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Newsletter for 5 April RAR Bellingen and Nambucca

Children out of detention ??

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

Letter to Nambucca Guardian News
Dear Editor,
Making the headlines in recent days has been the news that there are no longer any children being held in detention centres on mainland Australia.  If that were true, it would be great news for all the children and their families who have been held in detention for an inordinate length of time, resulting in enormous damage to their physical and mental wellbeing. Sadly, the story is less than accurate.  The Immigration Department has had to admit that the so-called release is little more than a “bureaucratic sleight of hand”.  The reality is that the government, in the face of overwhelming community opposition to its cruel and inhumane detention policy, has cynically declared, for example, that families with children in “held detention” in Villawood detention centre have been told that their detention has been reclassified as “community detention”. They have been moved nowhere, but somehow we are expected to believe that they have been “released”.  The families remain behind a steel fence. 

All this, of course, is because we have an election looming, and both the Coalition and the Labor opposition want to sweep this difficult political issue under the carpet. We must not allow them to do that. Hundreds of thousands of Australians across the nation have made it clear that they will not support this cruel, inhumane and unlawful policy, which has created so much misery for so many vulnerable people. Locally, our Rural Australians for Refugees group has campaigned tirelessly for the past two years to bring an end to this cruelty, and our supporters have been doggedly persistent in bringing the issues to the attention of our politicians by writing letters, organising petitions and demonstrations and by regular information stalls at our local markets.

Let’s also remember that Minister Dutton continues to insist that all these asylum seekers who have been recently “released into the community” can be sent to Nauru at short notice. His stated intention is to return them.  And let us not forget that there are still many families languishing on Nauru, a tiny impoverished island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, either in the detention centre or “in the community”. Many of them have been there for more than 1,000 days. Those who have been freed to move around the island are not, or course, free.  They have temporary visas, are not permitted to leave the island and cannot be reunited with their families. Let us not pretend that the problem, and our obligations, have conveniently gone away as an election approaches. We need to be vigilant and keep up the pressure for a more humane and compassionate response to these vulnerable people who have a right to our assistance in their time of great need. 

Mike was interviewed by Nambucca Valley radio 2NVR at the markets, to hear the interview click on

Chilout Newsletter for March on the blog

Protests and pickets… From Robin Hesketh

Next Protest
After the success of yesterday’s 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 5pm. If there are 6 of us it will go ahead, so please would anyone able and willing let me know by email ( If there is not enough support I will postpone it till the end of the month.
A big thank you to all who came along yesterday. I thought it was a very promising start, so thanks again everyone.

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

Valla Beach Markets Saturday 2 April 2016

Valla Beach Market report
We had a beautiful sunny day for our market stall at Valla Beach on Saturday. As usual, a great turnout of volunteers, which made for an enjoyable and productive morning. We had lots of signatures for our petition to Minister Dutton and sold a number of T shirts, tea towels and bags. As you will know, all the profits from these sales go to the Australian charity ChilOut, which runs educational programs about children in detention and campaigns for their release. We have donated well over $1,000 to ChilOut in the past two years through sales and donations.
Our next market will be the Harbourside market in Coffs Harbour on   the morning of Sunday 24th April.
Our petition
Many of you will have signed the petition to  Minister Dutton, which calls on the government to release all genuine asylum seekers from detention and arrange for their resettlement in Australia. We now have more than 900 signatures on the petition, which has been signed by people at our local markets and by people around the nation, thanks to the help of other local RAR groups from Byron Bay to Bendigo, from Hamilton to Armidale, and many places in between. We are hoping to send the petitions to Canberra in the next few days. For the future, we are hoping to work with RAR groups across the country to develop a single, shared petition, rather than the patchwork approach that we have at present. Watch this space!

Market stall at Coffs Harbour on  the morning of Sunday 24 April 2016

Facebook for RAR Bellingen and Nambucca Districts for all the news

Some of it is copied to our Blog

Tiniest refugees relish freedom in Australia 3 April 2016

Grandmothers against Children in Detention protest 15 March 2015


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David Wallin.

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