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Letter: No Room At The Inn

The letter below, together with the attached photo taken at Valla Beach market on 4th December, was published in the Nambucca and Coffs Harbour News


No Room At The Inn For Refugee Families

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my wife and I have not been able to see our young grandsons in the flesh for the past two years. Many families find themselves in the same situation, and we all wish that it were not so. Yet we can console ourselves with the thought that our predicament is but temporary, and that before too long we’ll feel that it’s safe once again to resume our international travels and be reunited with our loved ones.

That is certainly not the case for the thousands of refugees and asylum seekers currently in the “care” of our government. The men detained by our government on Nauru or in PNG have not seen their partners or other family members for more than eight years. The thousands of refugees living in Australia on Temporary Protection Visas are not permitted to have their families join them here. The several hundred men currently incarcerated in detention centres or in COVID-ravaged hotels in Australia have been isolated from their families for up to a decade.

For all these people, unlike for my family, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.  They can never look forward to being reunited with their families in Australia. Their suffering will endure indefinitely, because our government has declared that, for them, there is no room at the inn.

Whatever happened to compassion?

M. G.

Valla Beach


Letter To: ''

Subject: Park Hotel

Valla Beach Markets, December 20121

Dear Mr. Hawke,

I am dismayed to read that, in spite of all the real dangers to their health and wellbeing, refugees continue to be incarcerated in the Park Hotel. You are well aware that, as the former Ridges Hotel, this place was declared to be not fit for purpose for hotel quarantine, and was removed from the government’s approved list. How can the government then, in all conscience, detain COVID sufferers in such a completely unsafe environment? Whether this situation is a result of inertia or incompetence, it needs to end, now. All the detainees should be immediately released into community detention, with the necessary support to ensure that they can begin to rebuild their shattered lives, after more than eight years of torture at the hands of our government.

M.... G..... 

Valla Beach NSW 2448

Open letter to the Prime Minister


                                                         6th December 2021

Dear Mr. Morrison,

Please find enclosed an open letter, addressed to you, and signed by 616 Australians who have visited our Rural Australians for Refugees stall at local markets in recent times. The letter reads:

“We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned about the plight of the 30,000 so-called legacy caseload of refugees who for almost a decade have been trapped in the legal limbo of temporary protection visas.

Australia is the sole signatory to the UN Refugee Council with a formal system for providing refugees with indefinite temporary, rather than permanent, protection. The UNHCR has described the policy as both “punitive” and “cruel”.

Temporary protection leaves this vulnerable group in perpetual uncertainty and fear. Requiring them to relive their trauma every three or five years is both cruel and unnecessary. Prohibiting family reunion, access to student loans and other benefits makes it well-nigh impossible for these people to rebuild their lives and to finally call Australia home.

We call on the government to end this cruel policy and to finally grant these people permanent protection. It is time to show some compassion and humanity.”

This group of people, all of them refugees who have demonstrated their right to our protection, present no threat to the Australian people. To continue to assert, as your government frequently does, that the current policy setting is designed to “keep Australia safe, and save lives at sea” is both absurd and indefensible. The Australian navy and air force have ensured that no asylum seeker boats have arrived on our shores since 2014. Let us not forget that you have a trophy in the form of a boat in your office which proudly proclaims: “I stopped these.”

It is time to end the cruel policy of temporary protection, which serves no useful purpose, and which condemns so many people to a life of uncertainty and fear.

Please show some compassion for these people, and give them the permanent protection that they so desperately need, and to which they are entitled under international law.

Yours sincerely,

M....  G.........

Bellingen and Nambucca District Rural Australians for Refugees