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RAR December Newsletter

 Hi RAR members

For refugees and people seeking asylum, and their supporters, 2022 in Australia has been a difficult year, but progress has been made.


At the start of the year, the brief immigration detention of leading tennis player Novak Djokovic at the Park Hotel helped our movement's efforts to highlight the situation of hundreds of refugees detained there and in other hotel "alternative places of detention" (APODs). The release from the APODs of the refugees who had been brought to Australia from offshore detention under the 2018 medical evacuation law accelerated. By April the Medevac refugees were out of the APODs, although some are still in detention centres.


In March, the Morrison government announced 16,500 additional refugees places for people fleeing Afghanistan. However, we're conscious - especially our national working group and the member groups that are working on sponsorship for refugees trying to come to Australia - that few Afghan refugees from the Taliban have got here so far. The decade-long re-orientation of the immigration department into "Border Force" has wrecked its capacity to serve people and we have to keep on at the government now to reverse this.


The purportedly immovable LNP government was moving as it stared down the barrel of election defeat. But I think voters proved to be wise to cheap tricks: they took what was on offer and moved on.


Under the new government, the news that Priya, Nades, Kopi and Tharnicaa were able to return #HometoBilo and gained permanent residency was cheering. But that other refugees, on temporary visas, who Labor promised permanent visas during the election, are still waiting at year's end is trying. That well over 10,000 other people who are seeking asylum here, because their claims for asylum have been rejected, or because of how they came to Australia, are not being offered permanent settlement at all is troubling. Our movement has been supporting permanent visas for all, with #HometoBilo turning its strength to this campaign.


RAR members can be proud of the achievements of our September national conference (thanks to the organising group in the Blue Mountains). I believe it has been the only in-person grassroots national conference in the movement since the pandemic began.


The conference saw those with lived experience play a leading role. It was an inspiring experience, which carried forward and tested out ideas, found in the Katoomba Declaration, that our movement can try to change the story about refugees in this country and seek to change policy across a broad range of issues. Copies of the Katoomba Declaration and the Conference Report are attached (and can be found on RAR's website).


I believe that might be the basis for a more united, more powerful and more far-reaching movement, for which November's Canberra Convergence and Palm Sunday marches and rallies, to be held in early April 2023, could represent green shoots.


Voluntary Contributions


What RAR has achieved in 2022 and can achieve in 2023 is primarily the result of the time and thought people give to our member groups. I'd like to celebrate the efforts of the National Committee's members in offering some coordination and guidance as well.


But can I mention we also need some resources to make that happen. RAR does not have a membership fee: at our AGM this year we again resolved to ask if members can make voluntary contributions. Can you please consider having a discussion of what your group might be able to put in at your first meeting next year.

Best wishes to everyone for the festive season and I look forward to working with you for justice for refugees in the new year.

 In solidarity


 National President


Rural Australians for Refugees on Twitter and Facebook 

RAR is a member of the Australian Refugee Action Network
Rural Australians for Refugees


Dear Minister Giles, Please find enclosed an open letter ........



                                                                                                29th November 2022

Dear Minister Giles,

Please find enclosed an open letter, addressed to you, and signed by 755         people who have visited Rural Australians for Refugees market stalls in recent times. The letter reads:

We, the undersigned, are dismayed to learn that, instead of evacuating the approximately 100 refugees remaining on Nauru, you plan to award a contract to Management and Training Corporation, a US prisons operator with a chequered track record. This is a terrible decision, and a missed opportunity for the Labor government to demonstrate that it is genuinely committed to human rights and to a more compassionate treatment of refugees.

Independent MP, Andrew Wilkie, recently introduced the Ending Indefinite and Arbitrary Immigration Detention Bill 2022 to the federal parliament. His bill presents an opportunity to reform a regime that leading legal and human rights organisations have called “inhumane, unnecessary and unlawful.” We urge you to support Andrew Wilkie’s bill, and to bring all refugees currently held on Nauru and in PNG to Australia, whilst arrangements for their resettlement are finalised.



Following the federal election, expectations were high that the Labor government would take steps to dismantle the terrible asylum regime inherited from the Coalition. Certainly, the rhetoric has changed, and you have frequently signalled your positive intentions regarding the humane and fair treatment of asylum seekers and refugees. That much, we recognise and acknowledge. However, the decision to appoint a new contractor to oversee the ongoing torment of the remaining refugees on Nauru is deeply disappointing, and is seriously at odds with your frequent comments about the need to treat refugees with humanity and compassion. Keeping these people on Nauru, in addition to being eye-wateringly expensive, serves no good purpose and is morally indefensible.

We urge you to bring them all to Australia without delay, so that they can receive the support and medical treatment that they need, until their resettlement in third countries can be finalised.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Griffin

Bellingen and Nambucca District Rural Australians for Refugees


Hear Behrouz Boochani in Sydney


Behrouz Boochani: Freedom, Only Freedom

Tue 13 Dec | 6.30pm | Roundhouse, UNSW Sydney | Free


Join Kurdish-Iranian writer Behrouz Boochani live, for his first ever visit to Australia. 

If it weren’t for the consecutive Australian government’s inhuman treatment of refugees; Behrouz Boochani wouldn’t be a household name.

The Kurdish-Iranian journalist spent years languishing in offshore detention, during which time he witnessed those seeking asylum being exposed to conditions that violated international refugee law. Following an introduction from his long-time translators and collaborators, Omid Tofighian Moones Mansoubi and in-conversation with human rights lawyer Madeline Gleeson, Behrouz Boochani will share his stories of resilience, and shed light on the shameful refugee policies that the Australian government continues to endorse. 

UNSW Sydney Centre for ideas




Shop for Christmas; Shop with Impact


Every purchase helps the Asylum Seekers Centre to continue to welcome, empower and support people in the Sydney community seeking asylum.



cards, wrapping paper and more.


National RAR Update, November 2022



National RAR update. November 2022


8th November 2022

Hello to all RAR Members and Supporters – welcome to the latest RAR update.


Permanent visas for all refugees: 29 November Canberra Convergence