers to Australia. This is both compassionate and a less costly option. "It really is quite shocking that there are children already traumatised - as young as my own kids - that are now treated so terribly by our government… surely this is un-Australian!""

photograph attached

Thanks to Mid North Coast Greens for the report and photo


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