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

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

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Our Saturday Roadside demonstrations continue.


Human rights matter

Respect and Justice for Refugees


Our October fundraiser dinner exceeded all expectations

From the left, Priscilla, Sous chef Mart, Laurie and Chris

Hi Diners and Donor

Our fundraiser takeaway dinner exceeded all our expectations, not only of the amount we raised but of the generosity of all involved: the chef, Ton, and his helper in chief, Chris, sous chef Mart, Ton's family and friends who helped in meal preparation and you, the diners and donors.

The food, as many of you have expressed to us, was delicious and professionally presented.

The Chef, Ton, poised to….?

We have raised a total of $6,120.00 to send to the Asylum Seekers Centre in Sydney. Of that amount, $1,780.00 is in donations and $70.00 in raffle ticket purchases. These amounts may change as we receive late donations. This money will be sent this week.

The raffle winners were Katherine from Bellingen who will be enjoying a stay at the Sawtell BnB, Carol from Repton who with three friends will join Ton in a sourdough making workshop, and Glenys from Sawtell who will enjoy her prize of 6 bottles of wine.

Thank you, thank you and again a  BIG THANK YOU to Ton, Chris and team.

Margie and Georgie.


Letter to Director Regional Processing and Resettlement Department of Home Affairs







                                                                                                19th October 2020

REF: MC20-022077

Dear Director,

Thank you for your letter of 6th October in response to my letter of 27th July 2020.

In your letter, you state, inter alia, that “the length and conditions of immigration detention are subject to regular internal and external review”, and you go on to cite a number of external bodies and processes to support your statement. I am familiar with the details of the numerous reports and investigations into the conditions for asylum seekers held in detention, and with the findings of these investigations.

What I am unable to discern from your letter, however, is any evidence of a statutory framework which might underpin the review process. I would therefore be most interested to know:

·       What is the statutory basis for the review process and the related timeframes for the reviews?

·       What is the statutory process for the review of the length of a person’s detention?

·       What provision is there in the process for consideration of natural justice issues?

·       Does a detainee have the right to a review of a decision to not grant a residence determination/ to maintain detention?

I would very much appreciate a response to the above questions at your earliest convenience..

Yours sincerely,



Letter to Pat Conaghan MP re the slashing of funding to UNRWA in the federal government's 2020 budget,

 Dear Mr Conaghan,

I was dismayed to read in the budget papers that the Coalition government plans to reduce its support to UNRWA by 50%, from $20 million to $10 million.

UNRWA school in the Bourj al-Barajneh refugee camp in Beirut
You may be aware that UNRWA provides vital support for the education of Palestinian children in refugee camps across the Middle East, from the West Bank,  to Lebanon and Jordan. The agency is already massively underfunded as a result of the US government’s decision over a year ago to cease all funding for this vital humanitarian work. It seems that our government is happy to follow Trump’s cruel lead.

Children are our future, wherever they live, and we should feel a moral

UNRWA school in the Bourj al-Barajneh refugee camp in Beirut
obligation to support their educational needs. These funding cuts make it increasingly difficult for these young people to learn and to eventually make a contribution to a better world.

I have seen UNRWA’s work at first hand in Beirut and in the West Bank. The organisation desperately needs our ongoing support, not funding cuts. If we can afford billions to support businesses  during this pandemic, we can surely afford $20 million to maintain our support for the education of Palestinian children.

Yours sincerely

Mike ........ 

Valla Beach


Letter, Oct 6, 2020, from Director Regional Processing and Resettlement Department of Home Affairs for Minister Dutton

Dear Mr G......

Thank you for your correspondence of 27 July 2020 to the Acting Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon Alan Tudge MP, concerning refugees and asylum seekers in detention. Your correspondence has been referred to the Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, as the matter raised falls within his portfolio responsibilities. The Minister appreciates the time you have taken to bring this matter to his attention and has asked that I reply on his behalf.

Regional processing is a key pillar of Operation Sovereign Borders and supports the Australian Government’s strong border protection policies. These policies have successfully stemmed the flow of illegal maritime ventures to Australia, disrupted people smuggling activities in the region and prevented loss of life at sea.

The success of Australia’s border protection policies has also enabled the Government to make a generous contribution to addressing the global humanitarian crisis, and increase our Humanitarian Program annual quota to 18,750 places. This represents the largest ongoing program in over 30 years.

Australia is committed to providing protection to refugees consistent with the obligations set out in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. Regional processing arrangements provide illegal maritime arrivals (IMAs) an opportunity to have their protection claims assessed, and for those found to be refugees, resettlement in a third country, without compromising Australia’s strong border protection policies.

People under regional processing arrangements are treated with respect and dignity, and in accordance with international human rights standards. Their protection claims are assessed by the Governments of Nauru and Papua New Guinea (PNG), and are undertaken in accordance with each country's respective laws and processes.

No refugees under regional processing arrangements in Nauru or PNG are detained in immigration detention. Refugees reside in community accommodation arrangements and are free to move around without restriction.

Individuals under regional processing arrangements receive a range of services to support their stay in Nauru or PNG, including health and welfare, accommodation (rent and utility free), education and employment opportunities.

Medical services are provided through a range of healthcare professionals, including general practitioners, psychiatrists, counsellors, and mental health nurses who provide clinical assessment and treatment. Where clinically indicated, specialist medical treatment is not available in a regional processing country, mechanisms are in place for temporary transfers to a third country, including Australia, for assessment or treatment.

Australia appreciates the offer from the New Zealand Government to resettle refugees, however, we are focused on completing the much larger arrangement with the United States (US). Australia’s border protection policies have removed the incentive for people to join dangerous and illegal people smuggling ventures to Australia. The Government remains mindful of not undoing efforts to combat people smuggling.

The Australian Government’s strong border protection policies and associated management of transitory persons under regional processing arrangements has not changed – illegal maritime arrivals will not be settled in Australia. Consistent with this position, transitory persons brought to Australia from a regional processing country, whether for medical treatment or as accompanying family, are in Australia for a temporary purpose only.

Transitory persons under regional processing arrangements, including those temporarily in Australia, have permanent resettlement options and are being resettled. Transitory persons can seek to resettle in the US or another third country, settle in PNG, or voluntarily return home or to another country in which they have a right of entry. Transitory persons are encouraged to engage in third country resettlement options and take steps to start the next phase of their lives.

The Australian and US Governments remain committed to maximising resettlement opportunities under the US resettlement arrangement.

A total of 4,183 IMAs were transferred to offshore processing under the previous government. Today, there are no refugees in detention under offshore processing and as at 31July 2020, 803 refugees have been resettled under the Government’s resettlement arrangement with the US.

People transferred to and accommodated in immigration detention facilities (IDFs) including Alternative Places of Detention (APODs) are treated in accordance with human rights standards. The Government has contracted appropriately trained and experienced service providers to ensure detainees’ needs are adequately met, including provision of health and welfare services.

There are laws, policies, rules and practices that govern how people are treated in immigration detention facilities in Australia. The length and conditions of immigration detention are subject to regular internal and external review. Internal assurance and external oversight processes are in place to ensure that the health, safety and wellbeing of all detainees is maintained.

Scrutiny from a number of external bodies helps to ensure detainees held in immigration detention are treated humanely and fairly. These parties include parliamentary committees, the Commonwealth Ombudsman, the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Australian Red Cross.

The Department takes its duty of care seriously and ensures that all people in immigration detention have access to health care. Health care services for detainees are comparable to those available to the Australian community, under the Australian public health system. Services are provided through on-site primary and mental health clinics with referral to allied and specialist health providers, as required. Acute care is provided by hospitals.

The placement of an individual considers the safety and good order of the immigration detention network, operational capacity of each facility and the need to ensure the safety and security of all detainees in immigration detention.

Thank you for raising this matter with the Minister. Yours sincerely

Regional Processing and Resettlement Department of Home Affairs
6 October 2020 


Readers can comment below. 

" It is fair to conclude that acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge has a deep contempt for the law.

What else could motivate him, when the Federal Court has just declared in explicit terms that he committed one form of contempt (wilful disobedience of court orders), to just double down on what the court may see as another -- the one it calls “scandalising the court”?

Bear in mind that Tudge’s original contempt was a triple: he refused to comply with an order by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to release a man from immigration detention, and then ignored orders by two Federal Court judges before finally relenting after five days of maintaining an imprisonment that was completely illegal." Crikey Oct 8, 2020

Some photos from Saturday’s (Oct 3) excellent Valla Beach market.



Eight Years Too Long