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20.6.17

Newsletter for 20 June 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Roadside Demo - Big Banana, Coffs Thursday June 29 2:30pm
Fundraising lunch and auction report
Next Market Stall - Coffs Harbour Sunday June 25
Film Screening - Cast From a Storm - Scotts Head
Manus Island detainees court victory
Quote of the week

Roadside demonstration report

We had a good turnout for our demonstration in Bellingen last Thursday, and the rain held off! There was lots of support from passing motorists and pedestrians, including a number of comments from passers by who told us how important it is to keep the asylum seeker issues in the public eye.
Our next roadside demonstration will be on Thursday 29th June in Coffs Harbour, next to the Big Banana, from 2.30 pm to 4.00 pm. Do come and join us if you can.

Fundraising lunch and auction report

We were so lucky on Sunday to avoid the rain after the downpour on Saturday. A great time was had by all who were able to attend and  some forty items went under the hammer at the auction. A huge thank you to everyone who donated items to sell. We took $500 on the door in donations and raised a further  $1830 with the auction. With several  promised donations on their way, the event will have raised in excess of $2,500, which is fantastic.  The money raised will be shared between the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown and our RAR group, since we need some funds to support visiting refugees through the Home Among the Gumtrees initiative.

Thanks so much to Mike and Marlene for making the fundraiser lunch such a success. They welcomed us to their lovely home and managed somehow to fend off the rain till most guests had left. Their preparation was thorough and they were great hosts. The setting was perfect, the food plentiful, the wine flowed, the conversation was vibrant and the auction was a hoot!!






Next Market Stall : Coffs Harbourside Market, Sunday 25th June from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm

A reminder that our next market is this coming Sunday at the Harbourside market in Coffs Harbour. The market is temporarily located adjacent to the Park Beach car park, by the mouth of Coffs Creek. If you can help out on the stall for an hour or two, then please let Mike know by emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.

Screening of the film Cast From a Storm: Scotts Head Public School: Wednesday  28th June at 7.00 pm

This isn’t your typical refugee film. A coming of age story, this uplifting documentary shares the reality of what it means to be a teenager and a displaced person. This is a story of what comes after, and what it means to remake your home. An opportunity to see the film and to discuss refugee issues. Entrance is free, and voluntary donations will be sent to the Refugee Council of Australia.  Please contact Janet Granek for further details at: granekj@gmail.com.

Manus Island detainees settle out of court

Much has been written this past week about the $70 million plus costs awarded to 1907 Manus detainees. What is very clear is the the government is prepared to spend whatever it takes to keep the reality of the cruelty and inhumanity of indefinite detention out of the public eye. If the government thought that it had any chance of winning the case, then it could of course have proceeded.  What is also clear is that is is no longer possible for the government to argue that the detainees in offshore detention are the sole responsibility of the governments of Nauru and PNG. It’s worth noting also that the legal costs are high because the government has fought the issue all the way for three years, during which time there were 50 appearances in court. Up to eighty similar individual cases have been brought, but almost all of them have been settled out of court, thereby enabling the government to avoid public scrutiny. Given that the government has not accepted liability in this case, then it is highly likely that others will follow.

Quote of the week

“Looks like a windfall for people who unfairly took advantage of our nation’s generosity.” Tony Abbott, commenting about the payout on his favourite 2GB radio programme. You couldn’t make this stuff up!


Check out the index of subjects on our blog  http://bellorar.blogspot.com.au 
It includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians and newspapers.

This newsletter is sent to >500 recipients

(482 likes)

Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam


The National RAR web site is at  www.ruralaustraliansforrefugees.org.au 

The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook

13.6.17

Newsletter for 13 June 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingewn and Nambucca Districts

Next Roadside Demo - Bello Thursday June 15 2:30pm
Next Market Stall - Coffs Harbour Sunday June 25
Politician phone-in
Refugee Week fundraising lunch - Sunday 18th June
Refugee week events in Coffs
Refugee week posters

Roadside demonstration: Thursday 15th June, Bellingen: 2.30 pm to 4.00 pm

A reminder that our next roadside demonstration is this Thursday in Bellingen, in our usual spot on Waterfall Way, adjacent to the public library, weather permitting. Please come and join us if you can, and show your solidarity with all the refugees and asylum seekers both in Australia and on Nauru and Manus Island. Their situation is getting worse, not better, and we need to keep up the fight for justice and humanity. We have lots of banners and placards to share, but we very much need a few more people to join us.

Next Market Stall: Coffs Harbourside Market: Sunday 25th June: 9.00 am until 1.30 pm

Our next market stall is coming up in Coffs Harbour on Sunday 25th June. The market has been temporarily relocated to Park Beach, adjacent to the car park at the mouth of Coffs Creek.  It’s a good location and, provided that the weather is fine, there will be lots of market goers to interact with. We’ll be handing out leaflets, asking people to sign the new petition, selling our merchandise and enjoying the market atmosphere. If you can help out on the stall for a while between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm, then please let Mike know by emailing him at : mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.

Marathon phone-in

A big thank you to those supporters who made the effort to contact politicians last week to protest about the indefinite detention of innocent people on Nauru and Manus Island.  One official in Luke Hartsuyker’s office admitted that they had received a number of calls, and acknowledged that “this has been going on for too long”.

Lunch and auction: Sunday 18th June

We have had a great response from supporters and friends for next weekend’s lunch and auction. All we need now is for the sun to shine, and we will surely meet our target of $1,000. All the proceeds of the event will be shared between the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown and our RAR group. We need to have some funds in the bank to support the travel costs of refugee families who we hope to welcome into our homes in the months ahead.

Refugee Week events in Coffs Harbour

Amnesty International Coffs Coast, together with Coffs Connection and Community and Coffs Harbour City Council, are putting on two important events as part of their contribution to Refugee Week. They are:
  • Constance on the Edge: free film screening, Friday 23rd June at the Bunker Cartoon Gallery in Coffs Harbour. The event commences at 6.30 pm.  The gallery is located on John Champion Way. This film gets to the heart of a contemporary untold story about the courage and resilience  that it takes to build a new life. The film also highlights the important role that communities play in encouraging a sense of welcoming, healing and belonging.
  • Freedom Feast: Friday 30th June: 6.00 pm to 8.30 pm. This event will take place in Coffs Central – Food at the Terrace (upstairs). Bring a plate of food to share and enjoy a sumptuous community feast, hear and share stories from around the world, relax and enjoy live music and dance performances from diverse local cultural communities and much besides. The event is FREE.  To book your free place, go online at: freedomfeast2017@eventbrite.com.au  or call Andrew on 6648 4846.
Refugee Week posters

We ordered a few posters for  Refugee Week and have three remaining . They are in colour, size A2 (600 mm x 420 mm) and are ideal for display in your window, in your garden  where they can be seen by passers-by or at your place of work. If you are able to display a poster in a prominent place and would like one, then please let Mike know as soon as possible at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.


Check out the index of subjects on our blog  http://bellorar.blogspot.com.au 
It includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians and newspapers.

This newsletter is sent to >500 recipients

(482 likes)

Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam


The National RAR web site is at  www.ruralaustraliansforrefugees.org.au 

The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook

6.6.17

Newsletter for 6 June 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Roadside Demo - Bello Thursday June 15 2:30pm
Next Market Stall - Coffs Harbour Sunday June 25
Refugee Week fundraising lunch - 18th June
National day of action - Ring your pollie!
Life on Manus - Imran's story

Roadside demonstration report

We had a very successful roadside demonstration in Coffs Harbour last Thursday, with nine supporters holding our banners and placards for passing motorists to see and hopefully reflect on. Lots of positive support as always, with honking of horns, cheerful waving and  thumbs–up from many motorists.
Our next roadside demonstration will be in Bellingen on Thursday 15th June, from 2.30 pm until 4.00 pm. You will find us in the usual place on Waterfall Way, adjacent to the public library. Why not put the date in your diary and join us for a while?

Market report

A  cool but sunny morning for our market stall in Valla Beach last Saturday. Although the market was not particularly busy, we had lots of positive conversations with market-goers, collected a good number of signatures on the new national RAR petition, gave out lots of leaflets and sold various items of merchandise. A big thank you to all our supporters who turned up to lend a hand, and to the Valla Beach Community Association, who don’t charge us for our presence at the market.
Our next market will be in Coffs Harbour on Sunday 25th June from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. The market will be held at the temporary location adjacent to the Park Beach car park.  If you can help out for a while, then please let Mike know by emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.

Refugee week fundraiser: Sunday 18th June from 12.00 pm

We have just a few spaces left for our important fundraising lunch and auction on 18th June at 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach.  If you haven’t signed up yet, then please do so this week so that we can finalise the arrangements. Wine and beer will be provided by our hosts Mike and Marlene, and we would appreciate it if you would bring a plate to share. We have some exciting items for the auction already, including: two nights’ accommodation for a couple at Hil’s End in Bellingen, numerous works of art, a Royal Doulton serving bowl, 4 Orrefors Martini glasses, a beautiful plant in an unusual pot, two framed limited edition prints from Kew Gardens in the UK, bottles of wine, and much besides. We are still urgently seeking additional items for the auction, so if you have something to donate that you think will fetch at least $20, then please let Mike know asap by email: at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com  or by phone at: 6569 5419. Let’s make it a big success!
All the proceeds from the event will go to support refugee causes: The Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown and our RAR group.

National Call to Action: Wednesday 7th June, between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm

A nationwide call to action has been organised for tomorrow, Wednesday 7th June. The plan is for a phone marathon to tell our politicians that we do not support the policy of offshore detention and that we call for the safe and urgent settlement of all genuine asylum seekers and refugees currently detained indefinitely  on Nauru and Manus Island. Nothing will change until enough voters tell our politicians that we do not support a policy that depends on the suffering of innocent men, women and children who have committed no crime.
Will you please phone the office of your local MP, which for most of us is Luke Hartsuyker? His phone number is: 6652 6233.
If you feel up to it, please also consider phoning the offices of the following people:
Peter Dutton, Minister for Immigration: (07) 3205 9977
Malcolm Turnbull: (02) 9327 3988
Bill Shorten: (03) 9326 1300
Shayne Neumann, Shadow Minister for Immigration: (07) 3201 5300
Please join the campaign if you can. It  will only take a few minutes.

Life on Manus: Imran’s story

Some months ago, as we were packing away our  banners and placards at the end of our demo in Coffs Harbour, a car pulled up alongside us and the person in the passenger seat lowered her window. What did we know about life on Manus? Didn’t we realise that these men are paid to stay there; that they are well looked after; that they have no worries; that they spend their days at the beach; that they live on a paradise island, and that they should be grateful to us.
The 900 or so men who are trapped there indefinitely tell a very different story, as we know from the refugees themselves, the many accounts from doctors, aid workers, teachers, social workers and others who have had direct contact with the refugees and asylum seekers.
Imran Mohammad is a stateless Rohingya refugee from Mayanmar, and he has been held on Manus for almost four years. He has written about the enormous fear and uncertainty for the refugees as they await the closure of the detention centre over the coming months. He tells of the great fear that all the men have of moving out of the centre into the community, where they are unsafe and where they are regularly subjected to bashings  and assault.  He says: “What we know is that there is no place for us in this world. If there was, we would have been resettled somewhere and we would not have suffered beyond our ability to cope in this minefield. We don’t expect any hope  from the Australian and the PNG governments. It has always been felt that we would never leave this island alive and it has become apparent the abuse and torture implemented by both countries is unending.”
How can members of the public believe that these men are happily living in paradise?
How can the Australian government, supported by the Labor opposition, continue to inflict such cruelty on innocent people in our name?




Check out the index of subjects on our blog  http://bellorar.blogspot.com.au 
It includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians and newspapers.

This newsletter is sent to >500 recipients

(482 likes)

Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam


The National RAR web site is at  www.ruralaustraliansforrefugees.org.au 

The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook

30.5.17

Newsletter for 30 May 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Roadside Demo - Thurs 1st June Coffs Base Hospital 2:30pm
Next Market Stall Bellingen Sat 3rd June Valla Beach
Refugee Week fundraising lunch - 18th June
Duttons latest attack on refugees

Next Roadside Demonstration: Thursday 1st June: Coffs Harbour

Our next roadside demonstration is this Thursday in Coffs Harbour at the new time of 2.30 pm until 4.00 pm. You will find us by the side of the Pacific Highway, opposite the Base hospital. Please consider coming to join us if you can. As always, we have lots of placards and banners to share, but we really need a few more people to make a bigger impact.

Next Market Stall: Saturday 3rd June at Valla Beach

Our next market stall is this Saturday 3rd June at the Valla Beach market. We have a new national RAR petition for people to sign and as usual we will be selling our merchandise, handing out leaflets and interacting with the many people who visit our stall at every market. If you are able to lend a hand for an hour or two between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm, then please let Mike know by email at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.
Please note that we will also have a stall at the Coffs Harbourside market on Sunday 25th June from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. The market is temporarily located near to the Park Beach car park, at the mouth of Coffs Creek.

Refugee Week: fundraising lunch and auction: Sunday 18th June from 12.00 pm

There is still time to sign up for the lunch and auction, which will be held at 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach. If you are planning to attend, then it is essential that you let Mike know soon, so that we can plan the event.
We are still seeking items for the auction, so if you have something that you are willing to donate and that you think will sell for at least $20, then please let Mike have the details asap. All the proceeds from the event will go to support refugee and asylum seeker causes.
Please support this event if you can. The need for funds to support refugees is more urgent than ever. You can contact Mike at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com, or by telephone on: 6569 5419.

Minister Dutton’s latest attack on refugees: from the gutter to the sewer

You will be aware that Minister Dutton has suddenly, without warning, imposed an arbitrary and impossible deadline of 31st October for asylum seekers living in the community in Australia to submit their claims for refugee status. In making his announcement, he talked about “fake refugees”, about “people who are refusing to provide detail about their claim for protection”, and how we, as a nation in debt, are not planning to run up more debt by “paying for welfare services for people who are not genuine.”
Yet again, we see the most vulnerable in our society being scapegoated for political ends.
A few facts:
-These asylum seekers have not been permitted to submit their applications until recently. They are desperate to have their claims considered, but have to wait in a long queue for legal assistance.
-almost all these asylum seekers are known to the refugee agencies. The application process is complex, and under new, draconian rules, the application has to be right first time, with virtually no possibility of appeal. It is often a traumatic process. Just imagine women having to relate the details of rape and other abuse to a total stranger, often male, through an interpreter.
-legal assistance for the process has been cut by 90% by the government, meaning that lawyers and paralegals are working flat out, without pay, to assist asylum seekers with their claims. Each application can take up to 15 hours to complete.
- the notion that asylum seekers are refusing to  provide information is manifestly false.
- the claim that asylum seekers are “fake refugees” is a disgraceful slur. The great majority of asylum seekers, once they have been allowed a fair process of examining their claims for protection, are found to be genuine refugees.
- most of the billions of dollars referred to by Dutton have been spent by the government on its cruel, inhumane and unlawful offshore detention policy, and not on asylum seekers living in the community.
You can find further information  (articles and videos) on our Facebook page. Please consider writing to Minister Dutton at: minister@border.gov.au to add your voice to the protests.






Check out the index of subjects on our blog  http://bellorar.blogspot.com.au 
It includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians and newspapers.

This newsletter is sent to >500 recipients

(482 likes)

Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam


The National RAR web site is at  www.ruralaustraliansforrefugees.org.au 

The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook

23.5.17

Newsletter for 23 May 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Roadside Demo - Thurs 1st June Coffs Base Hospital 2:30pm
Next Market Stall Valla Beach Sat June 3rd
Fundraiser for Refugee Week - Sunday 18th June
Manus Island news
Sunday Concert for South Sudan - Coffs 28th May

Roadside demonstration report

We had a successful demonstration in Nambucca Heads last Thursday, with lots of positive reaction from passing motorists. Our next demo will take place onThursday 1st June in Coffs Harbour, beside the Pacific Highway, opposite the Base hospital. It would be great to welcome new supporters to the demonstration.
Please note that, for the winter months, we will start and finish half an hour early, so the demo will be from 2.30 pm until 4.00 pm. Please come and join us if you can. We have lots of placards and banners to share.

Market report: A great result

Well, it rained  for much of the day on Friday and the forecast for Saturday was pretty dire, which meant that there were far fewer stalls and visitors that usual at the Bellingen market. But the sun shone, and we had a remarkably successful time, collecting a record number of signatures, giving out hundreds of our new leaflets, signing up fifteen new supporters, and selling lots of merchandise. We were delighted to welcome two new, young, supporters to help on the stall. As usual, people continually expressed dismay at the government’s cruel asylum policy and were very supportive of our work.
Our next market will be at Valla Beach on Saturday 3rd June, and as usual we are looking for helpers between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm.  If you are able to help out for an hour or two, then please let Mike know at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.

Fundraiser for Refugee Week: Sunday 18th June, from 12.00 pm

We set out the details of the fundraiser in last week’s newsletter, so this is a reminder about this important upcoming event. We have had a number of positive responses so far, but we are a long way to go yet in attracting 30 attendees and in amassing auction items for sale. That said, we already have a very generous offer of a two-night stay in a beautiful B and B in Bellingen, valued at $356!
The lunch and auction will take place at 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach. Wine will be provided by our hosts, and you are asked to bring a plate to share – and of course your wallets!
Please have a look around for items to put under the hammer and let Mike know in advance so that he can organise the auction.
Please book your places for yourselves and your friends SOON, by emailing Mike at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com  or by phone: 6569 5419.
All the proceeds from the lunch donations and the auction will go to supporting our RAR group and a national refugee support group on a 50:50 basis.

Manus Island detention centre: Things just get worse

Documents published during the past week reveal that the Australian government has been deliberately and systematically making conditions worse for asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island. The object of the exercise is to coerce detainees into returning to where they came from, resettling in Cambodia or being dispersed in PNG.  It is of course illegal to force refugees to return to the danger from which they have fled, yet a small number have been persuaded to do so because of the hopelessness  of their situation, and the government’s repeated  message that they will never be resettled in Australia. A report published in recent days by the United Nations’ special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants makes the point that the Australian government’s policies have increasingly eroded the human rights of migrants, in contravention of its international human rights and humanitarian obligations. The author of the report, Francois Crepeau, reminds us that the use of detention as a deterrent is unlawful. He states: “It is a fundamental principle of human rights law that one person cannot be punished only for the reason of deterring another.”
It is vitally important that we keep up the pressure on our parliamentary representatives.  Our petition, with at least 4000 signatures, which calls for the immediate closure of offshore detention centres, will be presented to parliament  in mid June.

Upcoming event: Coffs Harbour: Sunday 28th May

On Sunday 28th May, there will be a concert in St John’s Anglican Church , in McLean Street, Coffs Harbour, commencing at 2.00 pm. Headlined as the Salem Variety Concert, it will feature choirs, bands and other musicians to support the education of children in South Sudan. All proceeds will go to the South Sudan Children’s Education Fund.  Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for students and children. Further details can be found on our Facebook page, or you can phone Jan on 6653 2058 or Cass on 6652 9185.


Check out the index of subjects on our blog  http://bellorar.blogspot.com.au
It includes articles from many sources and letters to politicians and newspapers.

This newsletter is sent to >500 recipients

(482 likes)

Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam


The National RAR web site is at  www.ruralaustraliansforrefugees.org.au

The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook