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reply to letter to Coffs Advocate re spending on Asylum Seekers published 20 September 2017

From: Marlene
Sent: Friday, 15 September 2017 2:12 PM
To: ''
Subject: Letter to the editor. 

Dear Editor,

It is understandable that many of your readers like Mr Piper of Bellingen are concerned to protect their hard earned income and savings. They may therefore question government spending on refugees. In particular they are often opposed to refugees on Nauru and Manus Island being settled in Australia. Perhaps if they look at the statistics on the costs of detention they may be surprised. 
It costs over $500, 000 per year to keep one asylum seeker in offshore detention.  By contrast it costs $40, 000 per year to resettle and support them in here in Australia. So the Australian taxpayer is paying 12 times more each year to keep refugees off  the Australian mainland and on Nauru and Manus Islands where they are detained indefinitely in appalling conditions. 
We cannot as a country ignore international human rights laws. These refugees have a right to seek asylum and we are obliged to resettle them somewhere. 
Surveys demonstrate that once refugees have settled here they contribute greatly to Australian communities. Let’s not forget that many of them are highly skilled professional people who have fled war-torn countries where their lives were in danger. 
The legitimacy of their claims to asylum is often questioned.  If they were brought to Australia they would only be allowed to stay if, at the end of a statutory assessment process, they are found to have a legitimate claim to our protection. 
If the greatest concern to Mr Piper and others is the cost of our governments present policy they should be pressing for the closure of hugely expensive offshore detention centres and supporting the resettlement of genuine refugees in Australia where they can rebuild their lives and contribute to Australian society. 

Marlene Griffin  


letter to Alan Tudge Minister for Human Services - latest changes for asylum seekers

From: Mike
Sent: Tuesday, August 29, 2017 7:55 PM
Subject: Latest changes for asylum seekers

Dear Mr Tudge,
Over recent days, I have been reading about the government’s latest plans for asylum seekers and refugees who have been brought to Australia over a period of time to receive medical treatment.  My reaction, and the reaction of all those I have spoken to, including many of the 100 people who signed  a Rural Australians for Refugees petition at a market stall on Sunday, is one of anger and disbelief. You will be aware that, following widespread protests at earlier attempts to forcibly return this group to Nauru and Manus island, the government agreed to allow them to stay. One third of these people are children, some of them born here, and others attending school. Your government is now saying that their meagre allowance will cease as of yesterday, and that in three weeks’ time, they will be made deliberately homeless, in a cruel and inhumane bid to coerce them into leaving Australia. 
Where are these people expected to go? The detention centres on Nauru and Manus are both due to close in a matter of weeks, and the 370+ people in this group have been barred from seeking resettlement in the US. Attempting to coerce them into returning to their countries of origin amounts to refoulement, which, as you know, is forbidden under the Refugee Convention, to which Australia is a signatory. 
These people are living in our communities and are trying to rebuild their shattered lives.  How do you imagine they might feel on receiving a document which chillingly includes the following statement: “Please remind your children that they will also be required to abide by Australian values and laws. Breaking Australian laws may result in their removal from the community.”?
This is not about saving lives or protecting our borders. Nor is it about saving taxpayers’ money, given that it costs in excess of $500,000 per annum to torment a refugee in these offshore hell holes.  This is nothing more than yet another cruel and calculated ploy  designed to punish the most vulnerable in our society for political ends. You will be judged harshly by your electorate if you continue with this inhumane policy.
I urge you to reconsider this latest affront to the Australian values of compassion and humanity. Please, for once, put principle before political calculation, and allow these refugees to remain in Australia.
Yours sincerely,

Mike Griffin

Newsletter for 19 September 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Market Stall -Valla Beach Sat 7th October
Next Roadside Demo - Nambucca Plaza Thursday September 21st 2:30pm
National RAR Committee update

Bellingen market report

Our market stall in Bellingen at the weekend was hugely successful. Some ten supporters came along to lend a hand, and many more dropped by for a chat. We had lots of interesting and detailed conversations with market goers, we handed out leaflets, sold lots of merchandise, and collected 130 signatures on our petition. There is always a really positive buzz around our stall, which attracts a lot of attention. A big thank you to everyone who turned up to help. Another great team effort...........Now if we can get ten people to turn up for our next roadside demonstration....
Our next market  stall will be at the Valla Beach market on Saturday  7th October from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. If you can lend a hand for a while, then please email Mike at: to let him know.

Next roadside demonstration: Thursday 21st September: Nambucca Heads. 2.30 to 4.00 pm

Please note that our next roadside demonstration is this Thursday in Nambucca Heads. You will find us in our usual spot by the Pacific Highway, adjacent to the Plaza shopping centre. Please try to come and join us if you can. We have lots of banners and placards to share, but we do need more pairs of hands to hold them up for passing motorists to see. It’s a great way to get our message across about the cruel and inhumane policy of our government in relation to refugees and asylum seekers.

An update from our national RAR committee

Last week our national President and Treasurer visited Canberra  to meet with a number of MPs and Senators to articulate the concerns of RAR members about the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees. Over several days they met with the Independent MP Cathy McGowan, Labor MP Mike Kelly, Greens Senators Richard Di Natale and Nick McKim, Labor Senator Sam Dastyari , the Labor Shadow Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Shayne Neumann,  and finally  Labor MP Lisa Chesters. It must have been an exhausting few days and we congratulate our national RAR friends for taking this initiative. Key points to note in the report are: “We were very surprised at the similarity of Shayne Neumann’s attitude and approach to that of the Minister for Immigration and Border protection Peter Dutton”, followed by: “My overall impression is that Labor still does not think that there is significant support for refugees and asylum seekers. It is up to us to show them that this is not the case and that there are considerable numbers of people in rural and regional areas who care. We can do this through concerted letter writing, emails, phone calls and attending meetings where politicians are and asking questions. Social media is a tool that politicians watch  very closely.”
We can only echo these comments and continue to encourage our members to write to politicians and to phone their offices. The full report from our national representatives can be found on our blog, the details of which are at the bottom of this newsletter. Also on the blog you will find lots of emails to politicians and letters to the media which you can use as a guide if you wish. It can make the task so much easier, so why not have a look and give it a go?

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