Index

Click on subject of interest shown on the right under the heading "labels" to see all relevant posts


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25.4.17

Newsletter for 25 April 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Roadside Demo Report
Coffs Harbour Market Report
Events on Manus Island


Roadside demonstration report

Last Thursday, a much-depleted group of supporters held  a roadside demonstration in Bellingen. We received lots of positive responses and support from passing motorists and pedestrians, which is always encouraging. It would be good to see more of our supporters participating in these demonstrations, as they are such a good way of getting our message across. We cannot simply fold our tent because Minister Dutton tells us that the Coalition policy will not change, notwithstanding our “bleating” about the issue. Our response was to create a new placard, especially for Mr Dutton!

Our upcoming roadside demos are as follows:
Thursday 4th May adjacent to the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour.
Thursday 18th May on the Pacific Highway in Nambucca Heads, adjacent to the Plaza shopping centre.
Thursday 1st June on the Pacific Highway in Coffs Harbour, opposite the Base hospital.
Thursday 15th June on Waterfall Way in Bellingen, adjacent to the library.
All the roadside demos start at 3.00 pm and end at 4.30 pm.

Coffs Harbour market report

Our market stall on Sunday at the temporary venue was a great success. The sun shone brightly, we had lots of visitors, collected 75 signatures on our petition, sold lots of merchandise and welcomed some new supporters. In addition to the many positive conversations that we had with market-goers, we also gave out information sheets about our group and about offshore detention. Our colourful stall continues to attract a lot of attention, and we didn’t have a single difficult conversation throughout the morning.
Our upcoming markets are as follows:
Saturday 20th May: Bellingen
Saturday 3rd June: Valla Beach
Sunday 25th June: Coffs Harbour
As  always, we are looking for helpers between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm, so if you are able to help out for an hour or two at any of these markets, then please put the dates in your diary.

Events on Manus Island

Supporters will be aware that there was a serious incident at the Manus Island detention centre on Good Friday, in which many shots were fired. Eye-witness accounts speak of drunken naval officers shooting into the detention centre, causing panic amongst both the refugees and detention centre workers. Minister Dutton immediately linked the incident to simmering tensions around an allegation of sexual assault that had taken place some weeks earlier, and suggested in addition that asylum seekers had lured a five year old child into the centre. The senior police officer on Manus, Inspector David Yapu, states that the incident was caused by drunken naval officers who attacked both the asylum seekers and members of the  workforce at the centre. He further stated that  a ten year old child had entered the detention centre a week earlier, had subsequently been returned unharmed to his parents, and that the two incidents were not linked.
Having insinuated that  the asylum seekers were to blame for the incident, rather than  the  drunken naval officers, Mr Dutton now says that we should let the police investigation run its  course. Echoes of the “children overboard” story here ! 


Our roadside demo in Bellingen

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 >480 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

18.4.17

Newsletter or 18 April 2017 Rural Australiansds Nambucca Distgricts for Refugees Bellingen an

Next Roadside Demo - Thurs 20th April Bellingen 3pm

Next Market - Coffs Harbour, Sun 23rd April
Home Among the Gumtrees
Violence at Manus Island
National refugee action conference - Canberra May 20-21

Next Roadside Demonstration: Bellingen, Thursday 20th April from 3.00 pm to 4.30 pm

A reminder to everyone that our next roadside demonstration will take place this Thursday in Bellingen. You will find us in our usual location on Waterfall Way, adjacent to the library. It would be great to have  good turnout in response to the serious danger that refugees are currently enduring on Manus Island (see below). Please consider joining us for a while to show that you care about Australia’s refugees and asylum seekers. We have lots of banners and placards to share.

Next Market Stall : Coffs Harbour, Sunday 23rd April:  New location.

Please note that the Harbourside market has been temporarily transferred to the Park Beach Reserve. The reserve is located adjacent to the Park Beach car park, on the banks of Coffs Creek.  We are looking for helpers between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm, so if you could lend a hand for an hour or two, please let Mike know by emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com. As usual, we’ll be selling our merchandise, handing out information sheets, collecting signatures on the RAR petition and interacting with market goers. Let’s hope that the sun shines!

Home Among the Gumtrees.

You will know that a dedicated group of our RAR supporters recently planned  a visit for an Iranian  refugee family to spend some time in the area. Sadly, due to the illness of one of the family members, the visit had to be called off at the very last minute, which was a big disappointment for everyone involved. The good news is that members of our group remain in contact with the family and we are hopeful that the visit can be rescheduled for later in the year.

Violence erupts on Manus Island

The latest outbreak of violence on Manus Island underlines yet again the need to close the centre without delay. The government’s response, as always, was to publish an obviously inaccurate statement, suggesting that PNG military personnel “discharged a weapon into the air”.  Eye witness accounts, together with photographic evidence, paint a very different picture. Church groups and human rights organisations have responded strongly to this latest incident, and have called for the detention centre to be evacuated immediately. Peter Catt, a spokesperson for the Australian Churches Refugee Task Force, says: “The darkness of betrayal and abandonment that we are familiar with in the Jesus story is being felt keenly by those on Manus this weekend. By bringing people to Australia, the US refugee deal may continue. More importantly, the healing of those who have been damaged by our nation’s policy can begin.”
Could you please contact Peter Dutton, the minister responsible, and Shayne Neumann, the Labor opposition spokesperson to add your voice to the protest about the continued detention of refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island.
You can call minister Dutton’s office on: 07 3205 9977, or email him at: minister@border.gov.au.
You can call Shayne Neumann’s office on: 07 3201 5300 or email him at: Shayne.Neumann.MP@aph.gov.au. Tell him that it’s time for Labor to abandon it’s support for the indefinite detention of refugees, and to support the transfer of all refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island to Australia.

National Conference of Refugee Action and Advocacy Groups: Canberra, 20th-21st May 2017

The Australian Refugee Action Network is organising the inaugural national conference for refugee advocacy groups, to take place in Canberra over the weekend of 20th- 21st May.  The conference will be held at the ANU Copeland Theatre, Kingsley Street, Canberra. It is an important event, with a full program of speakers and discussion groups, including a session for RAR groups. Full details can be found at:  ARAN Conference, the national conference for Advocates and Activists. It would be good to have some representation from our group. If you might be interested in attending, please let Mike know by emailing him 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 >480 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

11.4.17

Newsletter for 11 April 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Roadside Demo - Thurs 20th April Bellingen 3pm
Next Market - Coffs Harbourside Sunday April 23rd
No business in abuse
Health care on Manus Island in disarray

Roadside demonstration : Thursday 20th April in Bellingen from 3.00 pm to 4.30 pm.

Sadly, owing to the forecast of rain for the whole of the day last Thursday, we cancelled the planned roadside demonstration outside the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour. But worry not, we have another planned for Thursday 20th April in Bellingen! You will find us in the usual spot on Waterfall Way, adjacent to the library, between 3.00 pm and 4.30 pm. Please consider coming to join us if you can. As always, we have lots of banners and placards to share, we just need some willing hands to hold them aloft. Please put the date in your diary.

Market Stall: Coffs Harbourside market, Sunday 23rd April from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm 

Our next market stall will be in Coffs Harbour on Sunday 23rd April. We have had a run of bad luck with the weather for our stalls in recent months, so let’s cross our fingers and hope that the sun will shine. The Harbourside market is located near the jetty and we are looking for helpers from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. As always, we will be selling our asylum seeker merchandise, handing out information leaflets, collecting signatures for our petition and seeking donations for the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown. It’s a great opportunity to interact with the public and to get to know other RAR supporters. If you can join us for an hour or two, then please let Mike know by emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.

Amnesty warns companies about getting involved in abuse on Nauru and Manus island

Bowing to public pressure, the Spanish infrastructure giant Ferrovial, which owns the camp management company Broadspectrum, announced some time ago that it will not work in the offshore detention camps beyond its current contract, which expires in October. A new Amnesty briefing document argues that any companies taking over from Broadspectrum will be participating in a deliberately abusive regime. The briefing document states: “Any company or organisation taking up this toxic baton will be complicit in an intentionally abusive system, in direct contravention of its human rights responsibilities, and will be exposing itself to potential liability and damages claims.” The document goes on to say: “The Australian government has created an island of despair for refugees and people seeking asylum on Nauru, but an island of profit for companies making millions of dollars from a system so deliberately and inherently cruel and abusive that it amounts to torture.”
We can but hope that no company will want to take the risk of accepting a contract for the continuation of the cruelty and punishment of the asylum seekers and refugees on Nauru and Manus Island, who remain the responsibility of the Australian government. These people, who have committed no crime, should be brought to Australia for processing and resettlement. It’s time to end the shame!

Health care on Manus Island in disarray

In recent days, the Manus Island detention centre’s for-profit organisation – International Health and Medical Services – has been forced to abandon the island because, according to the PNG government, it was found to be practising medicine unlicensed. The company has temporarily been replaced by a skeleton staff from a PNG company, which is providing only basic and emergency medical care. The effect, inevitably, is that some detainees requiring medication for chronic conditions – as many of them do – have been left without medication. If a situation like this were to arise in any of our towns and cities, there would rightly be a huge outcry, but the issue has hardly registered on the radar of the Australian media. It seems that as long as the government can keep these ongoing crises hidden from view, with little scrutiny or accountability, then our politicians – both government and opposition - are happy to look the other way. We need to keep up the pressure to end this cruelty.


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 >480 recipients

(482 likes)

Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam

Email address bellingen.rar@gmail.com

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

The National RAR facebook site is at  RAR Facebook

5.4.17

Roadside demo tomorrow April 6 - cancelled due to weather.

Notification received on 5 April 2017 that the Roadside demo to be held on 6 April has been cancelled due to weather. 

4.4.17

Newsletter for 4 April 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Market - Coffs Harbourside Sunday April 23rd
Next Roadside Demo - Thurs 6th April Big Banana 3pm
Donation to Refugee and Casework Service
Book Release - They Cannot Take the Sky: Stories from Detention

Market report

Sadly, once again, there is nothing to report, as the Valla market was cancelled due to the wet weather. We are not having much luck lately! Our next market will be the Coffs Harbourside market, which will take place on Sunday 23rd April. We would be grateful for support between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm, so if you can help out for an hour or two, please let Mike know my emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com. We would welcome supporters, old and new.

Next roadside demonstration: The Big Banana, Coffs Harbour: Thursday 6th April from 3.00 pm to 4.30 pm

Our next roadside demonstration is just a couple of days away. You will find us on the grass verge beneath the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, and we would very much welcome a big turnout to show people that the issue of treating asylum seekers with humanity and compassion will not go away. We have lots of banners and placards to share, so why not come and join us? 
At this particular venue, experience tells us that it is better to wear shoes rather than open sandals or thongs, as the bull ants are pretty vicious!
In two weeks time, on Thursday 20th April, our roadside demonstration will be in Bellingen.

Donation to the Refugee Advice and Casework Service

As you will be aware from last week’s newsletter, our fundraising efforts last week enabled us to send $2,337 to RACS to support their urgent work in assisting asylum seekers to register their claims for protection. We received the following response from the RACS fundraising manager:

“RACS would like to extend a big thank you to all those at the Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts for your recent donation. Your very generous support towards the work of RACS helps to enable us to provide free legal assistance to people seeking asylum, thus making a huge difference to their future prospects. The confidence and support from community organisations such as yours provides our legal team and the many people we assist with hope and encouragement. Thank you!”

They Cannot Take the Sky: Stories From Detention

In this new book, published just a few weeks ago by Allen and Unwin, people who have sought refuge in Australia tell their stories in their own words. Many of the writers are still in detention on Manus island or Nauru. Others are living in the Australian community waiting for their  applications for refugee status  to be considered.  This is what some prominent people have to say in the foreword to the book:

“They emerge as brave and resourceful people who ought to have been welcomed with open arms but instead have become pawns in an obscure game played between political parties. As a matter of policy they have been turned into non-people, their names erased, their images blanked out, their voices silenced.” J M Coetzee

“ To pay attention to these stories is to know we must do things differently and to remember that the universal aspiration to a dignified life is the essential human quality that should guide our thinking.” Peter Mares

“This is a book whose human, frank, illuminating voices the government does not want to hear from. In the end Australia will hear and honour these life histories, and honestly acknowledge Australia’s shameful part in them.”  Tom Keneally

The book is currently available at the Alternative Bookshop in Bellingen, at the Book Warehouse in Coffs Harbour, and of course, online. You can find out more at:behindthewire.org.au.

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 >480 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

28.3.17

Newsletter for 28 March 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next Market - Valla Beach April 1st
Next Roadside Demo - Thurs 6th April Coffs Base Hospital 3pm
March in March Report
Home Among the Gumtrees Update
Sri Lankan Curry Lunch Report

Next market: Valla Beach, Saturday 1st April from 9.00 am to 1.30 pm

Our next market is just a few days away, and we are hoping for better weather, having been rained off at Coffs Harbour and Bellingen recently. As always, we are looking for support between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm to help with getting signatures on our petition, giving out information leaflets, selling our merchandise and interacting with the market goers. You don’t need to have any previous experience or in-depth knowledge about the asylum seeker issues as there are always “old hands” around to assist. If you are able to join us for an hour or two, then please let Mike know by emailing him at : mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.


Roadside demonstration report

Given our very crowded calendar in recent days, it was not surprising that we had just a small (but enthusiastic!) band of demonstrators at the roadside in Coffs Harbour last Thursday, and it was great to welcome a new member to our ranks. As usual, we received lots of very positive feedback from passing motorists, which reinforces our feeling that these demonstrations are very worthwhile. Our next demonstration will be on Thursday 6th April by the Pacific Highway, outside the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour. We will be there with our banners and placards from 3.00 pm until 4.30 pm, so do consider joining us if you can.

March in March report

It was great to have such a large RAR contingent at last Saturday’s March in March. We had enough people to deploy all our banners and placards, so we were a very visible presence for the asylum seeker cause. We collected more than 40 signatures on our petition and raised $200 for the Refugee Advice and Casework Service appeal. A big thank you to all those who were able to join us.

Home Among the Gumtrees Update

Our participation in this venture has been in the works for quite a while, so you will be pleased to learn that it is finally coming to fruition. Just over a week ago, a small group of us met with Sandra Hawker, who is the enthusiastic and hardworking volunteer State Coordinator of the Home Among the Gumtrees  asylum seeker support organisation. The purpose of this volunteer group is to offer some respite for asylum seekers living in capital cities by seeking support from RAR groups to host asylum seeker families for a few days. We are delighted to tell you that an Iranian family – a couple and their two sons -  will be arriving by train on 8th April and will be hosted and supported by members of our  group who had volunteered some time ago to help with this venture.  The cost of their train fares has been met through a combination of our funds and donations. If this first visit goes well, we could consider hosting further visits in the future, provided that we have volunteers willing to participate. We’ll report on the visit in due course.

Curry lunch and auction report

On Sunday, thirty RAR supporters and friends  were treated to a wonderful Sri Lankan lunch, thanks to the amazing generosity of Margie and Georgie, who are longstanding activists in our group. It was a truly fantastic event and greatly enjoyed by everyone who participated. We are greatly indebted to Margie and Georgie for volunteering to put on the wonderful feast and for ensuring that we had a full house for the event. They deserve a medal!  The lunch, together with donations from people who were not able to attend, raised a staggering $1,175 for the Refugee Advice and Casework Service appeal.  We also held an auction between the main course and dessert, with  22 items going under the hammer, raising a further  $962. There were some suggestions that Mike might consider a second career as an auctioneer, but we don’t think that he should be encouraged! The total raised on the day was  $2,137, far exceeding our target of $1,000.  A huge thank you to everyone who contributed. Together with the $200 raised at the March in March, we have been able to send $2,337 to RACS to support their urgent work in assisting asylum seekers to complete their applications for refugee status.







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 >480 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

21.3.17

Newsletter for 21 March 2017 Rural Australians Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Sri Lankan Curry Lunch Sun 26th March
Auction items?
Next Market - Valla Beach April 1st
Next Roadside Demo - Thurs 23rd March Coffs Base Hospital 3pm
March in March - Sat 25th March 11am

Sri Lankan Curry Lunch: Sunday 26th March at 1.00 pm: 12, River Street, Mylestom

In last week’s newsletter we set out the proposal for a curry lunch to take place this coming Sunday, in response to the urgent appeal for funds by the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, as they struggle to meet the impossible deadlines for asylum seekers in Australia to submit their claims for protection under the Refugee Convention. So far we have not had much response from supporters for the event.  The cost will be $30 per person, and all the money raised will be donated to RACS. If you plan to attend, then it is essential that you let our hosts Margie and Georgie know by Thursday evening (24th March), so that they can either organise the shopping or cancel the event. Please email Margie and Georgie at: gsmh@fastmail.fm or phone: 0414 592 519 to book seats for you and your friends. 
Auction: going, going............?

At the proposed curry lunch, we hope to hold an auction to raise further funds for the RACS appeal. If you have an item that you think will sell for at least $20, then please let Mike know by email at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.  or phone him on: 6569 5419 by Thursday evening.
Markets

As we are sure you will be aware, the Bellingen market was cancelled last weekend, due to the very heavy rain.  We are not having much luck of late, having also been rained off recently in Coffs Harbour!
Our next market will be at the Valla Beach market onSaturday 1st April. If you are able to help out at any time between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm, then please let Mike know by emailing him at : mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.  Let’s hope that the sun shines and that we can make up for the disappointments of Coffs Harbour and Bellingen.
Roadside demonstration: Thursday 23rd March from 3.00 pm to 4.30 pm in Coffs Harbour

Our next roadside demonstration will be this Thursday, 23rd March in Coffs Harbour, (weather permitting). You will find us by the side of the Pacific Highway, opposite the Base hospital. Please come and join us if you can. We have lots of banners and placards to share, and these demonstrations are an important reminder to people that we will not give up the fight for justice and humanity  for asylum seekers, whether they be on Manus Island, Nauru or  mainland Australia.
March in March: Nambucca Heads, Saturday 25th March at 11.00 am

As explained in last week’s newsletter, there will be a March in March in Nambucca Heads on Saturday 25th March, at which we are hoping for substantial presence of our RAR supporters. If you can join us and help carry our banners and placards, then please come to the Plaza shopping centre car park for an 11.00 am start.  We plan to march with our banners to Bellwood Park and to address the crowd.

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 >480 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

14.3.17

Newsletter for 14 March 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Belllingen and Nambucca Districts

Roadside Demo Report
Next Market Stall - Bellingen Sat 18th March
Update on visa application deadlines
Sri Lankan curry lunch - Sunday 26th March
March in March - Sat 25th March

Roadside demonstration report

We held another successful roadside demonstration in Nambucca Heads last week. A good turnout by our supporters, including three  people that we haven’t seen for a while and one new member – together with Mags the dog! A great opportunity to chat as well as to engage with the passing traffic. The weather was reasonably kind, and we received overwhelming support from passing motorists and truckies. Our next demonstration will be in Coffs Harbour by the Pacific Highway opposite the Base hospital. on Thursday 23rd March from 3.00 pm to 4.30 pm. Do come and join us if you can.

Next market stall: Saturday 18th March at Bellingen market

Our next market stall will be at Bellingen market this Saturday from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. We’ll be collecting signatures on the RAR petition, selling our asylum seeker merchandise and talking to market goers about the plight of asylum seekers, particularly those held in indefinite detention on Manus Island and Nauru. If you can lend a hand on the stall for an hour or two, then please email Mike at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com   to let him know.

Update on visa application deadlines

As we reported earlier, many thousands of asylum seekers living in Australia on bridging visas have found themselves facing impossible deadlines to submit their refugee claims. The 60-page application forms typically take, even with the assistance of a lawyer, eight to ten hours to complete, and they have to be “right first time”.  Volunteers at Sydney’s Refugee Advice and Casework Service have been working 18-hour shifts, while Australia’s legal fraternity has volunteered hundreds of hours of pro bono assistance. A leading refugee advocate, Kon Karapanagiotidis, writes: “This has just been catastrophic for the asylum seekers caught up in this. Where once we had to call our critical assessment and treatment team once or twice a week to respond to someone threatening or committing self-harm or suicide, it’s five times a day now. This is breaking people.”
In last week’s newsletter, we asked supporters to think about how we might raise funds to help with this crisis. We are really grateful to those of you who have responded with helpful suggestions, as a result of which we can now reveal what we intend to do. Here is the plan!

Sri Lankan curry lunch and auction: Sunday 26th March at 1.00 pm: 12, River Street, Mylestom

Thanks to the enormous generosity of Margie and Georgie, two of our long-standing supporters, you are invited to a Sri Lankan curry lunch at their house in Mylestom. The cost will be $30  per person, and all the money raised will be donated to the Refugee Advice and Casework Service. Wine will be provided, but BYO beer/soft drinks. You might like to dress up in Asian style for the occasion! It will be a lot of fun, and our target is to raise $1000 to support legal advice for asylum seekers.  Please email Margie and Georgie at: gsmh@fastmail.fm  or phone: 0414 592 519 to book seats for you and your friends. Seating is limited, so get in early.
If you are able to help out with the sweet course, then please give Margie a call.
We also plan to hold an auction at the end of the meal, and we are seeking lots to put under the hammer. If you have something that you can offer for the auction that is not too bulky and that will sell for at least $20, then please let Mike know by email at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com  or phone him on: 6569 5419, to give him the details. If you are not able to come to the lunch, but would like to offer something for sale, then please get in touch with Mike to arrange collection. So far we have two lots: a pair of original paintings and a mixed case of red wine. If we can get 20 lots to sell in twenty minutes, we could make a tidy sum!
Please support this fundraiser in any way you can.

March in March: Saturday 25th March in Nambucca Heads, from 11.00 am

Our RAR group has supported the March in March in Coffs Harbour on several occasions. The organisation is not politically aligned and offers a range of groups the opportunity to make their voices heard on a wide range of issues from climate change, coal seam gas, conservation, education , the ABC and many issues in between. This year the event will be held in Nambucca Heads, and we plan to march with our banners and to address the crowd when it reaches Bellwood Park.  If you can join us at the event, please come to the Plaza shopping centre car park in Nambucca Heads for an 11.00 am start. We have lots of banners and placards to share.  It would be good to have a strong RAR presence.





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 >480 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

7.3.17

Newsletter for 7 March Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Roadside Demo Nambucca Thurs 9th
Next Market Stall - Bellingen Sat 18th March
Refugee Advice and Casework Services Appeal



Our next Roadside Demonstration: Thursday 9th March, Nambucca Heads: 3.00 pm to 4.30 pm

A final reminder that our next roadside demonstration is this Thursday in Nambucca Heads. We we will located in our usual spot, on the Pacific Highway adjacent to the Plaza shopping centre. Please come and join us if you can, even if only for part of the time. We have lots of banners and placards to share, but we do need a sizeable group of supporters to help to get our message across  to passing motorists.  It would be great to see a few new people. Why not give it a go?
Our next market stall: Bellingen market, Saturday 18th March from 9.00 am to 1.30 pm

A reminder that our next market stall will be at the Bellingen market on Saturday 18th March. We are seeking support from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm.  Many of you will be familiar with the Bellingen market and you will know that it is a busy and lively event. It presents a great opportunity for us to talk to market-goers, give out leaflets, collect signatures on our petition, sell our refugee merchandise and collect donations for the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown, to whom we have donated $750 since August last year. If you can join us for an hour or two, then please let Mike know by emailing him at : mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.
Refugee Advice and Casework Services appeal

Last week in the newsletter we wrote about the latest crisis facing asylum seekers living in Australia, as they seek to meet the sudden imposition of impossible deadlines for their applications for refugee status. It is  incredibly difficult for asylum seekers to complete  the 60-page application, which is in English only. They cannot do so without legal assistance, and yet, as we reported, federal funding for legal assistance has been reduced by 90% in recent times. As David Manne, the executive director of Refugee Legal explains:  “These people are not refusing to apply. To understand this process means people need legal assistance, and what’s been removed is public legal assistance.These 60-day letters have created great fear and panic in the refugee community. There’s a serious miscarriage of justice here – it could mean the deportation of people to torture or death.”
In an effort to increase the level of legal support available, the Refugee Advice and Casework Service has launched an online appeal to raise funds, the details of which we posted our our RAR Facebook page on 28th February.  (Our Facebook link is at the bottom of this newsletter). We know that several of our supporters have already made generous donations, which is great. Some people have suggested that we could organise a fundraising event. Ideas include a charity lunch at the Bellingen Butter Factory; a concert; or a charity auction. What do you think? Have you any suggestions that you would like to put forward? And, importantly, would you be able to help with organising an event? Please let us have your responses by email to: bellingen.rar@gmail.com. It would be helpful to have your responses in the next week or so, since we will need to move fairly quickly if we decide to undertake a fundraiser.
If you have difficulty in finding the link on our Facebook page, then simply Google  “Refugee Advice and Casework Services” and follow the prompts.



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 >480 recipients

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Twitter Account @RARBellingenNam


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

28.2.17

Newsletter for 28 February 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Roadside Demo Report
Harbourside Market Report
Refugee Council of Australia Report
Another Cruel Blow for Asylum Seekers
Is Australia Racist




Roadside demonstration report : Bellingen,  23rd February

Another successful roadside demonstration last week in Bellingen, with  about ten supporters turning up. There was lots of positive feedback from both motorists and pedestrians. There can be no doubt, from our three years’ experience of these events, that these demonstrations are both morale-boosting and effective. They promote the cause of asylum seekers, and they encourage people to reflect on the serious mistreatment of refugees languishing in offshore detention centres. With your support, we will keep them going until government policy changes and until the last refugee on Nauru and Manus Island finds safe refuge in another country.
Our next roadside demonstration will be in Nambucca Heads by the Pacific Highway adjacent to the Plaza shopping centre on Thursday 9th March from 3.00 pm until 4.30 pmTwo weeks later, on Thursday 23rd March, we will be demonstrating in Coffs Harbour, by the Pacific Highway opposite the Base Hospital, at the usual time.
Why not make a resolution to join us?
Market report from the Harbourside market on 26th February

What can we say, other than that it was somewhat wet? We did collect some signatures for our petition and had a number of very positive conversations with market goers before the heavens opened. We stuck it out until about 11.00 am, by which time everyone was beating a hasty retreat. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen very often, so we won’t be deterred!
Our next market stall will be at the Bellingen Market on Saturday 18th  March. If you can help out for an hour or so between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm, then please let Mike know by emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.
Thereafter, we have  market stalls planned for Valla Beach market on Saturday 1st April and Coffs Harbourside market on Sunday 23rd April.
Refugee Council of Australia Report: State of the Nation

Last week  the Refugee Council of Australia published an important report “State of the Nation 2017”, which sets out in great detail the situation facing refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia.  The final section, “What should be done? The challenges ahead,” is particularly informative, and well worth reading. It states: “Australia’s policies towards people seeking asylum, especially those who come by boat, are among the world’s worst. Australia, alone in the world, sends people seeking asylum by boat to tiny islands with threats that they will never be able to seek safety in Australia. Australia is one of the few countries in the world that locks up people indefinitely. Australia forces people into destitution. Australia leaves people in limbo.....” You can read the full report by Googling : Refugee Council of Australia: State of the Nation 2017.

Yet another cruel blow for Australian asylum seekers

In yet another cruel twist aimed at making life more difficult for asylum seekers living in Australia waiting to have their refugee status finalised, the government is now making that process even more difficult and precarious for them. Under the so-called fast-track process –which is nothing of the kind- asylum seekers have recently been told that their applications have to be completed within 60 days or less.  The application process is long and complex, involving the completion of a 60-page document in English. It is impossible for asylum seekers to complete the document without legal assistance, and yet the government has cruelly and deliberately cut the funding for legal assistance by an incredible 90%. Many asylum seekers have been on a waiting list for assistance for up to a year. What are they supposed to do? They are now being threatened with the loss of any support payments, having their bridging visas cancelled, losing access to Medicare or even having their right to claim asylum withdrawn.


Once you have read the article, please consider writing to your MP (which for most of us is Luke Hartsuyker), to Minister Dutton and to the Prime Minister.
Email addresses:

Is Australia Racist?

On Sunday night SBS showed a documentary, hosted by Ray Martin, called "Is Australia Racist?". It was very interesting, especially in the way it noted how racism has changed over the last few decades. In particular was a short piece with an advertising executive about "framing". A group of people were shown two different versions of reporting of a boat load of asylum seekers arriving in Darwin. Depending on how the clip was framed the peoples responses were poles apart. There were several other experiments to gauge peoples reactions that are worth watching.



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 >480 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