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


Lisa organised a fabulous fundraising concert for our local RAR group.

The audience before the first act in this rural, heritage hall.

"We had a wonderful fundraiser at Raleigh village hall on Sunday. A packed hall enjoyed the Sawtello Gospel choir, singer-songwriter Stewart Peters, and the Honey Barbara Ensemble. Huge thanks to all the performers, to Lisa who organised the concert and to our great band of volunteers who provided refreshments and made it all happen on the day. The outcome is that we have donated $3,500 to the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown."

The Choir

The ensemble

The raffle ticket sellers

The goodies.

 Contact us via this blog or approach us at one of our market stalls. Join a group dedicated to working as a rural team for refugees.



 Soon after the federal election in May, the new Labor government kept its promise to allow the Murugappan family - parents Nades and Priya, and children Kopita and Tharnicaa – to return home to Biloela in Queensland. It was a day of jubilation and celebration for the Biloela community, and, inevitably, a great photo opportunity for our political leaders to share the limelight. Since then, as expected, the family has been granted permission to remain permanently in Australia. After four years of detention, including a lengthy stay on Christmas Island, the family can now rebuild their lives in the town that had previously welcomed them with open arms.

Looking back, it seems incomprehensible that the Coalition government would spent upwards of $50 million on its ideological and inflexible pursuit of this family. Even Barnaby Joyce, who at the time was the leader of the Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister, was of the view that his government’s position made no sense. He pointed out that the two girls were born in Australia, and that common sense should prevail. Our local MP, Pat Conaghan, however, took a different stance. He argued that the family had had their days in court, had not been able to establish that they were genuine refugees, and that they should not therefore be afforded special treatment. In other words, they should have been deported to Sri Lanka.

In the end, human compassion and common sense prevailed, and the Minister used his discretion, as he is entitled to do, to grant the family permission to remain permanently in Australia.

The Murugappan family are, of course, the lucky ones. There are thousands of other refugee families who have been living in Australia for up to ten years, including children who have been born here, but who, so far, have no certainty about their future. Most of them have been recognised as genuine refugees, who are therefore entitled to our protection under international law, yet they have only been issued with temporary visas, which makes their live very precarious. It is more difficult for them to find permanent employment, it’s impossible for them to get a mortgage, and their children are not able to access student loans to enable them to progress to tertiary education. They live their lives in permanent uncertainty, which inevitably has a serious impact on their health and wellbeing.

The government did the right thing by the Biloela family. It’s now time to step up and grant permanent residency to the many refugees who have proven that they want to work and contribute to Australian society.  It should be a no-brainer.