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Letter to Nambucca Guardian - Manus Island Detention Centre declared illegal 28 April 2016

Manus Island Detention Centre Declared Illegal -  letter to Nambucca Guardian 

We have news this week that the Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea has declared the Manus Island Detention Centre illegal and we now understand that it is set to close. Malcolm Turnbull and his government now face a dilemma. What is to be done with the 905  detainees on Manus 482 of whom have been assessed as genuine refugees ? 

Could the decision of the Supreme Court of PNG help to shift public opinion and  in turn is this likely to change the government’ s policies on the whole issue of offshore detention ? As an election looms it is unlikely that the present government’s policy decisions will shift on these issues but public opinion could well shift and influence election outcomes. 

Gillian Triggs in an interview on Radio National on Thursday 28th April reiterated that offshore detention is ‘unsustainable’.  It has long been pointed out by doctors, social workers, teachers and others with direct experience of working in offshore detention facilities that conditions there are indefensible in terms of morality, humanity , economics and legality. 

Another question to ask is “How does Australia look in the eyes of the International Community ?  Is it defensible to continue to “shift” the refugee problem elsewhere ? Our government should be working in collaboration with other countries to explore solutions to this worldwide crisis. Australian Government policy on these issues has never “stopped the boats” the boats have just been diverted elsewhere. 

The asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru and Manus are our responsibility. Those found to be genuine refugees should be resettled in Australia. 
These recent events give our RAR group an increased impetus and urgency to press on even more vigorously with our protests, market stalls and determination to do whatever we can to make our views public and hopefully to shift political opinion. 

Marlene Griffin
28. 4. 16  


Newsletter for 26 April 2016 RAR Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next pop up protest is being planned for  Urunga   Pacific Hwy. in front of the BP servo, north of Urunga        3-4:30  Thursday 28th April

Robin has confirmed that the protest on Thursday 28 April will go ahead 

Dates have been planned after that  as follows

Thursday 12th May     Pacific Hwy. in front of Plaza Shopping Centre, Nambucca Heads.
Thursday 26th May     Dorrigo  Venue to be announced.
Thursday 9th June       Waterfal Way, Maam Gaduying Meeting Place in front of the Library, Bellingen.

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


Market Stall at Coffs Harbour 24 April 2016 Facebook 24 April 2016

Showery weather kept numbers down at the Harbourside Markets but we had 4 new volunteers from the Coffs area to help out this morning and our new petition got off to a good start. Thanks to Kim and her crew and to all our wonderful volunteers who continue to stand up for the rights of asylum seekers.

Afghan Refugees make new home in Goulburn Valley Orchards - Facebook

Afghan refugees make new home in Goulburn Valley orchards

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Updated 17 Mar 2016, 11:16am
Row after row of trees in all directions are burdened with a bountiful amount of apples at an orchard in Victoria's Goulburn Valley.
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AUDIO: Rural Reporter: Afghan refugees call Shepparton home(ABC Rural)
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AUDIO: Refugee workers are making a difference to Goulburn Valley orchards and its community. (ABC Rural)
A small army of workers is busy picking the fruit, placing it in bins and making sure each piece meets the correct standard of the business.
It's harvest time for Granny Smith apples in the orchard of Peter Hall and his fruit is ready to be sent across Australia and the world to waiting consumers. 
The orchard is a diverse place, the manager is from New Zealand, various accents from backpackers can be heard in each row, but the largest group of workers came to Australia as refugees. 
Peter Hall was asked if he would hire Afghanistan refugees for orchard work as soon as they started arriving in nearby Shepparton. 
He jumped at the chance and says it has been one of the best business decisions he has made.

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"They were quite a natural source of labour for working in the orchard, picking, pruning, thinning," he said.
"After a while we got to know these guys, many of them had a rural background, some of them even had their own orchards and they even told us their tips on how to grow fruit."
From there the relationship blossomed.
"They've bought houses in town, they live in town, they've brought their families over, their kids are going to school here, their kids are going to university and they've really become part of the fabric of our community." 
One of the refugees is Khuda dad Haidari who took a little time to find a home.
"There was not peace, we had to leave Afghanistan and come here," he said.
"First time I come to Australia I was in Darwin, then I go to Sydney and that was a busy city and I don't like a busy city so then I come to Shepparton because here is quiet and the rent is cheap."
Mr Haidari has been promoted in the orchard and now does some management of picking teams and acts as an interpreter for those with poor English skills. 
He likes the work and said he is never going to leave.
"I come here to stay here," he said.
"I built a house and I'm happy here." 
The success of these refugee workers on orchards is being hailed as a model for Australia increasing its intake of people fleeing war and conflict.
Peter Hall said Shepparton should be seen as an example for when the nation considered letting more refugees into the country.
"As long as people are vetted properly and evaluated properly, I can't see any issues for Australia welcoming people to come here, if they want to contribute and be part of our community," he said.
"I stress that, the Afghani people are part of our community."
"I think Shepparton is one of the best places on earth in being able to welcome people from all parts of the globe without any difficulties."
First posted 17 Mar 2016, 8:18am