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Newsletter for 26 June 2018 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Roadside demonstration: Bellingen, Thursday 28th June
Six more refugees flown to the USA
Terminally ill Hazara man finally leaves Nauru
Proposed national RAR protest: Thursday 19th July
Andrew Wilkie MP tables the Refugee Protection Bill in parliament.

Roadside demonstration: Bellingen, Thursday 28th June

Our next roadside demonstration will take place on Thursday in Bellingen from 2.30 to 4.00 pm. You will find us at our usual location  adjacent to the Yellow Shed, opposite the entrance to the golf club, on Waterfall Way. Please try to join us if you can and help us to continue to remind the public that it is time to end the cruel and inhumane policy of offshore detention. We have lots of banners and placards to share.

Six more refugees flown to the USA

A few days ago, six more refugees were flown to the US from Manus, bringing the total from Manus and Nauru to almost 300, which is less than a quarter of the figure agreed between our PM and former US President Obama almost two years ago. Even if the proposed 1,250 are eventually resettled in the US, this will still leave more that 1,000 people indefinitely stranded in these remote and dangerous places in pursuit of the political agendas of the major parties. We must keep up the pressure for change, as it is clear that politicians will not  seek to end this torture unless more Australians demand it.

Terminally ill Hazara man finally leaves Nauru

We reported recently on the case of 63-year-old Ali (not his real name) , who is dying of cancer, and who needs to be transferred to Australia for palliative care. As in almost every other case, the  request for Ali's transfer was denied by our government. Minister Dutton is reported recently as stating that "we can't afford a single act of compassion," but the Australian people took a different view. More than 2,000 doctors signed an open letter demanding that Ali be brought to Australia for palliative care, more than 20,000 people signed an online petition, and thousands more, including many RAR members, sent emails and made phone calls to Dutton's office. The result is that Ali was flown out of Nauru on Saturday and it is believed, but not yet confirmed at the time of writing, that he is now in Australia.
This action underscores our belief that people-power, when it is coordinated  and determined, can, and does make a difference.
Our next challenge is to get those on the Left of the Labor party to put pressure on their party to finally put an end to the disgraceful and shameful policy of offshore detention. Please don't forget to sign our open letter to the Labor party conference delegates demanding just that.
We can do this!

Proposed national RAR protest: Thursday 19th July

In a recent update, our national RAR committee is proposing that all RAR groups hold a protest  to mark the fifth anniversary of the re-opening of the Nauru and Manus detention centres.  They suggest that we might hold the protest outside the office of our member of parliament between 4.00 and 6.00 p m., that we bring along 12 empty chairs in memory of the twelve asylum seekers who have died on Nauru and Manus whilst in the care of our government, and that we invite the media to attend.
If you have any thoughts on this proposal, and would like to support it or something similar, please let Mike know what you think by emailing him at: This would be a good opportunity for us to come together and send a clear message to government that we intend to continue to protest about their cruel policies.

Andrew Wilkie MP tables the Refugee Protection Bill in parliament.

Last week, the independent MP Andrew Wilkie tabled a bill in parliament which would put an end to offshore detention and would establish a regional framework, written in accordance with international law, to ensure that refugees are treated humanely across the region.  It would involve the establishment of a network of centres in the region, including Australia, where asylum seekers could go to be registered, have their immediate humanitarian needs met and lodge a preference for a country of resettlement.
Andrew Wilkie's Bill was seconded by Cathy McGowan MP, who made specific reference to the important work of the local RAR group in her Indi constituency, and acknowledged the presence of the national RAR committee members in the public gallery. 
You can find an excellent fact sheet about the proposed Bill on our blog. You might then want to write to MPs in support of the Bill.

The fact sheet is in the post below

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