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Reaching Out Concert for asylum seekers in Nambucca Heads, July 29

Bellingen High School Jazz Ensemble

Bellingen High String Quartet

Proceeds from the sales of tickets, the raffle and works of art will be donated to the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown, which does vitally important work supporting asylum seekers in Sydney. 


Artwork by Marlene Griffin was on sale

An appreciative audience gathers

Hayden, Molly and Marlene Griffin, Organiser

Hayden and Molly, from Dorset, are cycling around the world to raise funds for refugees.

Snez and Stuart

Our local RAR is so appreciative of the artists, Snez and Stuart, and The Bellingen High School students and teachers, who performed for the responsive audience. This was no amateur performance but a delightful afternoon of quality music among friends. I will certainly be attending a 2020 concert.

Bellingen Sinfonia
"Thank you to all who attended. 

Every $5 we raised provides a meal for a family of four. The funds we raised will be donated to the Asylum Seeker Centre in Sydney, which provides, food, accommodation, medical assistance, English lessons and legal aid to families now living in extreme poverty yet not permitted to seek work in Australia. 

Musicians of the Bellingen Youth Orchestra enjoyed the afternoon and we hope they will come back at some point in the future.
We would like to thank them for giving us such a wonderful afternoon and so generously performing in this benefit concert."

From: Nambucca Guardian

Bellingen Sinfonia

Related: Library expansion will mean growing pains for Nambucca arts community


Six years too long rally in Toormina, July 25, 2019


There was a very successful Rural Australians for Refugees (Bellingen & Nambucca) demonstration on Hogbin Dr, Toormina, this Thursday afternoon. Let's hope many of the school students being collected by parents asked them why we were standing with banners on the roadside.  Spread the hashtag #6yrs2long



RACNSW Newsletter (Part)

Thousands say six years too long, Save Medevac

Thanks to everyone who rallied to mark six years of detention on Manus and Nauru on the weekend. There was an excellent turnout of around 1500 people in Sydney (photos below).

The SBS news report on the rally along with a report is online here, and another report is here and you can watch Dan Ilic's speech from the Sydney rally here

There is also a great photo of the crowd in Melbourne here.


Refugees rally for permanent protection
Protest at parliament in Canberra 10.30am next Monday 29 July

A group of refugees on Temporary Protections Visas (TPVs) and bridging visas will protest in Canberra next week, travelling from Melbourne and Sydney. Refugees who arrived by boat are now only receiving TPVs, meaning they must reapply again after three years, with the chance of rejection of being sent back, and have no right to bring family members to Australia. Facebook event here

If you are interested in travelling down from Sydney contact us at


Newsletter for 23rd July 2019 RAR, Bellingen and Nambucca

In this Newsletter:
Bellingen market report
 Roadside demonstration: Thursday 25th July, 2.30 to 4.00 pm, Toormina
Final curtain call: fundraiser on Sunday 28th July at 2.00 pm
Manus island. What is going on?
The New Zealand off remains on the table


Bellingen market report
 Saturday’s market in Bellingen was a special affair, in that, in addition to our usual activities, we were also marking the sixth anniversary of the Rudd Labor government’s decision to condemn any further asylum seekers arriving by boat to indefinite offshore detention on Nauru or Manus island. None of the asylum seekers arriving by boat after 19th July 2013 would be allowed to resettle in Australia, in contravention of our international obligations. To mark the occasion on Saturday, we had special posters and placards on display, we invited visitors to our stall to write a postcard either to the Prime Minister or to our local Member of parliament, and we asked people to write a message of hope to the refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus. Yesterday, we posted sixty postcards to the Prime Minister or to our local MP, and we sent more than forty messages of hope to the Australian Refugee Advocacy Network, who will ensure that they are sent to detainees on Nauru and Manus. In addition, we collected more than 200 signatures on our open letter to the PM, which calls on the government to accept the offer of the New Zealand government to resettle 150 refugees annually from our offshore detention centres.

So, a very busy day, and a huge thank you to the many supporters who worked so hard to make our event such a success. You will find photos of our market activities on our blog and our Facebook page.

Our next stall will be at the Valla Beach market on Saturday 3rd August from 9.00 am until 1.00 pm. If you can help out for an hour or two, then please let Mike know by emailing him at:

Roadside demonstration: Thursday 25th July, 2.30 to 4.00 pm, Toormina

Our next roadside demonstration is scheduled for this Thursday afternoon in Toormina. You will find us in our usual spot on Hogbin Drive, about 200 metres down from the fire station, in the direction of the airport. We have lots of banners and placards to share, so why not consider coming to join us? It would be really encouraging to welcome some new people to our demos, which are a great way of reminding people about the reality of what continues to be done in our name.

Final curtain call: fundraiser on Sunday 28th July at 2.00 pm  
A final reminder that our important fundraising concert will take place on Sunday in the Nambucca Community and Arts Centre, located on Ridge Street. Everything is in place for you to enjoy an afternoon of joyful music. 

Tickets are available at Helloworld Travel on Bowra Street, Nambucca Heads, or on the door on the day of the concert. If you wish to secure your tickets in advance, for collection on arrival, then please phone Mike on 6569 5419, or email him at:

Proceeds from the sales of tickets, the raffle and works of art will be donated to the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown, who do vitally important work supporting asylum seekers in Sydney. 

Please make a big effort to support this major fundraising event if you can.
Refreshments will be served in the small hall during the interval. If you care to bring along a plate to share, that would be greatly appreciated.

Manus island. What is going on?

There are currently some 450 men detained in Papua New Guinea at the behest of the 
Australian government. It has been revealed in recent days, however, that the majority of them have been transferred to the PNG capital, Port Moresby. 

The Greens senator, Nick McKim, was briefly on Manus island last week, before being abruptly deported, and he reported that approximately 300 detainees have been moved off Manus and are being held in Port Moresby. There are scant details of why there has been this mass transfer, or the conditions in which the men are held, though it is known that a small number of the men are awaiting resettlement in the US, and others are in Port Moresby for medical treatment.

In the meantime, the new prime minister of PNG, James Marape, has been voicing his concerns on a regular basis about the continued presence of asylum seekers and refugees on PNG. Last week, he made it clear that he wants the arrangement with the Australian government to come to an end, and is seeking a timeline to put an end to this shameful chapter in our history. He stated: “These are human beings we are dealing with. We can’t leave them all hanging in space with no consideration into their future.” He is in Australia this week on a formal visit, and he is expected to press the Australian government to set a deadline for the removal of all the detainees from PNG.

PM Morrison and PM Ardern
The New Zealand offer remains on the table

The NZ prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, was in Australia last week, and reiterated her government’s offer to resettle 150 refugees annually from Manus and Nauru. The offer has been on the table since February 2013. If our government had accepted the proposal, there would by now be no refugees on Manus or Nauru. Our government, however, shows no sign of shifting from its hardline stance, and clearly will only do so if and when there is strong public pressure, and a vocal parliamentary opposition, to the present cruelty and inhumanity. But let’s not forget: it did happen with the children on Nauru, all of whom were removed before the federal election. It can happen again!


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


Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam

Email address


The National RAR web site is at 

The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook


Six Years (of Indefinite Detention) Too Long


The sixth anniversary of Australia reinstating offshore detention processing should push the country to close a "dark and bloody" chapter in its history, Greens Senator Nick McKim has told SBS News.

The senator is travelling to Manus Island on Wednesday ahead of the anniversary of the policy by the Rudd government  (Friday 19 July), which stipulated that all asylum seekers who arrived by boat would not be resettled in Australia but be processed in Papua New Guinea and resettled there. Offshore processing was reinstated by the Gillard government in 2012. 

Hundreds of people are expected to take part in protests around Australia at the weekend under the tagline "six years too long".

Read the SBS News article

#I'mwithyou  #I'm with you
Rural Australians for Refugees (Bellingen - Nambucca) held a market stall in Bellingen to remind rural Australians that these detention camps detain asylum seekers indefinitely. 

Next time you see our stall at the Valla, Coffs Harbour or Bellingen markets please come a sign our petitions or a message of hope to asylum seekers.

#sixyearstoolong  #six years too long

Asylum Seekers RAR Market Stall


Crisis for Asylum Seekers


Australians at the Bellingen Community Markets support RAR

It is so gratifying to help on a RAR stall at the markets because so many local Australians obviously and vigorously support our campaign.

They wrote postcards to the PM and to local MPs and also wrote messages of HOPE to be sent to indefinitely detained asylum seekers.


Crisis for Asylum Seekers

Did you know that the Federal Government is deliberately forcing asylum seekers into homelessness and destitution?

The background: The Status Resolution Support Service 

People who are seeking recognition as refugees have to wait for their claims for protection to be determined. Until recently, they received support through the SRSS. This support, however, has been drastically cut back over the past two years. The Federal Government has cut the budget from $139.8 million to just $56.2 million, which has had a dramatic impact on the lives of asylum seekers, who, for the most part, are living in our capital cities.

More than 1200 men and women have lost access to torture and trauma services, subsidised medication, and casework support. They have also lost their income support, which amounted to 89% of the Newstart allowance, or approximately $250 a week to cover rent, food and other costs for single adults. Very soon, families with children over six years old will have their support withdrawn.

But everyone needs money to buy food, pay rent and pay for medical help when they need it.

What are they supposed to do?

The Federal Government’s short answer is: “Get a job!” But that is far from easy when you have a short-term, temporary visa, when you are suffering from the trauma of fleeing your homeland and when your English-speaking skills are limited. These asylum seekers want to work, and want to contribute to the community, but first of all they require appropriate support to develop their language skills, to recover from their trauma and to become job-ready. Deliberately making them homeless and destitute serves no good purpose.

How is this policy affecting support services?

Charities, local councils and other services around Australia are reporting huge increases in homelessness and destitution as a result of these savage cuts to SRSS support. Charities are under enormous pressure as they try to respond to the demands on their services. Kon Karapanagiotidis, the CEO of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), says: “The ASRC and organisations like us are increasingly providing emergency relief in a crisis of homelessness and hunger caused by cuts to SRSS. Entire families are presenting to the ASRC with complex, deteriorating mental and physical health while at the risk of homelessness. People are forcibly dependent on charity rather than being able to contribute to building our multicultural country and economy, which they very much want and try hard to do.”

What can you do?

·      You can join our group to help us campaign for an immediate restoration of SRSS support to all people seeking asylum until they are able to support themselves in paid employment.

·      You can contact the Prime Minister by emailing him at: , or phone his office on 02 6277 7700.

·      You can contact our local MP Pat Conaghan by email at:  or phone his office on 6652 6233 (Coffs Harbour office), or 6277 4446 (Canberra office).

Published by Bellingen and Nambucca District Rural Australians for Refugees.

Current Detention Set to Continue, Indefinitely

What is the current policy?

The government has made it clear that indefinite offshore detention will continue, and that the approximately 800 men and women detainees will remain on Nauru and Manus island. None of them will ever be resettled in Australia. The New Zealand government’s offer to take 150 refugees a year from Manus and Nauru has been rejected. The agreement to resettle refugees in the US is moving at a glacial pace, and the Trump administration is reluctant to accept refugees from a number of countries, including Iranians, Somalis, Syrians and Iraqis.


Newsletter from Refugee Coalition Sydney

Save the Medivac law
Rally 2pm Saturday 20 July, Sydney Town Hall

(next weekend)

Invite your friends to the Facebook event here

Speakers include:
Dan Ilic
 (Comedian and filmmaker)
Rita Mallia (President, CFMEU NSW)
James Cruz (NSW Greens)
Shannen Potter (Young Labor Left)

This July marks six years since the refugees on Manus and Nauru were first sent there. The Morrison government has no solution to resettle the over 800 people left there. Instead it wants to repeal the Medevac Law that has allowed some to access urgent medical treatment. Join us to demand they #BringThemHere.

If you're not in Sydney next weekend a list of actions around the country is here

Save the Medivac Law: Senate vote postponed

Peter Dutton and the Coalition want to repeal the Medivac Law. But their efforts have been delayed after the law was sent to a Senate Committee. The earliest the Senate can vote on its repeal is now late October. This will mean that the law continues to allow transfers for at least the next few months. The Coalition needs to win the vote of Jacqui Lambie in the Senate to repeal it.

The demonstrations around the country on 20 July to mark six years of offshore detention will be our first chance since the election for a major show of support for saving the Medivac law.

Passed in February, the law allows refugees and asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru to receive necessary medical care in Australia on the decision of doctors--rather than the Home Affairs Minister.

Letter to Vowper MP Pat Conaghan

Subject: Medical help for refugees

Dear Mr. Conaghan, 

In recent weeks, I have been deeply concerned to read about the treatment of refugees from Manus and Nauru who have been brought to Australia for urgent medical treatment. You will be aware, I’m sure, that the great majority of them have been brought to Australia to receive treatment for serious mental health problems, which are intrinsically related to their feelings of hopelessness and despair after up to six years in indefinite detention.


RAR (Bellingen-Nambucca) Newsletter July 2, 2019

In this newsletter:

Roadside demonstration report

National RAR letter writing appeal

Fundraising Concert: Sunday 28th July at 2.00 pm, Nambucca Community and Arts Centre

Life in Australia for medical evacuees

Senator Jacqui Lambie


Roadside demonstration report

We were fewer in number last week in Coffs Harbour, but we nonetheless made our presence felt and received lots of support from passing motorists. A big thank you to our supporters for turning up for what was forecast to be a rainy afternoon. Fortunately, the rain held off until later in the day. Our next roadside demonstration will be on Waterfall Way in Bellingen, adjacent to the Yellow Shed, opposite the entrance to the golf club, on Thursday 11th July, from 2.30 to 4.00 pm. Please join us if you can.

National RAR letter writing appeal

You will be aware from earlier newsletters that there is growing opposition in Papua New Guinea to the continued presence of Australia’s refugees and asylum seekers on PNG soil. The governor of Manus, the Catholic bishops, and, more recently the new Prime Minister James Marape, have expressed their concerns. The time therefore seems ripe for us to urge the PNG government to finally draw a line under this shameful and ongoing tragedy and to demand that the Australian government finally accepts its responsibility for the remaining detainees trapped in PNG. Could you please therefore consider writing to the PNG Prime Minister, James Marape, and urge him to resolve the current unsustainable situation for asylum seekers and refugees held on Manus island. You might wish to include some of the following:

  • Congratulate Mr Marape on his recent appointment.
  • Tell him that his appointment provides him with the opportunity to resolve the unsustainable situation for the men currently detained on Manus island.
  • Ask him to close the detention centres as recommended by many, in particular the Secretary of the PNG Bishops’ Conference.
  • Emphasise that indefinitely detaining hundreds of men inevitably leads to despair, more attempted suicides, more deaths and ongoing negative international attention.
  • Remind him of the responsibility under the International Charter of Human Rights to ensure the safety and wellbeing of people held on Manus island.
  • Acknowledge that it is shameful for the Australian government to claim that the responsibility for the present situation lies with the PNG government. 
    • Ask Mr Marape to insist on a definite timeline for the closure of the Manus island facilities and the relocation of the detainees to a place of safety and security.
    National RAR asks that we email The Hon James Marape, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, at:, and that we post our letters to the following address:
    The Hon James Marape,
    Prime Minister’s Office, Parliament House,
    Magani Crescent,
    Port Moresby National Capital District,
    Papua New Guinea.
    You can find a sample letter on our blog by clicking on the link at the end of this newsletter.

    Fundraising Concert: Sunday 28th July at 2.00 pm, Nambucca Community and
    Arts Centre

    We hope that you already have this date in your diaries! You can look forward to a most enjoyable afternoon of music. Talented young musicians from Bellingen High School, comprising a string quartet, a jazz ensemble and the Bellingen Youth Orchestra Sinfonia, will be joined by local professional singer-songwriters Snez and Stewart. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students, and no charge for children under 10. Tickets are available from Helloworld Travel on Bowra Street in Nambucca Heads, or on the door on concert day. If you wish to reserve tickets in advance, to be collected and paid for on the door, then please email Mike at: or phone him on 6569 5419.

    We plan to have a raffle at the concert, and so far, we have a lovely watercolour painting to offer. If you can donate a prize for the raffle, then please let Marlene know by emailing her at:
We are also looking for helpers to assist with the organisation on the afternoon of the concert. If you are able to help out, then please get in touch with Marlene.
  • We hope to raise a four-figure sum for the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown, who do such good work in supporting asylum seekers in our capital city.

    Life in Australia for medical evacuees

    Shocking stories have emerged in recent days about the treatment of people who have been brought to Australia from Nauru and Manus for medical treatment. People who have been brought to Australia for treatment find themselves confined to cheap accommodation, surrounded by SERCO guards, who sit permanently in corridors and who routinely enter people’s rooms at night. Leaving the accommodation for any reason involves invasive body cavity searches by security staff. A Guardian report states that people are being held in dirty and comfortless situations and are moved around repeatedly and arbitrarily between detention centres and cities. One detainee says that she and her family spent six weeks in the Brisbane detention centre transit accommodation and were then sent to a hotel in the Brisbane CBD for another eight weeks. Afterwards they were sent to Adelaide for almost three months, and now have been in transit accommodation in Melbourne for more than two months, and counting. How can seriously mentally unwell people be expected to recover from the trauma of fleeing their country and of indefinite detention when our government treats them with such callous indifference?

    Senator Jacqui Lambie

    Last week we asked our supporters to get in touch with our local MP to urge that he
    NOT support the overturning of the medivac legislation. We also indicated that the vote of Senator Jacqui could be crucial in keeping the legislation in place, but we couldn’t give you her contact details. It appears that the relevant details will not be updated on the government’s website until the new parliament is sworn in. We don’t therefore, as yet, have a phone number for senator Lambie, but you can email her at: It’s possible that the matter will not come before the Senate until next week. 

    Go to Model Letter to PNG Prime Minister Marape


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