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


Our September Demo

Seven years too many. Set them free.

Fair go for refugees 

Honk for human rights.

Justice for refugees


Bello Nambucca RAR Newsletter 18 August 2020

A group of eleven RAR supporters met recently to discuss how we can best move forward safely in the current climate.
We agreed on the following actions:

Roadside demonstrations: We will organise these fortnightly, on Saturday mornings, at three different venues, from 10.00 am until 11.30 am. People who feel that an hour is as much as they can manage are encouraged to arrive at 10.30 am, so that our numbers grow, rather than diminish.

Markets: We agreed to restart our market stall, though we will not be asking people to sign petitions. Only two people can be located inside the gazebo at any one time, though it is OK to have one or two people standing at the front of the stall. Mike will organise a roster for each market.

Fundraising: We accepted that we can’t organise concerts, lunches and auctions at present, which greatly restricts our ability to raise funds. However, we did come up with some COVID-friendly ideas. Watch this space!

Letter-writing: We agreed that this is an important activity for our group, and that we would continue, through the newsletter, to encourage people to write letters to the press and to politicians on specific topics. We agreed that Mike would provide specific suggestions about the content of letters to make it easier for supporters to respond.

Newsletter: We agreed that the newsletter will continue to be published fortnightly.

The following letter was received recently from our local MP, Pat Conaghan, in response to a letter from Mike, whose letter is on our blog (

Dear Mr Griffin,

I am aware you have long-standing dissatisfaction with the Australian Government and your perception of its handling of asylum seekers who have attempted to circumvent our immigration processes.

As I stated in my previous email to you on 8 May 2020, those who are able to prove they are genuine refugees and have not attempted to arrive onshore illegally will receive support to settle in Australia.

The Government's policy on people who have tried to enter Australia illegally has not changed. As a sovereign nation, we have every right to protect our borders. We also have the right to refuse entry to those who attempt to come here illegally.

We will not be taking up New Zealand’s offer to resettle asylum seekers. New Zealand citizens are automatically granted Special Category visas on arrival in Australia under the Trans-Tasman Arrangement, and this would be another way for these individuals to circumvent our immigration laws.

At any time, these people who seek to flout our laws have options that do not require them to be allowed to settle in Australia. These include returning to their country of origin, at the Australian taxpayers’ expense; to reside permanently in Nauru or PNG; or to take up the US Government’s settlement offer. They are not required to stay in detention.

I would also point out that of those who have sought medical attention in Australia through the (now repealed) Medevac legislation, around one third have refused treatment. Additionally, a significant proportion of those brought here for treatment are now refusing to leave, despite having signed an agreement agreeing to do so.

Australia has one of the most generous humanitarian programs in the world. We do more than most to assist and resettle genuine refugees in need of protection.

Yours sincerely,

Federal Member for Cowper

Mr Conaghan chooses to ignore the difference between the act of seeking asylum and the formal processes of our immigration system. He continues to assert that it is illegal for people to seek asylum, when it is not. The right to seek asylum is enshrined in international law, to which our government is a signatory. He asserts that asylum seekers who resettle in New Zealand have an automatic right to then seek entry to Australia under the Trans-Tasman agreement, in spite of the fact that the New Zealand government has stated  in recent times that it is a matter for the Australian government to decide who is granted a visa to travel from NZ to Australia.

It is not the case that a third of Medevac evacuees have refused medical treatment on arrival in Australia, though it is true that a small number have. The evidence seems to be that, as mentally unwell and confused individuals, who do not speak English, they are fearful about what is happening to them. Little wonder, given that they are kept isolated and under guard, which can only add to their trauma.

What stands out in this response is the complete lack of empathy for these people whose lives have been ruined by the direct, punitive action of our government. As far as our politicians are concerned, these asylum seekers have only themselves to blame.

Meanwhile, Australian citizens continue to protest at the incarceration of refugees in hotels and in detention centres in Australia. At the weekend, some 400 demonstrators protested outside the Kangaroo Point hotel in Brisbane, where a large number of Medevac refugees have been held for may months. Refugee Action Coalition spokesperson, Ian Rintoul, commented; “We could have them in houses in the community overnight.”

The punishment continues.
At Kangaroo Point in Brisbane
Roadside demonstration: Saturday 22nd August from 10.00 am until 11.30
 You will find us by the Pacific Highway in Coffs Harbour, opposite the base hospital.

Please come and join us if you can, and help us to keep the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in the public eye. We have lots of new banners and placards to share.

We hope to see you there.
Market stall: Sunday 6th September in Coffs Harbour
We are planning to hold our first market stall in a long time at the Coffs Harbourside market on Sunday 6th September from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm.

If you are able to help out for an hour or two, then please contact Mike at: and let him know the times that would be convenient for you.

We will need to create a roster to ensure that we don’t have too many people at the stall at any one time.

A group of independent community volunteers are seeking more people to help out with reading to primary school children from resettled former refugee families in Coffs Harbour area. 

 We co-ordinate with a local Coffs primary school and all you need is a FREE volunteer Working With Children Check, which we can help you to organise. We'll give you all the briefing and simple training.

Current and past volunteer readers have found the experience very rewarding and positive. It provides the children with valuable home reading that their parents are unable to provide.

 If you would like to join us and have one hour a week after school time then please contact us c/o:
A big thank you to all who have dropped in to see Marlene’s art exhibition in the Stringer Gallery. The works have been selling well, and the attached photo of the exhibition is an updated version, following the sale of a number of paintings.

If you are not able to visit the gallery, but would like further details of any of the paintings in the photo, then please contact Marlene at:

It would be wonderful to reach Marlene’s target of $1000 for the ASC!
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 >630 recipients
Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam
Email address
The National RAR web site is at 
The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook