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Newsletter for 15 November 2016 - Rural Australians for Refugees and Nambucca Districts

Roadside demonstration - Bellingen 24th
Next market stall - Bellingen market 19th Nov
RAR annual meeting and get together 20th November
Government plans to end offshore detention

Roadside demonstration report

Our latest demonstration by the Pacific Highway in Nambucca Heads last week went very well. We had a good turnout of supporters and our banners and placards made quite a splash on a sunny afternoon. As usual, we received a very positive reaction from the vast majority of the motorists who responded to our presence. As we have stated before on many occasions, it is so important to remind the public about the ongoing terrible treatment of asylum seekers by our government, and we would encourage more of our supporters to join us from time to time. Our next demonstration will be in Bellingen, adjacent to the town library on Waterfall Way on Thursday 24th November from 3.00 pm until 4.30 pm.
Our next market: Saturday 19th November at Bellingen Market

Please note that we have a stall at  Bellingen market this coming Saturday and we are looking for help on the stall between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm. If you can help for an hour or two, please let Mike know by emailing him at:  We will be collecting signatures for our petition to Luke Hartsuyker MP, selling our usual merchandise, collecting donations for the Asylum Seekers Centre and, of course, engaging with market goers about asylum seeker issues. If you are around, please drop in to say hello and sign the petition. If you have printed the petition sheet and collected some signatures, please bring them along to the market.
Meeting and social gathering: Sunday 20th November from 11.30 am

Please don’t forget that our meeting and social is this coming Sunday at 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach. We will hold a meeting for about an hour, followed by lunch and social get together. There is a lot to talk about and we need to map out where we go from here in the light of emerging news about offshore detention. Please come and join us if you can. It will be a great opportunity to meet in a relaxed environment and get to know one another a little better. Please let Mike know if you are planning to come along by emailing him at:  Everybody welcome! Directions to Rogers Drive were in last week’s newsletter.
Government plans to end offshore detention

The immense pressure on the government to end offshore detention seems to finally be having an impact. This is testament to the hundreds of groups like ours, to the many thousands of individuals who have campaigned relentlessly to end the cruelty, to the international outrage about our government’s appalling attitude to human rights, and of course to the brave professionals who have worked in these hell-holes and have blown the whistle on the cruel and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers. The devil, as always, will be in the detail. The government has stated that it will prioritise children, women and families, so it is not clear where this will leave the many hundreds of men on Manus.  Nor is it clear what will happen to the significant number of refugees who are now “living in the community” on Nauru, other than that they will be given 20-year visas to remain on this desolate island.  The sad reality is that our government, rather than do the right thing, is prepared to engage in trading our asylum seekers in exchange for a group being held in Costa Rica on behalf of the American government. The fact that we are now seemingly happy to go along with this perhaps demonstrates just how low we have sunk. We will need to keep a close eye on the government’s proposals as they become more clear.

In the meantime, the government is still intent on imposing its lifetime banishment from Australia on any refugee currently in detention who is settled in a third country. The Labor opposition has rejected this completely unnecessary and vindictive proposal, which is now before a Senate committee. The outcome is dependent on the position of the Nick Xenophon team. Please ring Xenophon’s office urgently and urge him and his team to reject the government’s proposed legislation. His number is:02 6277 3713. 

Nambucca roadside demonstration last week.

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