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Newsletter for 20 October 2015 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nabucca Districts

Hi Everyone

Nauru: How much longer can this shameful situation continue?
Actions to persuade  the Coalition government to close the offshore detention centres continues unabated, with pressure mounting on a number of fronts.

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

  • in the last fortnight, two prominent Australians, the journalist Wendy Bacon and Professor Carmen Lawrence announced that they plan to visit Nauru to collect evidence about the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees on the island. Within a matter of days they  raised $20,000 through crowd funding to cover the costs of the trip.  It will be interesting to see if the Australian/Nauruan governments grant them entry visas, at $8,000 each. (non-refundable in the event of rejection!).
  • in recent days about 450 academics and staff from the University of Sydney have signed an open letter to the people of Australia, urging a campaign of public pressure on the government to stop the “abuse and torture” of asylum seekers and refugees on Manus and Nauru.
  • last week, a large number of doctors and other medical staff demonstrated outside their Melbourne hospital about the possible removal of asylum seeker children in their care to Nauru. They made it clear that their duty of care for children was incompatible with the notion of returning them to danger and possible abuse on Nauru.
  • Last week, the Nauruan police, assisted by Australian Border Force officers, raided the residential quarters of Safe he Children staff on Nauru and confiscated laptops and mobile phones in an attempt to stamp out possible whistle blowing about conditions on the island. Keeping evidence of abuse on the island hidden from view seems to be a higher priority than keeping people safe.
  • the Liberal MP, Russell Broadbent, has acknowledged the shift in public opinion in relation to asylum seekers, stating: “In increasing numbers, courageous citizens are expressing their concerns about the inhumane and illegal treatment of people seeking seeking asylum, especially children”.
  • the government has announced a $150 million plan to send asylum seekers from offshore detention centres to be resettled in the Philippines.
  • The Labor caucus  is meeting on Tuesday to discuss its asylum policy, with pressure for change coming from  MPs on the left of the party.
  • the Coalition’s cruel policy has again been highlighted by the hasty return of a young Somali woman to Nauru, after she was brought to Australia for an abortion, following her brutal rape some three months ago. On her arrival in Australia, she was very unwell and needed time and help to prepare herself for her treatment. The unseemly haste in returning her to Nauru seems to be related to the Minister’s fear that her lawyers were seeking an injunction for her to remain indefinitely in Australia, a claim flatly denied by her lawyer. She was flown out of Australia hours before a plea for  an  injunction for a temporary stay could be heard.
  • the Australian Council for Social Services and the Australian Council for International Development are jointly calling for children to be freed from detention and are offering the government a road map for their release.
  • a working group of five politicians and five cross-denominational religious groups was established last week to review current asylum policies and will convene within a month. The politicians have conceded that public opinion on the issue has shifted.
How much longer must the trauma, the abuse and inhumanity continue before the government finally concedes that the current policy is too politically toxic for it to continue? We must continue to keep up the pressure in whatever way we can.

Raped Pregnant Asylum Seeker returned to Nauru after abortion refused 

Dear Mr Turnbull,
I find it utterly incomprehensible and deeply reprehensible that Minister Dutton thinks that it’s in order to send Abyan back to Nauru without her receiving any counselling or proper medical treatment. This action is just beyond belief. I urge you to intervene and to stop this madness.  
Please insist that Abyan receives the care that she is entitled to following her brutal rape after being sent by the Australian government to Nauru. 
Minister Dutton’s action plumbs the depths of inhumanity. He should be sacked forthwith.
Yours sincerely
Mike Griffin

Since Mike's letter was sent, it has been confirmed that Abyan has been returned to Nauru before a court could adjudicate on the case.

As reported in the Guardian " in court, they were told that Abyan was already out of the country, and had been flown by chartered jet to the Solomon Islands capital, Honiara. The government was planning to return her to Nauru on Friday night. It appears the government chartered a RAAF 737 to make the flight to Nauru.
 What inhumanity and such a waste of taxpayers money!

Police arrest arrest man on student visa for transporting ice drug in Canberra

"The 32-year-old man had arrived in Australia in July this year on a student visa." 

Who in the above stories above is more dangerous to the security of the Australia population? 

Remaining market dates for 2015
We have three market dates remaining for 2015. The first one is on Sunday 1st November at Coffs Harbour Jetty Foreshore. If you are able to help for an hour or two between 9.00 am and 1.00 pm, then please email Mike at:  or phone him on 6569 5419.  We will be talking to the public, collecting signatures for our petition to the Prime Minister, selling tea towels, T shirts and bumper stickers and collecting donations for ChilOut.  It’s a great opportunity for us to demonstrate that there is increasing public support for the closure of offshore detention centres and for the adoption of a more humane, principled and lawful asylum policy.
The other two market dates for your diary are:
Saturday 21st November at Bellingen.
Saturday 5th December at Valla Beach.

In the next couple of months we would like to review  the activities that we have been engaged in during 2015 and to begin to think about what our activities should be in 2016. If you have any thoughts, please let us know, either by writing to us at or by visiting us for a chat at one of our three remaining markets for this year.

We are intending to organise a meeting, followed by a social get-together for all interested supporters early in the New Year to finalise our plans, so watch out for a date for your diary in next week’s Newsletter.

Refugee surge from Bangladesh and Myanmar

Marlene has compiled the story of the surge of refugees as the monsoons stop

The potential surge of refugees may make a lie of the slogan "we have stopped the boats"

Flying Pickets

    I am trying to get together a group of people willing to participate in flying pickets at local events to protest about how our country is being governed, whether locally or nationally. What we would need are people to participate and people to provide the information as to what is happening, for instance Luke Hartsuyker on a charity bike ride, getting TV and photo coverage. 
My idea would be a contact list for people and those able and willing to participate just turn up. Our protests should be themed so as to be clear and not everyone would want to put their energy into each event, we all have different priorities. I do not wish us to be couched within a political party or lobby group, as I feel it would be too constraining and might interfere with their messages too.

So if this approach appeals to you please contact me by email;  or phone 6655 9254 and we can go from there. 

Forum organised by "Mid North Coast Refugee Support Group" for Saturday 7 November in Port Macquarie

The following is an email from Elaine Smith who is known to many of our supporters and now lives in Victoria 

"Here is a chance to meet each other in Lovely Port Macquarie.   Victorians will flock to this welcome forum! ....well it would be great to see a representative from all RAR type  groups.

There will be particular discussion on rural response and SHEV issues, so those who have something to contribute may wish to attend.

If you have information about these issues, please let me know. I am confused about how SHEV will work, and how it is being rolled out.

We are trying to look for opportunities and connections between communities and asylum seekers.
When we think of the possibilities in general terms we think about working at fruit picking, but rural life is more complex. Asylum seekers are more complex too. We have shop owners, fishermen, architects, IT engineers, truck drivers, nurses, painters, plasterers, sports coaches, . It is really when we sit down and talk with a community, and include asylum seekers  that we begin to see much more creative ways to move forward. 

Do we have any volunteers to help truck drivers get their heavy vehicle licences? They have experience.
Do we have rural communities to help with accommodation for asylum seekers as well as job connections?

see attached poster for the forum to be held in Port Macquarie  or 

Offshore detention - how long can this continue?

Download the attached chart which shows the number of days the Manus Island Detention centre has been open.

It updates itself each time you open it.

Make this into a poster or if you would like help in changing the wording, adding photos etc please email us

David Wallin


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

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