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Newsletter for 12 April 2016 Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Protests and pickets… From Robin Hesketh
Next Protest
After the success of the protest at Toormina roundabout, I am proposing we have another protest in front of the Big Banana north of Coffs Harbour, on Thursday 14th April between 3pm. and 4.30pm. There are 6 of us, but please let me know if would like to come as well.  Email ( 
A big thank you to all who came along at Toormina. I thought it was a very promising start, so thanks again everyone.

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

My contact details are:
02 6655 9254 (evenings)
0490 314 166

A huge thank you to all our supporters, both local and from across the country, for all your support in signing our recent petition to the Minister for Immigration, Mr Dutton. 

We collected 975 signatures, which is a great result, and these have now been posted to the minister. We know that all this pressure is having an impact, and that the government is very anxious, given the impending general election, to get the asylum seeker issue swept under the carpet “by hook or by crook”, as someone said a little while ago. 

We must continue to keep up the pressure, knowing as we do that there are more than 150 children still on Nauru and that the minister’s stated intention is to send others, currently on the mainland, to join them.

You will recall that our previous petition was sent to the Prime Minister at the end of December. In spite of the army of spin doctors employed in the PM’s office, we are still awaiting a response. It seems that the government’s foot dragging is not restricted to resettling refugees from Syria!

Letter sent with the petition
11th April 2016

Dear Minister Dutton,
Please find enclosed the details of the 975 people who have recently signed the petition organised by the Bellingen and Nambucca  Districts Rural Australians for Refugees. The petition reads:
"We, the undersigned, are deeply dismayed that the Australian government continues to hold children and their families in indefinite detention. Many of these families have now spent more than two years on Nauru and in immigration detention centres  on the mainland. It is time to end this hugely expensive, cruel, immoral and unlawful policy which causes such terrible harm to the innocent victims and to Australia's international reputation. All asylum seekers who are found to be entitled to our protection under international conventions, together with refugee families living "in the community" on Nauru, should be resettled in Australia without delay."
We are, of course, fully aware of recent government action in relation to releasing children and their families from closed detention. We also note that you continue to state that all children and their families who have been brought from Nauru to the mainland for medical treatment will be returned to Nauru once their treatment is completed. This, in spite of widespread public support for allowing them to be resettled in Australia. In addition, we are aware that, as of 5th April 2016, there are still 470 asylum seekers, including 50 children, in the Nauru detention centre, together with a further 870, including more than 100 children, who are "living in the community" on Nauru.  You would have us believe that these people are free. How can that be so, given that they have only temporary visas, are not free to leave the island, and cannot be reunited on Nauru with their families?
It is important that you understand that many Australians, in spite of all the secrecy and political spin, are deeply unhappy with the government's cruel and inhumane treatment of legitimate asylum seekers who have the right to our protection.
We urge you to make a serious and genuine commitment to bring this shameful episode in our history to an end and to announce that offshore detention centres will be closed by the end of 2016.
                                                                                                Yours sincerely,

                                                                                                  Mike Griffin
                                                                        Bellingen and Nambucca Districts RAR Group    

Facebook for RAR Bellingen and Nambucca Districts for all the news

Some of it is copied to our Blog

Local Opportunities to support refugees on 16 April 2016  posted on Facebook 8 April

Tiniest refugees relish freedom in Australia 3 April 2016

Mid North Coast Refugee Support Group

3-5 Pre-Loved Market Lots of bargains to buy!
Shared meal (bring a plate to share)
Guest Speaker - Yai Atem.A Sudanese refugee, author, and former child soldier, Yai’s passion is raising money for development work in South Sudan.
Evening Screening of Refugee Films
HOME- a eulogy for those whose bones only made it as far as the arms of mother ocean, directed by Charles Williams.
Stormy Waters - the history of migration to Australia and the treatment of asylum seekers today.   OR FIND US ON FACEBOOK

Next Market stall will be in Coffs Harbour on Sunday 24 April

Newsflash!  Simon Tedeschi to perform for the Bellingen and Nambucca Heads Rural Australians for Refugees Group.
We are delighted to announce that Simon Tedeschi, one of Australia’s most renowned and sought-after pianists, has agreed to perform  at the Nambucca Community and Arts Centre, located on Ridge Street in Nambucca Heads. This will be a charity fundraising event, with the proceeds split equally between ChilOut (the charity which we regularly support), and the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, which provides legal and other support for asylum seekers and refugees in Australia. We are most grateful to Simon for his generosity in agreeing to perform for us free of charge.
Simon regularly performs with orchestras around Australia and worldwide, and we are enormously privileged to have him come to perform for us.

The recital will take place on Sunday 12th June, commencing at 2.30 pm and will be followed by refreshments in the Stringer Gallery. Further details will follow in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, please put the date in your diary and spread the word! This is a wonderful opportunity to hear a world-class pianist and to raise funds for two deserving causes.
For further information, please email Mike Griffin at:

photo also attached, just in case...


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