Index

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".




17.1.17

Newsletter for 17 January 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Bellingen Market Stall - Sat 21st Jan
Letter from Tanya Plibersek MP
Human rights watch report card 2017

Our next market: Bellingen, Saturday 21st January

A reminder that our next market is this Saturday in Bellingen.  John and Mike will be setting up the stall at 7.00 am, and we are looking for helpers from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. If you can spare an hour or so to give a hand, then please let Mike know at:mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.  We will be collecting signatures on a new national RAR petition in addition to selling merchandise, handing out new leaflets and talking to market goers. It’s a great opportunity to interact with the public and to continue to publicise  the terrible reality of our government’s asylum policy. You will find us near to the live music stage and the food stalls, at pitch C 48. Please drop by to say hello if you are visiting the market.
 
Letter from Tanya Plibersek MP

During the Christmas break, we finally received a response from Tanya Plibersek, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, to our October letter about the plight of asylum seekers and refugees. It is a lengthy response, which seeks to differentiate Labor’s policy from that of the Coalition. Clearly, there are differences between the two groups’ positions, but critically, the Labor party remains wedded to the policy of boat turn-backs and offshore detention which has become a policy of indefinite detention over the years.  The letter , which you can find on our blog, ends as follows: “Once again, thank you for taking time to write to me, and for your advocacy on this important issue. Please pass on my best wishes to all in Rural Australians or Refugees.”

It is fair to say that Tanya Plibersek’s letter is quite different in tone and content from the  response we received from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, which you can also find on our blog.
 
Human Rights Watch Report Card 2017

Last week, Human Rights Watch published its annual update on the state of human rights around the world, and once again Australia came in for severe criticism over its asylum policy. The governments of Australia and PNG are criticised for the fact that no steps have been taken to date to close the Manus Island detention centre, in spite of the fact that the PNG supreme court declared it to be illegal under the country’s constitution.  HRW calls for the centre’s  closure and for the immediate resettlement of detainees in Australia or a suitable third country. They report: “ Refugees and asylum seekers on Manus have suffered enough; it’s time to let them move on with their lives in safety and dignity.” The report goes on to describe Australia’s policy of offshore detention as “draconian”, stating that people are held in abusive and dangerous conditions.

There is no chapter on Nauru, but HRW’s Australia director, Elaine Pearson, says: “There has been an absence of accountability for violence and harassment faced by refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, and in fact senior officials have simply denied such abuses took place rather than investigating allegations. More broadly, there has been an erosion of democracy and the rule of law.”


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 453 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

10.1.17

Newsletter for 10 January 2017 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Welcome
Bellingen Market Stall - Sat 21st Jan
Roadside demonstration - Big Banana, Thurs 9th Feb
USA refugee resettlement
Assisting asylum seekers

Welcome back!

We hope that you have all enjoyed the break from normal routines in recent weeks  and we wish you all a happy new year. Let us hope that 2017 turns out to be a better one for our asylum seekers and refugees in offshore detention centres and on the mainland. We plan to keep up the fight for a just, humane and compassionate resolution to the torment that our government has been inflicting on refugees in recent years. Perhaps you have made a resolution to become more involved in our activities this year.  If so, we very much look forward to meeting you at one of our 16 markets planned for the year or at one of our many roadside demonstrations. We, and the asylum seekers and refugees languishing in detention, need all the help that we can muster in order to keep this terrible situation in the public eye.
Our next market stall: Bellingen market, Saturday 21st January

Our first market of 2017 will be in Bellingen on Saturday 21st January. Please consider helping out on the stall for a while between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm, or just drop in to say hello and to sign our petition. If you can help out, please let Mike know by emailing him at :mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com. As usual, we’ll be selling our merchandise, handing out leaflets, talking to lots of people and collecting donations for the Asylum Seekers Centre.
Our next roadside demonstration : Big Banana, Coffs Harbour, Thursday 9th February.

We have to delay the start of our roadside demos owing to  the intervention of Australia day and another unavoidable commitment. We’ll have a new banner to unfurl, so it would be great to have two new pairs of hands for it’s first outing. We’ll be located by the Pacific Highway adjacent to the Big Banana from 3.00 pm until 4.30 pm on Thursday 9th February. Please come and join us and help us spread the message that Australians do care about the refugees and asylum seekers still trapped on Nauru and Manus after all this time.
Will the USA refugee resettlement survive the Trump presidency?

There has been a great deal of speculation about whether or not the deal between Obama and Turnbull will survive under a Trump presidency. Leaving aside the basic sordidness of the proposals, we are reading reports from the USA this week that the arrangements are by no means secure. Texan Republican Brian Babin is adamant that the deal will not go ahead. He has told Fairfax Media:  “ I am confident President-elect Trump will do everything in his power to put an immediate stop to this secret Australian-US deal that should have simply never happened in the first place.”
There has only ever been one moral and lawful solution to the issue. The refugees and asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru should be brought to Australia and should, if found to be genuine refugees, be resettled here.

Assisting asylum seekers in Nauru and Manus
For people languishing in Manus and Nauru their phones are often the only link they have with their families. If you would like to help with a contribution of phone credit please follow the Facebook link below for more information. 
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1646607628911452/


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 453 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

27.12.16

Newsletter for 20 December 2016 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Donations Report
Meeting with Luke Hartsuyker MP
Market dates for 2017
Christmas break


Donations in 2016

A focus of our efforts during 2016 has been to raise funds for refugee charities.  A combination of sales at our markets, donations from market goers and the highly successful piano recital by Simon Tedeschi has resulted in donations to charities of $5,520, which is a great outcome. We donated the money to ChilOut ($2,870), to the Refugee  Advice and Casework Service ($2,000) and to our current charity, the Asylum Seekers Centre ($650). We currently have a balance in our account of $1,000.
 
Meeting with Luke Hartsuyker MP

We have recently received a response from Luke Hartsuyker’s diary secretary, who has indicated the our elected representative will see a delegation of four of our members in late January/early February. We hope to get a definite slot in his calendar early in the New Year.
 
Market dates for 2017

We have finalised the dates for next year’s markets, so you can now write them in your new calendars! We have had great support from members in 2016, and we are sure that will continue next year. It would be great to see some new faces from time to time, so we hope that more members will consider participating.The dates are as follows:

21st January: Bellingen
4th February: Valla Beach
26th February: Coffs Harbour
18th March: Bellingen
1st April: Valla Beach
24th April: Coffs Harbour
20th May: Bellingen
3rd June: Valla Beach
25th June: Coffs Harbour
15th July: Bellingen
5th August: Valla Beach
27th August: Coffs Harbour
16th September: Bellingen
7th October: Valla Beach
18th November: Bellingen
2nd December: Valla Beach.

Christmas break

We will be taking a break over Christmas and so won't be filling up your in-box over the next few weeks. But we will be back in 2017 with emails, petitions, market stalls and roadside demonstrations with the aim of informing public opinion and changing government policy. So have a safe and happy Christmas and we look forward to seeing you in 2017.

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 453 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

13.12.16

Newsletter for 13 December 2016 Rural Australians Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Roadside demonstration report
Donations to refugee charities
Contacting Luke Hartsuyker MP


Roadside demonstration report

We held our final roadside demo of 2016 in Coffs Harbour last week, and everyone present –there were nine of us – agreed that it was a great success. We received overwhelming support from passing motorists, who, like the market-goers, seem to appreciate that there are people in our community who will not turn their backs on refugees, and who will continue to advocate for a compassionate solution to the problem.  It is sad that, as we approach Christmas, there are still hundreds of asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus who will be spending their fourth Christmas in these terrible places. We will maintain our efforts in 2017 to work towards a solution for our refugees.
Donations to refugee charities

From time to time people ask us about refugee charities, because they want to make a donation. We are currently supporting the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown, and sent them a donation of $200 last week, making the total $650 since we began supporting them earlier in the year. The ASC provides a wide range of services to refugees and is heavily reliant on donations, since government funding has been drastically reduced, at a time when the need for assistance has grown enormously.  The support provided includes legal services, health care, employment assistance services, English language training, food bank and daily meals, family support, emergency accommodation, and much besides. You can contact them at:   asylumseekerscentre.org.au
Another major refugee charity is the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, which is Australia’s largest independent refugee and asylum seeker organisation, which, like the ASC, delivers a wide range of services for asylum seekers and refugees.  You can contact them at: asrc.org.au/sp.
Contacting Luke Hartsuyker MP

We have been in touch with Mr Hartsuyker’s office twice in the past week in an effort to make an appointment to see him and to present him with our petition. At the time of writing, we are still awaiting a response from his diary manager.
In the meantime, all our supporters living in the Cowper electorate will have received a communication from Mr Hartsuyker in recent days, which includes an invitation to complete a survey of voters’ concerns. The survey includes a section entitled “Our Nation” and asks the question: “What is the one issue that concerns you the most about the state of our nation?” Please consider answering this question along the lines of “My deepest concern is the government’s appalling treatment of refugees and asylum seekers” or something similar, and sending your reply to: Luke Hartsuyker, Reply Paid 2056, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450. It will only take a moment, and costs nothing. Give it a go!



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 453 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

6.12.16

Newsletter for 6 December 2016 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Valla Beach market report
Roadside demonstration - Coffs Harbour Thursday 8th Dec
Petition to Luke Hartsuyker
Christmas break

Valla Beach market report

We had another great market on Saturday at Valla Beach under warm sunny skies.  There were nine of us at various times during the morning, and we were busy the whole time, getting people to sign the petition and engaging in discussion about asylum seeker issues. As always, the support from market-goers was overwhelmingly positive, though inevitably from time to time we encounter people with very entrenched, sometimes extreme views. It was pretty shocking to listen to one passer by who argued that it is a good thing to bomb hospitals in Aleppo and other parts of Syria, as the Taliban and members of ISIS use these places  to hide. The good people of Eltham, on the outskirts of Melbourne, have the perfect antidote to this kind of bigotry. In the face of attacks from far-right groups as they seek to refurbish accommodation for refugees, their response was: “We have to make our voices louder, and that’s what our group is trying to do. The voices of compassion and love have to be louder than the voices of hate.”
 
Next roadside demonstration: Thursday 8th December in Coffs Harbour

A reminder that our final roadside demonstration for 2016 is this Thursday, 8th December from 3.00 pm until 4.30 pm opposite the Base Hospital in Coffs Harbour. It would be great to have a strong turnout for our final demo of the year. Please consider joining us, even for part of the time, to remind the public that we still have many hundreds of families languishing in intolerable conditions on Nauru, and many hundreds of single men living in similar conditions on Manus. As yet, they have no idea what the future holds for them, and many of them have now spent more than three years in these hell-holes. Please come and join us to show your support. We have lots of banners and placards to share.
 
Petition to Luke Hartsuyker MP.

At Saturday’s market, we reached our target of 300 signatures on the petition to our local MP. Last week, we sent a letter by priority post, to arrive at Luke Hartsuyker’s office on Thursday 1st December. The letter states: 
                                                                                              
Dear Mr Hartsuyker,
Our local Rural Australians for Refugees group has, in recent weeks, collected signatures on a petition, which is addressed to you. The petition reads:
Dear Mr Hartsuyker,
Evidence from professionals working in the detention centres on Manus and Nauru, together with reports from international organisations, make shocking reading and viewing. These centres are clearly designed to inflict suffering and to break the spirits of innocent people. Evidence of physical and sexual abuse are well documented, and go unpunished. It is time to put an end to this shameful policy. We urge you, as our representative in Parliament, to make a firm commitment to the urgent closure of these centres and to the resettlement in Australia of asylum seekers currently on Manus and Nauru.
We would like the opportunity to present the petition to you as soon as possible, and to discuss its contents with you. To that end, I propose to contact your office in the next few days to arrange a mutually convenient time for a small group of no more than four of your constituents to meet with you. I trust that you will be able to make the time to see us.

                                                                                                            Yours sincerely
                                                                                                             Mike Griffin
                                               On behalf of the Bellingen and Nambucca District RAR
Mike has been in contact with Luke Hartsuyker’s office, but at the time of writing he has not been able to get a positive response. More details in next week’s newsletter.

Christmas Break
Our final newsletter for 2016 will be sent to our 450 supporters on Tuesday 20th December. We will take a two-week break, with our first newsletter of 2017 arriving in your inboxes on Tuesday 10th January.


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 453 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

2.12.16

Peter Dutton millionaire - article in Australian 2 Dec 2016

The burden of handling one of federal politics’ most controversial portfolios isn’t holding back Immigration Minister Peter Dutton from building his substantial personal wealth.
The Member for Dixon is one of parliament’s less publicised multi-millionaires, having accumulated assets worth at least $10 million — perhaps as much as $20m — mainly through investment in residential real estate.

While protesters this week were hijacking the parliament over the Turnbull government’s refugee policies, Dutton was ­disclosing that he had been on a real estate spending spree since May.

He’s snapped up two new properties for his portfolio in his beloved Queensland — one in inner city Brisbane’s Spring Hill and another in far north Queensland’s Townsville.
No wonder Dutton was one of the most strident critics of Labor shadow treasurer Chris Bowen’s proposal to end negative gearing on property.
“Labor’s essentially said they want to lower house prices and they want to increase rents and I think that would be a disaster,” Dutton said of the proposal back in March.
Going by these latest acquisitions, those fears have passed.
With his Perth-born wife Kirilly, Dutton, 46, also has investment properties in Canberra’s Kingston, one on Moreton Island and a $2.4m beachfront pile he bought last year in Palm Beach. That home sits on “Millionaire’s Row” alongside one owned by surfing legend Kelly Slater, the former boyfriend of Baywatch’s Pamela Anderson.
The Duttons live in an expansive 20,000sq m spread at Camp Mountain — which is just over a 30-minute drive northwest of Brisbane’s CBD.
All up, that makes six residential properties in the Dutton portfolio.
And the family also control childcare operations in Queensland.
The former Queensland cop got the property bug early — buying his first property when he was 19, funded by a paper run as a teenager, work after school in a butcher and a strict avoidance of smashed avocado. On the side from his policing, he worked in the building business, Dutton Holdings, he founded with his father.
The pair developed childcare businesses, which they eventually sold to ABC Learning’s Eddie Groves, who back in 2004 was a donor to Dutton’s election campaign.
The now failed businessman gave Dutton $15,000 in two tranches in 2004. Considering their subsequent trajectories, Groves now might need that money back.


29.11.16

Newsletter for 29 November 2016 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Next market stall - Valla Beach 3rd December
RAR annual meeting and get together report
Petition to the Prime Minister
Roadside demonstration - Bellingen Thursday 24th Nov
Invitation to Bellingen bookreading


Roadside demonstration report

Another good demo in Bellingen last Thursday afternoon. There were only six of us, but we put on a good show and the response from passing motorists and pedestrians was entirely positive and supportive. Our next demonstration, which will be our last for 2016, will be in Coffs Harbour, opposite the Base Hospital on Thursday 8th December from 3.00 pm until 4.30 pm. It would be great to have a good turnout for our final roadside demo of 2016, so please consider coming along to give your support. In the light of recent events – not least the outpourings of Minister Dutton against people of “Lebanese Muslim background”- it’s so important that we present a different, compassionate and humane message. We hope that we might  see you there.
Our next market: Valla Beach, Saturday 3rd December

Our final market of the year - number 16 - is this coming Saturday at Valla Beach. We will be collecting signatures on the petition to our local Member of Parliament, engaging with the public and selling our merchandise. A great opportunity for you to buy a Boat People T shirt, tea towel or bag in time for Christmas! If you haven’t yet signed the petition, please come along and add your name. If you have collected petitions, it would be good if you could bring them along on Saturday, or alternatively post them to Mike at: Mike Griffin, 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach, NSW 2448, to arrive by next Tuesday 6th December at the latest. If you can help on our market stall for an hour or two between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm, then please email Mike to let him know at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com
Recent additions to our blog

During the past week, we have received a very supportive letter from Richard Di Natale, leader of the Greens, in response to correspondence. Mike has also received a letter from Luke Hartsuyker, our Federal MP, in response to a letter about the Coalition’s offshore detention policy. In addition, Margaret Henley has produced an update about Home Among the Gumtrees. The letters, and Margaret’s update, can be found on our blog.
Still no response  from Bill Shorten or Tanya Plibersek to our letter of 10th October, which you can also find on the blog.
The Petition. What happens next?

Our plan is to write to Luke Hartsuyker in the coming days to inform him about our petition. We intend to request a meeting, so that a small RAR delegation can present the petition to him and explain our deep dismay about the Coalition’s asylum seeker policy. Clearly, if our request for a meeting is turned down, we will need to adopt a different strategy to bring the issue to the public’s attention. Watch this space!
Report from our meeting on 20th November

Please find attached a detailed report from our review and planning meeting held on 20th November.






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 453 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