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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".

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Letter: Dear Minister Andrews,

Dear Minister Andrews,

Like everyone that I know, I was very pleased to read about the announcement of the agreement to settle 450 refugees in New Zealand over a three-year period.

It should not, however, have taken nine years to finalise. Nine years of suffering, nine years of shattered lives, nine years of despair. It is truly shameful that the Coalition government has been responsible for this deliberate cruelty, inflicted on people whose only “crime” was to flee their countries in fear of their lives, in the hope of seeking safety in Australia. For nine years, they have been vilified, mistreated and used as political pawns in an utterly unseemly contest to prove which party is the toughest on “border security”.

The finalising of this agreement , welcome as it is, will be widely regarded, given its timing, as yet another cynical ploy to win votes at the upcoming federal election. I can only hope that many Australians will see through this, and that the Coalition will be punished at the polls for its complete lack of moral integrity.

Mike G.....

Valla Beach NSW 2448


Our street stall in Bellingen


"We had a really busy time on Friday with our street stall in Bellingen, notwithstanding the showery weather. More than 140 people signed our open letter to the Prime Minister; we sold all of Marlene’s now-famous gift cards, which raised $155 and we collected $146 in donations . That’s another $301 for the asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown. 

People who visited the stall were very supportive of our efforts, and mostly expressed varying degrees of anger and despair with the Coalition government. Whilst very happy to learn about the agreement to resettle  450 refugees in New Zealand over three years, there was great anger that this offer has been on the table since 2013, and is being taken up now purely in an attempt to improve the Coalition’s electoral prospects." Mike


Our RAR Planning Meeting, March 2022




Present: Sue, Susan, Jill, Hilary, Marlene, Paul and Mike.

Apologies: Margie, Georgie, Peter, Barbara, Maureen and Gillian


Our key objectives:

To seek an end to the current inhumane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. We want the next government to comply fully with our international obligations under the Refugee Convention. We want an end to the arbitrary detention onshore and offshore of refugees, with permanent protection visas for all those who have been found to be entitled to protection under our international obligations. We want a fair and just process for people seeking asylum who are currently living in our community, with appropriate support and a reasonable timeframe for the resolution of their protection claims. We want the NZ offer of an annual intake of 150 refugees to be taken up urgently, with priority given to the men still stuck offshore in PNG and Nauru. We want an immediate, significant, increase in our annual refugee humanitarian intake. Currently our intake numbers are the lowest in 45 years, in spite of the ever-growing number of refugees globally.


Issues and actions:


 ·      Agreed that we would try to put a roster of letter writers together for the next two months. Paul will take care of the Coffs NOTA and Hilary will take the lead for the Bellingen paper. (Jill adds: We should consider also the Port Macquarie NOTA? Are there any others in Cowper?). Mike is happy to provide talking points, and where possible, photos. We will ask Margie if she is willing to coordinate the operation.


·      Agreed that we will produce written questions to send to candidates. Mike will draft and circulate for comment.


·      We agreed that wherever possible we would attend Meet the Candidates events once we know where and when they are scheduled. Jill will try to find out and report back.


·      Agreed that we would not hold a rally for refugees, but that we would make the next Coffs Harbour market (24th April) an election-focused event.


·      Mike will produce a draft election leaflet and will circulate for comment.


·      We have five new placards with an election focus. Mike will make a new banner. The consensus was for: “Vote fair go for refugees”.


·      We will seek opportunities to gain media attention for our activities leading up to the election.


·      Given the new location of Conaghan’s office, we agreed that a demo was not practical.


·      We are not politically aligned, so we can’t offer a platform to any one candidate. We will, however, be supportive of any candidate who supports our objectives, as outlined above.


·      We agreed to hold a second and final meeting in early April. Mike will circulate some possible dates to all the people listed above. 


·      We need someone to volunteer to liaise with other groups in Cowper, including, but not limited to, Amnesty International and Port Macquarie refugee support group.


·      We are not politically aligned, so we can’t offer a platform to any one candidate. We will, however, be supportive of any candidate who supports our objectives, as outlined above.


·      We agreed to hold a second and final meeting in early April. Mike will circulate some possible dates to all the people listed above. 


·      We need someone to volunteer to liaise with other groups in Cowper, including, but not limited to, Amnesty International and Port Macquarie refugee support group.





Response from Minister Andrew's office to our RAR letter to P.M. Morrison

Our RAR Planning Committee

"A few days ago I received a reply from the Dept of Home Affairs to my letter to Morrison which included the signatures on our open letter.

It’s the usual cut and paste job, but has some priceless assertions, such as “Immigration detention is used as a last resort and where possible, unlawful non-citizens are managed in the community.” It goes on to state: “The decision to place a person in held immigration detention is based on an assessment of risk.”

None of this is true, of course, but it seems not to matter.

A change of government can’t come soon enough!"


Dear Mr Mike Griffin

Thank you for your correspondence to the Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP,

concerning the release of refugees from detention. Your correspondence has been referred to

the Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon Karen Andrews MP, as the matter raised falls within her

portfolio responsibilities. The Minister appreciates the time you have taken to bring this matter

to her attention and has asked that I reply on her behalf.

I appreciate the concerns you have raised in your correspondence. Please note that due to

privacy considerations, it would be inappropriate to provide you with specific details pertaining

to a person in immigration detention, or comment on their immigration status, without their

expressed permission. However, I can provide you with the following general information.

The Migration Act 1958 (the Act) creates a statutory framework regulating the entry and stay of

non-citizens in Australia. Under the Act, non-citizens who do not hold a visa are liable for


Immigration detention is used as a last resort and where possible, unlawful

non-citizens are managed in the community. Where appropriate, detainees may be detained

in an alternative place of detention, such as a hotel or apartment-style accommodation, rather

than inside an immigration detention facility. Decisions about the most appropriate

immigration detention accommodation are determined on a case-by-case basis and involve

consideration of the safety and security of detainees, service providers, visitors and staff. In

making placement decisions, medical needs are given priority, and family and community links

are carefully considered.

The decision to place a person in held immigration detention is based on an assessment of

risk. The lengths and conditions of immigration detention, including the appropriateness of the

accommodation and services provided, are subject to regular review by senior officers of the

Department of Home Affairs, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Australian Human

Rights Commission. These reviews consider the lawfulness and appropriateness of

a person’s detention, their detention arrangements and placement, health and welfare,

and other matters relevant to their ongoing detention and case resolution.

Under the Act, detention is not limited by a set timeframe; rather, it ends when the person

either is granted a visa or is removed from Australia. This is dependent upon a number of

factors, including identity determination, developments in country information and the

complexity of processing due to individual circumstances relating to health, character or

security matters.

All persons who are in immigration detention are assigned a departmental Status Resolution

Officer to assist in progressing their case to resolution. If they have any questions regarding

their immigration pathway or options, he/she should contact their status resolution officer.

As you may be aware, Portfolio Ministers have personal intervention powers under the Act

which allow them to grant a visa to a person if they think it is in the public interest to do so.

The intervention powers are non-compellable, that is, the Ministers are not required to

exercise their power. Further, what is in the public interest is a matter for the Ministers to


The Minister’s guidelines describe the types of cases that might be referred for consideration.

All requests are assessed against these guidelines. Only cases that meet the guidelines are

referred for the Minister’s consideration. Ministerial Intervention is not an extension of the visa


Thank you for raising this matter with the Minister.

Yours sincerely

Toni Najdov

Immigration and Settlement Services Group

Department of Home Affairs

10 March 2022

 Our original letter to P.M. Morrison

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,

Mike Griffin

Bellingen and Nambucca District Rural Australians for Refugees


Letter to media: THE DESTRUCTIVENESS OF WARS (All wars create refugees)


Night after night, we watch the unfolding horror of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on our screens. The sight of innocent civilians, mostly women and children, fleeing towards the Polish border, whilst their towns are bombarded and laid waste by the Russians is truly heartbreaking, and the international community must come together urgently to bring this nightmare to an end. The condemnation of the Russian invasion has rightly been almost universal, and nations have moved swiftly to impose sanctions on the Putin regime. Let us all hope earnestly that the sanctions will work.

But what of the other wars of aggression that have taken place in recent decades, some of which continue to this day?

There were no calls for sanctions against the US and its Coalition of the Willing when it invaded Iraq in search of non-existent weapons of mass destruction. And what of NATO’s bombardment of Libya to oust the dictator Gaddafi, leaving the country in turmoil to this day? And then we have the destruction of the impoverished state of Yemen at the hands of Saudi Arabia, armed by Western governments and resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of mostly innocent lives, leaving the country almost completely destroyed and its inhabitants in abject poverty?  And why is it OK for Israel to regularly pulverize the Gaza strip, killing thousands of Palestinians and creating mass poverty amongst the two million people living there? And it’s worth asking this question: why are Ukrainians who throw Molotov cocktails at their invaders hailed as heroes, whereas teenage Palestinian boys who throw stones at their military oppressors in the West Bank are labelled as terrorists, to be shot dead with impunity by the occupying army?

We should condemn all these wars of aggression, which cause so much suffering, bloodshed and destruction, and which have displaced tens of millions of people in the past two decades. These  wars serve only the interests of the all-powerful armaments industry and the politicians who do their bidding.

Mike Griffin

Our recent local RAR planning meeting in Valla Beach