Click on subject of interest shown on the right under the heading "labels" to see all relevant posts

To look at letters (and some replies) sent to politicians and newspapers, scroll down the index on the right hand side and select the appropriate heading.

Note the blog allows multiple labelling and all letters to politicians are under "letters to pollies".

If you scroll down and cannot go further, look out for icon "Older Posts". Click on that to continue


letter to editor - turn backs hasn't stopped the boats 28 November 2018

Turn back hasn’t stopped the boats
There is considerable disagreement within the Coalition about turn back. Morrison has always claimed that turn back stopped the boats, or more specifically that he had stopped the boats. Peter Dutton, who followed Morrison as Immigration Minister (IM), never challenged that claim.
But 3 months ago he and Morrison had a bruising tussle for the PM job. And to punish Dutton for running against him, Morrison relieved Dutton of his job as IM. Dutton was vengeful. What better way to hurt Morrison than to burst his bubble about turn back. In parliament he told us that Morrison was lying, that the boats had never stopped. He said that, in the last 4 years, some 33 boats carrying 3300 refugees had taken to the high seas heading for Australia, a rate of 825/year
Which of the two combatants is correct? There is no evidence to support Morrison’s claim. But there are two pieces of evidence to back Dutton’s figures.
First, the Immigration Department (ID) stated that 1500 refugees had been turned back by our Navy in 2014. So a year into turn back, the boats had not stopped.
Second, Matt Broomfield, a journalist who writes for New Arab, was in Indonesia in October 2017. He went to detention camps and found 4700 of Australia’s refugees there. The other refugees in Indonesia were people waiting to board boats. They were not yet Australia’s refugees. He concluded that the 4700 refugees held in the camps were refugees turned back by our Navy. They told Matt they started arriving in the camps in 2014, the year turn back began.  This is about  940/year turned back and dumped into camps, not too different from the 825/year claimed by Dutton.
I conclude that the beastly Dutton is right and once again, Morrison is lying.
In short, the boats never stopped!
Dr  Michael Blockey


Newsletter for 27 November 2018 Rural Australians for Refugee Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Roadside demonstration: Thursday 29th November
Next market: Valla Beach, Saturday 1st December 9.00 am to 1.30 pm
Until When? The forgotten men on Manus Island
Australia says NO to UN migration pact

Roadside demonstration: Thursday 29th November
A reminder that we have a roadside demonstration on Thursday in front of the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour from 2.30 to 4.00 pm. Please come and join us if you can to support our campaign to end offshore detention. We are making progress. Since the beginning of the national Kids Off Nauru campaign which started on 20th September, the number of children on Nauru has reduced from 119 to just 12! This outcome underlines just how important grassroots campaigns are in shifting government policy. We are realistic about how our government and the Opposition operate in this space. We know that they are driven by polling numbers rather than principle and humanity and that they are reluctant to modify their policy stance unless it is clear to them that the Australian people want and demand a more humane and principled approach. So, let’s keep up the pressure until there are no more refugees and asylum seekers languishing without hope on Nauru and Manus island.
We hope to see you on Thursday. Don’t forget to wear covered shoes to combat the ferocious ants!

Next market: Valla Beach, Saturday 1st December 9.00 am to 1.30 pm
Our final market stall of 2018 is on Saturday at the Valla Beach market. The forecast is for a sunny day, so we can expect to have a busy morning. If you can help out for an hour or two, then please email Mike at: We’ll be collecting the final signatures on our open letter to the Prime Minister, selling our merchandise and handing out leaflets. Do drop by for a chat if you are visiting the market.

Until When? The forgotten men on Manus Island
Last week, Amnesty International and the Refugee Council of Australia published an important report, which sets out in great detail the reality of the detention regime on Manus island, where more than 600 men remain trapped more than five years since they sought asylum on our shores. 
The report paints a grim picture of life on Manus for the majority of the asylum seekers and refugees. Prolonged and indefinite detention, combined with bleak future prospects, is breaking many of these men. There have been three suicides, and many men have attempted to take their own lives. Yet the Australian Government has cut mental health support in half and ended torture and trauma counselling that was previously a lifeline to many. We surely cannot allow this to continue. As Behrouz Boochani states: “This hell is getting worse every day and we can’t continue like this anymore”.
The report makes recommendations to the Australian government, to the PNG government and to both governments. 
The recommendations to the Australian government are:
End offshore detention immediately, and bring them to Australia, or a safe third country.
While this is being implemented:
Ensure the right to the highest attainable standard of health, including access to adequate mental health care, and where medical treatment is required in Australia, access to timely transfers based on medical needs.
End immigration detention practices (including open forms of detention) and other discriminatory limitations on their rights.
Ensure adequate and appropriate security for those living at all centres. 
The recommendations to both governments are:
Ensure that the principle of non-refoulement is respected in practice and that no individual is forced to return to a country where he is at risk of persecution or other ill-treatment.
Accept and cooperate fully with third countries willing to provide safe settlement of refugees rapidly, including, but not limited to, the government of New Zealand.
Ensure that those who have received negative refugee assessments can seek judicial review of their assessments, with an interpreter, free of charge, and legal representation.
Ensure that independent agencies, including the United Nations, international and national authorities and non-governmental organisations, have full and free access to the centres to monitor the conditions and provide humanitarian assistance where necessary.

Australia says NO to UN migration pact
The Morrison government confirmed last week that it will not sign up to the United Nations migration pact, claiming that it will undermine Australia’s harsh policies to deter asylum seekers. This is in spite of the fact that Australia had considerable input to the wording of the pact, which specifically states that it is non-binding and includes a provision stating that countries retain sovereignty over their migration programmes. The government is not happy that the pact states that migration detention should only be used “as a measure of last resort” and that states should work towards alternatives. The final draft includes a commitment to review legislation and policies to ensure “migrants are not detained arbitrarily, that decisions to detain are based on law, are proportionate, have a legitimate purpose, and are taken on an individual basis, in full compliance with due process and procedural safeguards, and that immigration detention is not promoted as a deterrent or used as a form of cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment to migrants, in accordance with international human rights law.”
The Refugee Council of Australia CEO Paul Power had this to say: “In refusing to sign the compact, Australia will join a small group of governments which are trying to appeal to or appease minority far-right political movements within their countries.”
Will a future Shorten government sign up to the UN migration pact? You can contact Bill Shorten on: 03 9326 1300 or 02 6277 4022, or you can email him to urge him to commit a future Labor government to signing up to the UN pact.

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 >620 recipients
Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam

The National RAR web site is at 
The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook


End this cruel policy and wasted cost of off shore detention letter published in Nambucca Guardian

A Million Dollars a Day !!!

The  Brisbane-based company, Canstruct,  was awarded a contract last year to provide “ welfare and garrison services” for running Australia’s offshore immigration detention centre on Nauru. With a turnover of $212 million during 2017  the company has made a very healthy profit through overseeing the misery and hardship of  asylum seekers and refugees detained  on the island. 

News was announced this week that the company’s contract has now been extended to April 2019 . The extension comes with a hefty increase in payment from $28.9 million to $34.4 million per month. That works out at more  than a million dollars a day to maintain our government’s cruel detention regime.

In addition, our government spent $326,000 in  legal costs last year fighting requests for the  medical transfer of desperately ill children and families requiring medical care in Australia. We as Australian tax payers are footing these astronomical  bills. 

It would cost much less than 10% of this astronomical sum to settle these families in the community in our own country . The asylum seekers on Nauru  have committed no crimes and under international law they are entitled to seek our protection. 

It is not necessary to detain people indefinitely on remote islands to keep our borders secure. Our navy is employed to protect our borders as part of a rigorous border protection plan so why do we need to continue to keep families in offshore detention ? There is a rising tide of opinion stating that we want this cruel policy to end. Let it be soon. 

Marlene Griffin
Valla Beach

20 November 2015