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Newsletter for 13 September 2016 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Popup demonstration: Thursday 22nd September Coffs Harbour
Next Market Stall: Sat 17th September Bellingen
Life on Manus

Roadside Demonstration Report: Bellingen

A big thank you to all the supporters who turned out for our most recent roadside demonstration last Thursday in Bellingen. We received huge support from motorists and passers-by, and it is clear that our message, and that of many other groups around the nation, is having an impact. More and more Australians now agree that the indefinite detention of asylum seekers on remote islands is cruel, morally indefensible and simply unsustainable. The government’s strategy and expectation is that these people, being kept out of sight, will also be out of mind. They are not, and we intend, with the help of our supporters, to keep up the pressure until the government and the Labor opposition change their policy.
Our next roadside demonstration will be in Coffs Harbour by the Pacific Highway, opposite the Base Hospital on Thursday 22nd Septemberfrom 3.00 pm until 4.30 pm. Please consider joining us, if only for part of the time. We do need at least 10 people to make a significant impact. If you are able to join us, please email Robin at: to let him know.
Next  Market: Bellingen Market on Saturday 17th September
Our next market is just a few days away, on Saturday 17th September in Bellingen. Our stall is usually located beneath the scoreboard, so we are easy to find - site F-8 if that makes it easier. Mike and Robin will be setting up at 7.00 am and are seeking volunteers to help from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. If you can help for an hour or so, please email Mike at: to let him know when you can come. We are still collecting signatures for our petition, and as usual we’ll be handing out information leaflets,chatting to market-goers and selling our merchandise. As you probably know, all the profits from sales are donated  the Asylum Seekers Centre, which is based in Newtown.
Life on Manus Island. Has anything changed?

Many months have passed since the PNG courts ruled that the Manus Island detention centre must close, having determined that the detention of  asylum seekers is unlawful. Minister Dutton has in recent times visited PNG to meet the Prime Minister, and subsequently confirmed what we already knew, namely that the centre will close.
So what has changed? The short answer is “nothing at all, so far”. No date has been set for the closure, and the Australian taxpayer continues to fund  the ongoing detention of more than 900 men to the tune of $400,000 each per annum. These refugees and asylum seekers continue to be told that there are no circumstances in which they will be resettled in Australia. They continue to be encouraged to return to their countries of origin, in spite of the fact that the majority of them have been processed and found to be under genuine need of protection under international law. The alternative on offer is for them to be resettled in PNG, a poor country in which they know they are not welcome and where they face real dangers. Some of these men, many of whom have been suffering in this terrible place for more than three years, have families already settled in Australia. When will we finally act with compassion and humanity, and bring them here?
An apology
Last week we inadvertently missed the Bcc selection. Our apologies for this “slip of the mouse”. We hope that it didn’t cause any difficulties or embarrassment for anyone.

Our spirited and committed supporters in Bellingen last week.

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