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Newsletter for 24 May 2016 RAR Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next pop up protest is in Dorrigo   3.00-4:30pm  Thursday 26 May 2016
opposite the High School Entrance on Waterfall Way as you leave town for Armidale

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

Calendar for Pop-Up Protests

Thursday 9th June         Bellingen     Maam Gaduying Meeting Place, in front of the library in Bellingen.
Thursday 23rd June       Bowraville   Venue to be announced.
All times are between 3 and 4:30 pm.
Please would people let me know if they can come at or 0490 314 166
If anyone else has a proposed venue, date and time, let me know and I will add it to the calendar.
I will confirm each event once there are 6 supporters.
I thank everyone who has supported these events to date.
Robin Hesketh  

Response to Border Force

On 15 May we sent our readers a direct email concerning correspondence with Border Force and their unsatisfactory reply

Mike has now sent a further email. His explanation and email follow

"I’ve grown a bit weary of the political spin and lies that we get in response to our letters to government ministers. You perhaps noticed that, in addition to the spin and untruths in the response from Dutton’s department to my letter of 11th April, the writer signed himself (or herself) off as RH.This is just another example of the militarisation of the department and is, in my view, both unnecessary and unacceptable. I have responded with the attached letter. Probably not everyone will think it’s appropriate, but I feel that now and again we should hit back. There is little point in responding on a point-by-point basis, as these people just don’t care, and they are not interested in the truth."

20th May 2016
Your Ref: MC16-009982

Dear RH,
Thank you for your letter of  3rd May 2016 in response to my letter to your Minister of 11th April. I note that, now you are part of the Australian Border Force, you can now only be referred to by your initials. That's very scary!
I think that I should point out that, in an earlier career, I was a High School Principal. So, I would like you to repeat ten times: "IMA stands for Irregular Maritime Arrival" . Your failure to do so will oblige me to keep you in detention. But do not be afraid. I will not send you to a remote island in the Pacific to live in squalid and dangerous conditions, nor will I  keep you there indefinitely.

                                                                                                Yours sincerely,


                                                                                                AKA Mike Griffin

Deaths  of asylum seekers in offshore detention centres

 The link below is of interest in understanding the harsh policies of the Federal Government which leads to deaths in custody. The deaths are detailed in the database

Marlene has written to the editors  of the following local papers :  Guardian News, Coffs Coast  Advocate and Bellingen Courier Sun. It’s possible that the editors may decide it is too political and so I prefaced the letter by reference to RAR being a non party political group. We will just have to see what the editors  decide. 

Dear Editor ,
I am writing the letter below on behalf of RAR which is a non party political group. I am not setting out my own views but trying to summarise the positions on policy of the main parties on these issues. I then leave it to readers to decide which way to go.
I am writing this letter as a supporter and member of our local RAR Group ( Rural Australian’s For Refugees) which is a non party political group. 
 Electioneering is well underway so it is a good time to examine the positions of the major parties on refugee and asylum seeker issues. 
The Coalition’s policy is that indefinite detention of refugees and their families should continue,  boat arrivals  should continue to be turned back, offshore processing on Manus and Nauru should also continue.  These policies underline the basic belief  that asylum seekers and refugees in offshore detention should not under any circumstance  be resettled in Australia even if they are found to be genuine refugees. They will be encouraged to return home where they may face torture and persecution or to resettle in some other relatively poor country such as PNG or Cambodia .
There are some differences between Labor and Coalition policy. For example Labor states that it would   increase the numbers of humanitarian intake of refugees over and above the figure proposed by the Coalition -this however this would be  on a very long proposed timescale leading to 2025.  Labor would also support a significant increase in funding to UNHCR to assist and speed up the processing process. 
However, Labour policies are identical to the Coalition on many key issues. Labor supports the policy of turning back the boats and the retention of offshore detention centres on Nauru and Manus . The Labor leader, Bill Shorten made the point this last week that there are millions of migrants and refugees that have contributed greatly to Australian life and prosperity.  In spite of this, current  Labor policy, like the Coalition’s policy , advocates the resettlement of refugees from Manus and Nauru “ anywhere but Australia”.
Finally, let’s examine where the Greens stand on all of this.  The Greens Party supports the closure of offshore detention centres and so is campaigning for an end to the brutal and inhumane treatment of refugees on Nauru and Manus Island . They support an immediate and significant increase in the humanitarian intake number. The Greens also advocate bringing asylum seekers from Nauru and Manus to Australia for processing and support the resettlement of those found to be genuine refugees in  Australia. 
The election will soon be upon us and so an assessment of the policies of the major parties on refugee and asylum seeker issues needs to be considered alongside other major election issues before we cast our votes. It will soon be decision time and so it’s  a good time to reflect on these issues between now and election day .  

Bellingen Market Stall on 21 May 2016

Condemnation of Peter Dutton and the LNP was one of the top issues at today's Bellingen Markets as RAR had another successful outing on a beautiful Autumn day. Our stall was inundated with locals, holiday makers and a few international visitors who wanted to make their feeling clear that there is zero tolerance for racism in our community and total condemnation of the barbaric treatment of asylum seekers by our government. People donated generously to our chosen charity ChilOut and purchased our t-shirts and bumpers stickers to help spread our message. People also expressed a strong interest in our upcoming fundraiser featuring International pianist Simon Tedeschi. A big thanks as always to our volunteers who never let us down and the wonderful and patient crew from Bellingen Community Markets.

Simon Tedeschi Recital Sunday 12th June. Update.
Have you purchased your tickets yet?
Preparations are now well advanced for the Simon Tedeschi piano recital, and tickets are  selling well. A big thank you to all those supporters who have volunteered to help with the planning and organisation. Following last week’s appeal, Susan Doyle has kindly agreed to coordinate the contributions to refreshments , which will be served at the end of the recital. If you can contribute something for the refreshments : cakes, biscuits, nibbles etc, could you please email Susan  at: and let her know what you plan to bring. You will then need to arrive in good time to allow our helpers to put out the refreshments before the start of the recital.
We don’t have an organiser for the raffle, so if anyone could contribute an item for a hamper or any other item suitable for a prize, then please let Mike and Marlene know by email at:, or phone : 6569 5419.

Finally, you will find a poster for the concert attached to this newsletter. If you could display a poster at your place of work, your social club or anywhere else where it might be seen by the public, that would be much appreciated.

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