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Petition sent to Peter Dutton Minister of Immigration

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    

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