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Newsletter for 22 March 2016 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

End of month picket/protest
 Dear All,
     I am asking for support for our last Thursday of the month’s picket.
 Date Thursday 31st March, time 3pm-5:30pm, location the roundabout at the junction of Hogbin Drive and Sawtell Road.
    If you are able to come please let me know either by email ( or phone 0490314166

Thanks Robin Hesketh

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

Bill threatens to remove last safety net for refugees fleeing death, torture and persecution

The federal government is having another crack at taking the "protection" out of "complementary protection" for asylum seekers. "Complementary protection" refers to Australia's obligations under human rights treaties not to return people to torture or other serious harm – obligations that "complement" those under the UN Refugee Convention.
But if a new migration bill is passed – as was recently recommended, with some minor clarifications, by a Senate committee – it will redefine complementary protection so that it offers no real protection.
If passed, the bill could mean that, for example, a person at risk of torture by the Syrian government would have to prove that he could not have gone to a part of the country controlled by Islamic State.
The Coalition government has put up two earlier bills on complementary protection since taking office. The first tried to get rid of it, the second tried to drastically rewrite it. This third bill is more technical, which increases the likelihood of it passing parliament.
But because of changes to Australia's refugee laws in 2014, the risks to asylum seekers have also increased.

from the "Conversation" - full article on the blog

Harmony Festival Coffs Harbour 20 March 2016

John and I attended the annual Harmony Day Festival at Coffs Harbour Botanic Gardens on Sunday 20 March. It was a wonderful day, filled with performances by people from diverse ethnic backgrounds, from the traditional owners to those who have sought refuge from many countries and have been able to enrich multiculturalism in Australia.
Tasty meals from several countries and activities for children were also on offer.
It was inspirational to see the performers, mostly young people, enjoy themselves while entertaining the crowd and celebrating their heritage. We have been witnessing the evolution of their acts over the past three years, watching their confidence grow and their performances develop.
Thank you Coffs Council and your Multicultural Reference Group for supporting Harmony Day. May the Festival continue for many years.


We always welcome contributions from our supporters. 

Ideas for future activities from the meeting held on 21 February 2016.

The following suggestions were raised.
Picketing and its evolution into “Flash Mobs”, Street Theatre, “Centering” from outside an area into the middle and targeting both commuter high traffic areas and shopping malls/eating areas. The necessity to plan ahead and be prepared to be available for
protests was raised. (see above)
Information dissemination from specific groups, e.g., “Mums for Refugees” similar to the “Knitting Nannas”.
Asking refugees to tell their own stories and relate their experiences at public forums.
Requesting political candidates to give a statement of both their personal views AND their political party’s views regarding asylum seekers.
Please email us at if you can help with these projects

Bellingen Community Markets on 19 March 2016

Another good outing at the Bellingen Markets. Big thanks to Jerome and all the crew who make Bello Markets such a great experience. 

Thanks to all our volunteers who helped out today with an extra big thanks to Richard for getting up extra early to help John set up. 

Our new marquee was great (thank you Heather) and as usual we had pretty much unanimous condemnation of the government's policy on asylum seekers. 


Our blog is at and includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians and newspapers

check out the index of subjects on the blog
the draft newsletter is on the blog  - see tab at top.
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Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam

The National RAR web site is at 

David Wallin

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