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Newsletter for 30 May 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Roadside Demo - Thurs 1st June Coffs Base Hospital 2:30pm
Next Market Stall Bellingen Sat 3rd June Valla Beach
Refugee Week fundraising lunch - 18th June
Duttons latest attack on refugees

Next Roadside Demonstration: Thursday 1st June: Coffs Harbour

Our next roadside demonstration is this Thursday in Coffs Harbour at the new time of 2.30 pm until 4.00 pm. You will find us by the side of the Pacific Highway, opposite the Base hospital. Please consider coming to join us if you can. As always, we have lots of placards and banners to share, but we really need a few more people to make a bigger impact.

Next Market Stall: Saturday 3rd June at Valla Beach

Our next market stall is this Saturday 3rd June at the Valla Beach market. We have a new national RAR petition for people to sign and as usual we will be selling our merchandise, handing out leaflets and interacting with the many people who visit our stall at every market. If you are able to lend a hand for an hour or two between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm, then please let Mike know by email at:
Please note that we will also have a stall at the Coffs Harbourside market on Sunday 25th June from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. The market is temporarily located near to the Park Beach car park, at the mouth of Coffs Creek.

Refugee Week: fundraising lunch and auction: Sunday 18th June from 12.00 pm

There is still time to sign up for the lunch and auction, which will be held at 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach. If you are planning to attend, then it is essential that you let Mike know soon, so that we can plan the event.
We are still seeking items for the auction, so if you have something that you are willing to donate and that you think will sell for at least $20, then please let Mike have the details asap. All the proceeds from the event will go to support refugee and asylum seeker causes.
Please support this event if you can. The need for funds to support refugees is more urgent than ever. You can contact Mike at:, or by telephone on: 6569 5419.

Minister Dutton’s latest attack on refugees: from the gutter to the sewer

You will be aware that Minister Dutton has suddenly, without warning, imposed an arbitrary and impossible deadline of 31st October for asylum seekers living in the community in Australia to submit their claims for refugee status. In making his announcement, he talked about “fake refugees”, about “people who are refusing to provide detail about their claim for protection”, and how we, as a nation in debt, are not planning to run up more debt by “paying for welfare services for people who are not genuine.”
Yet again, we see the most vulnerable in our society being scapegoated for political ends.
A few facts:
-These asylum seekers have not been permitted to submit their applications until recently. They are desperate to have their claims considered, but have to wait in a long queue for legal assistance.
-almost all these asylum seekers are known to the refugee agencies. The application process is complex, and under new, draconian rules, the application has to be right first time, with virtually no possibility of appeal. It is often a traumatic process. Just imagine women having to relate the details of rape and other abuse to a total stranger, often male, through an interpreter.
-legal assistance for the process has been cut by 90% by the government, meaning that lawyers and paralegals are working flat out, without pay, to assist asylum seekers with their claims. Each application can take up to 15 hours to complete.
- the notion that asylum seekers are refusing to  provide information is manifestly false.
- the claim that asylum seekers are “fake refugees” is a disgraceful slur. The great majority of asylum seekers, once they have been allowed a fair process of examining their claims for protection, are found to be genuine refugees.
- most of the billions of dollars referred to by Dutton have been spent by the government on its cruel, inhumane and unlawful offshore detention policy, and not on asylum seekers living in the community.
You can find further information  (articles and videos) on our Facebook page. Please consider writing to Minister Dutton at: to add your voice to the protests.

Check out the index of subjects on our blog 
It includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians and newspapers.

This newsletter is sent to >500 recipients


Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam

The National RAR web site is at 

The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook


Newsletter for 23 May 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Roadside Demo - Thurs 1st June Coffs Base Hospital 2:30pm
Next Market Stall Valla Beach Sat June 3rd
Fundraiser for Refugee Week - Sunday 18th June
Manus Island news
Sunday Concert for South Sudan - Coffs 28th May

Roadside demonstration report

We had a successful demonstration in Nambucca Heads last Thursday, with lots of positive reaction from passing motorists. Our next demo will take place onThursday 1st June in Coffs Harbour, beside the Pacific Highway, opposite the Base hospital. It would be great to welcome new supporters to the demonstration.
Please note that, for the winter months, we will start and finish half an hour early, so the demo will be from 2.30 pm until 4.00 pm. Please come and join us if you can. We have lots of placards and banners to share.

Market report: A great result

Well, it rained  for much of the day on Friday and the forecast for Saturday was pretty dire, which meant that there were far fewer stalls and visitors that usual at the Bellingen market. But the sun shone, and we had a remarkably successful time, collecting a record number of signatures, giving out hundreds of our new leaflets, signing up fifteen new supporters, and selling lots of merchandise. We were delighted to welcome two new, young, supporters to help on the stall. As usual, people continually expressed dismay at the government’s cruel asylum policy and were very supportive of our work.
Our next market will be at Valla Beach on Saturday 3rd June, and as usual we are looking for helpers between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm.  If you are able to help out for an hour or two, then please let Mike know at:

Fundraiser for Refugee Week: Sunday 18th June, from 12.00 pm

We set out the details of the fundraiser in last week’s newsletter, so this is a reminder about this important upcoming event. We have had a number of positive responses so far, but we are a long way to go yet in attracting 30 attendees and in amassing auction items for sale. That said, we already have a very generous offer of a two-night stay in a beautiful B and B in Bellingen, valued at $356!
The lunch and auction will take place at 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach. Wine will be provided by our hosts, and you are asked to bring a plate to share – and of course your wallets!
Please have a look around for items to put under the hammer and let Mike know in advance so that he can organise the auction.
Please book your places for yourselves and your friends SOON, by emailing Mike at:  or by phone: 6569 5419.
All the proceeds from the lunch donations and the auction will go to supporting our RAR group and a national refugee support group on a 50:50 basis.

Manus Island detention centre: Things just get worse

Documents published during the past week reveal that the Australian government has been deliberately and systematically making conditions worse for asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island. The object of the exercise is to coerce detainees into returning to where they came from, resettling in Cambodia or being dispersed in PNG.  It is of course illegal to force refugees to return to the danger from which they have fled, yet a small number have been persuaded to do so because of the hopelessness  of their situation, and the government’s repeated  message that they will never be resettled in Australia. A report published in recent days by the United Nations’ special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants makes the point that the Australian government’s policies have increasingly eroded the human rights of migrants, in contravention of its international human rights and humanitarian obligations. The author of the report, Francois Crepeau, reminds us that the use of detention as a deterrent is unlawful. He states: “It is a fundamental principle of human rights law that one person cannot be punished only for the reason of deterring another.”
It is vitally important that we keep up the pressure on our parliamentary representatives.  Our petition, with at least 4000 signatures, which calls for the immediate closure of offshore detention centres, will be presented to parliament  in mid June.

Upcoming event: Coffs Harbour: Sunday 28th May

On Sunday 28th May, there will be a concert in St John’s Anglican Church , in McLean Street, Coffs Harbour, commencing at 2.00 pm. Headlined as the Salem Variety Concert, it will feature choirs, bands and other musicians to support the education of children in South Sudan. All proceeds will go to the South Sudan Children’s Education Fund.  Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for students and children. Further details can be found on our Facebook page, or you can phone Jan on 6653 2058 or Cass on 6652 9185.

Check out the index of subjects on our blog
It includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians and newspapers.

This newsletter is sent to >500 recipients


Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam

The National RAR web site is at

The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook