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".




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

25.11.16

Home among the Gum Trees report 21 November 2016


Home Among the Gum Trees Report
Meeting Bellingen Nambucca RAR – Valla 21 Nov 2016


The program is run from Sydney by volunteer Sandra Hawker. She interviews potential guests of the program referred by non-government organisations working with people seeking asylum who are going through the long drawn-out Immigration visa application and interview process.
 It is quite an involved process finding the right family/individuals to travel – she attends many functions for those seeking asylum to get to know people who may be suitable guests. We have a group in our area of about twelve, plus partners, who have offered to host guests, either with accommodation or with support such as outings, meals etc.

In order to take out a public liability insurance policy to cover the guests, Sandra and her support group have decided to seek incorporation. This will be under way in the near future. Once they are incorporated, they will seek membership from individuals who would pay a once off payment of $5.00 and annual payment of $10.  We will let our members know when membership is open.

Our members at the meeting also agreed that we could help fund airfares for future guests as the long train trip may not be suitable for all participants.

Margaret Henley,
Area Co-ordinator for Gumtrees.

24.11.16

Response from Luke Hartsuyker to Mikes letter and petition to the Prime Minister


Click on letter to increase size







Letter to Luke Hartsuyker 2 November 2016 re John Morse letter below

2nd November 2016

Dear Mr Hartsuyker,
I recently read John Morse's letter to you, published in the Bellingen Courier Sun. John clearly worked hard over many years, serving the Australian community as the CEO of Tourism Australia. Like so many of us, he is horrified and deeply ashamed of our government's cruel and inhumane policy towards asylum seekers languishing without hope on Nauru and Manus.  That he is should be so moved by the government's asylum policy to decide to return his Australia Medal speaks volumes. I salute him for his courageous and principled stance.

Could this finally be a wakeup call for you, our elected representative, to acknowledge that the current policy is deliberately cruel and unsustainable? Rather than support the latest cruel twist in government policy, aimed at permanently banning those who arrived by boat to indefinite banishment from our shores, will you now show some humanity and stand with those of us who utterly reject the connection that the government continues to falsely make between drowning at sea and the indefinite detention of innocent people who have a right to seek our protection? 

Most voters simply don't buy that argument. A clear majority of Australians now believe that the asylum seekers and refugees currently on Nauru and Manus should be brought to Australia. It is plainly wrong, and morally reprehensible, to use these people as a means to deter others from making the perilous journey across the sea. There are better, more humane and lawful ways to deal with the problem.

Like John Morse AM, in the face of this cruelty and inhumanity, deliberately inflicted by the government on innocent people, I feel ashamed to call myself Australian.

                                                                                                            Yours sincerely,



                                                                                                             Mike Griffin

Response from Richard Di Natale, Greens to Mikes letter and petition


click on letter to enlarge





22.11.16

Report on meeting of RAR Bellingen and Districts group 20 November 2016

Report on our meeting of Sunday 20th November 2016

A great turnout  of 24 people for our meeting at the home of Mike and Marlene in Valla Beach on 20th November. The purpose of the gathering was to review our work to date, to discuss future actions, and to enjoy one another's company over lunch.

Review of our activities in 2016
We have had a very busy and productive year, thanks to the efforts of a committed core group of people who have regularly offered their time and energy to our programme of activities, which have included:
·      attendance at 16 markets to promote the case for the humane and lawful treatment of asylum seekers, and for the closure of offshore detention centres.
·     
r     regular, fortnightly roadside demonstrations to keep the asylum seeker issues in the public eye.
·      letters to the press and to politicians.
·      numerous petitions throughout the year, aimed at keeping up the pressure on our politicians.
·      fundraising activities, which have enabled us to support several refugee charities and advocacy groups.
·      a Facebook page which is updated almost daily.
·      our blog, which contains a huge amount of information, including the many letters sent to the press and to parliamentarians.
·      a weekly newsletter, which is circulated to some 450 supporters.
  
Finances
 So far this year, we have donated  $2,870 to the ChilOut charity, $2,000 to the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, and $450 to the Asylum Seeker Centre. This has been possible as a result of our highly successful Simon Tedeschi concert, which raised more than $4,800, and through the profits from our market sales. We currently have $1,190 in our BCU account.

Home among the Gumtrees
Margaret updated the meeting on progress with the Home Among the Gumtrees initiative. We have a number of people who have offered to support the project, and there will be a further update shortly. The organisers in Sydney are planning to become an incorporated group and are hoping that some of our supporters will take up membership.

Where do we go from here?
A number of issues and conclusions emerged:
·      it was agreed that we need to keep up the pressure and be ready to react and adapt our strategy as government policy shifts.
·      agreed that we need to emphasise our responsibility as a nation to "bring them here".
·      We should support any initiatives to increase our humanitarian intake.
·      We should consider developing more regular press releases, with photos, in addition to letters to the press. This should include reminding people, including local editors, that we are a local group of 450 members.
·      We should seek to derive maximum publicity from the petition to Luke Hartsuyker. We should also seek the views of other political parties/candidates about the issues raised in the petition.
·      We should try to work on changing perceptions in the Labor party about its national policy in relation to refugees.
·      We need to design a new bumper sticker, and then distribute our remaining ones without charge for people to use.
·      Can we promote forums/ films which highlight refugee issues?
·      The idea of a tent installation was also floated, as was the possibility of a mass demonstration in Canberra.
It was acknowledged that new initiatives need to be owned and embraced by individuals or a small group if they are to get off the ground.
The meeting was followed by a most enjoyable lunch and social.


Newsletter for 22 November 2016 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen ands 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


Bellingen market report

We had another very successful market stall under sunny skies in Bellingen on Saturday. As usual, there was a lot of interest in our campaign from market goers, and we collected about 100 signatures on the petition to our local member of parliament. A big thank you to all our supporters who turned up to help, or who dropped in for a chat.
Our final market of  the year – number 16 – will be at Valla Beach on Saturday 3rd December. If you can help out for an hour or two, please let Mike know by emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.  If you have been able to collect any signatures for our petition, please bring them along to the market. 
Meeting and social gathering report

Our meeting on Sunday, followed by lunch, was a most productive and enjoyable occasion, with 24 people in attendance. We reviewed our 2016 activities and engaged in wide-ranging discussion under the headline “Where do we go from here?” The unanimous conclusion was that we must keep up the pressure, as it is clearly having an impact, whilst being ready to react and adapt to changing circumstances, particularly in relation to offshore detention.
A more detailed report will be published on our blog in the coming days.
The meeting was followed by lunch on the deck, with delicious food provided by everyone who came  along. A very successful and enjoyable event!




Petition to the Prime Minister

You may recall that, in early October, we sent a petition to the Prime Minister, signed by 1,400 people, calling for an end to offshore detention. We have recently received a lengthy response, signed by “T.B.”, which you can find on our blog. As usual, the issues which we raised were not addressed by the respondent, and there was much emphasis on saving lives at sea and protecting our borders. No mention at all of the harsh offshore regime or the impact of punitive, indefinite detention on the mental health of the detainees.
At the time of writing, we have not received any response from the Labor opposition or the Greens, who we also wrote to, and who were copied into the letter to the PM. All the letters can be viewed on our blog.
Next roadside demonstration: Bellingen, Thursday 24th November

Our next roadside demonstration will be held this Thursday from 3.00 pm until 4.30 pm in our usual spot adjacent to the public library on Waterfall Way. If you can join us for a while, we would be delighted to see you. We have lots of banners and placards to share, so why not give it a go? These demonstrations are an excellent way to get our message across to the public about the terrible treatment of asylum seekers languishing on Nauru and Manus. Please join us if you can.
Invitation to a book reading in Bellingen on 3rd December

Dear BRAR members, At now eighty years of age I am no longer as physically active as I used to be in organisations such as BRAR, but my fingers can still do the talking to support your and my cause to free the refugees. Recently I have published my autobiography: “The Lure of the Horizon”  about my childhood under Nazi occupation as well as my teen years in a liberated  Holland still recovering from the ruins of WWII. I also write about my time in an Australian migrant camp, followed by sixty years of observing the contributions that my generation of migrants, many of whom were refugees, have made to the Australia we all enjoy today. My book is a strong voice AGAINST racism and an equally strong voice FOR multiculturalism, as the last in my opinion is the only way we can keep harmony in a nation of which half of the population consists out of migrants and their offspring. I am having a book launch on Saturday December 3, at 3.00 pm at the Fennel Seed Café in Bellingen. I would like to invite BRAR members and supporters to come, buy themselves a drink, sit back and relax and enjoy listening to some excerpts that will be read from my book. I look forward to seeing you. 

Thank you so much, Barbera Moret. 

Sanctuary Australia Fundraising Concert: Bellingen 27th November at 3.00 pm

Sanctuary Australia is a local charity, based in Coffs Harbour, which helps to settle approved refugees into the local community. They have been doing amazing work in the area for many years and rely on the help of sponsors and donors to keep up their work. On Sunday 27th November, starting at 3.00 pm in the Memorial Hall in Bellingen, there will be a fundraising recital with David Helfgott, who will be playing Rachmaninoff, Beethoven and Chopin. The programme will also include Yantra De Vilder, who will present her unique and beautiful award-winning performance of “HAIKU”. Tickets are $68 or $60 concessions.  You can get further details by phone : 6652 2127, or go to the website at: www.sanctuaryaustraliafoundation.org.au.  Or you can book online at: www.stickytickets.com.au/24437. (see flyer attached)



Our annual get together and planning lunch. 

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



15.11.16

Newsletter for 15 November 2016 - Rural Australians for Refugees and Nambucca Districts

Roadside demonstration - Bellingen 24th
Next market stall - Bellingen market 19th Nov
RAR annual meeting and get together 20th November
Government plans to end offshore detention

Roadside demonstration report

Our latest demonstration by the Pacific Highway in Nambucca Heads last week went very well. We had a good turnout of supporters and our banners and placards made quite a splash on a sunny afternoon. As usual, we received a very positive reaction from the vast majority of the motorists who responded to our presence. As we have stated before on many occasions, it is so important to remind the public about the ongoing terrible treatment of asylum seekers by our government, and we would encourage more of our supporters to join us from time to time. Our next demonstration will be in Bellingen, adjacent to the town library on Waterfall Way on Thursday 24th November from 3.00 pm until 4.30 pm.
Our next market: Saturday 19th November at Bellingen Market

Please note that we have a stall at  Bellingen market this coming Saturday and we are looking for help on the stall between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm. If you can help for an hour or two, please let Mike know by emailing him at:  mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.  We will be collecting signatures for our petition to Luke Hartsuyker MP, selling our usual merchandise, collecting donations for the Asylum Seekers Centre and, of course, engaging with market goers about asylum seeker issues. If you are around, please drop in to say hello and sign the petition. If you have printed the petition sheet and collected some signatures, please bring them along to the market.
Meeting and social gathering: Sunday 20th November from 11.30 am

Please don’t forget that our meeting and social is this coming Sunday at 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach. We will hold a meeting for about an hour, followed by lunch and social get together. There is a lot to talk about and we need to map out where we go from here in the light of emerging news about offshore detention. Please come and join us if you can. It will be a great opportunity to meet in a relaxed environment and get to know one another a little better. Please let Mike know if you are planning to come along by emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.  Everybody welcome! Directions to Rogers Drive were in last week’s newsletter.
Government plans to end offshore detention

The immense pressure on the government to end offshore detention seems to finally be having an impact. This is testament to the hundreds of groups like ours, to the many thousands of individuals who have campaigned relentlessly to end the cruelty, to the international outrage about our government’s appalling attitude to human rights, and of course to the brave professionals who have worked in these hell-holes and have blown the whistle on the cruel and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers. The devil, as always, will be in the detail. The government has stated that it will prioritise children, women and families, so it is not clear where this will leave the many hundreds of men on Manus.  Nor is it clear what will happen to the significant number of refugees who are now “living in the community” on Nauru, other than that they will be given 20-year visas to remain on this desolate island.  The sad reality is that our government, rather than do the right thing, is prepared to engage in trading our asylum seekers in exchange for a group being held in Costa Rica on behalf of the American government. The fact that we are now seemingly happy to go along with this perhaps demonstrates just how low we have sunk. We will need to keep a close eye on the government’s proposals as they become more clear.

In the meantime, the government is still intent on imposing its lifetime banishment from Australia on any refugee currently in detention who is settled in a third country. The Labor opposition has rejected this completely unnecessary and vindictive proposal, which is now before a Senate committee. The outcome is dependent on the position of the Nick Xenophon team. Please ring Xenophon’s office urgently and urge him and his team to reject the government’s proposed legislation. His number is:02 6277 3713. 




Nambucca roadside demonstration last week.


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

Newsletter for 15 November 2016 - Rural Australians for Refugees and Nambucca Districts

Roadside demonstration - Bellingen 24th
Next market stall - Bellingen market 19th Nov
RAR annual meeting and get together 20th November
Government plans to end offshore detention

Roadside demonstration report

Our latest demonstration by the Pacific Highway in Nambucca Heads last week went very well. We had a good turnout of supporters and our banners and placards made quite a splash on a sunny afternoon. As usual, we received a very positive reaction from the vast majority of the motorists who responded to our presence. As we have stated before on many occasions, it is so important to remind the public about the ongoing terrible treatment of asylum seekers by our government, and we would encourage more of our supporters to join us from time to time. Our next demonstration will be in Bellingen, adjacent to the town library on Waterfall Way on Thursday 24th November from 3.00 pm until 4.30 pm.
Our next market: Saturday 19th November at Bellingen Market

Please note that we have a stall at  Bellingen market this coming Saturday and we are looking for help on the stall between 9.00 am and 1.30 pm. If you can help for an hour or two, please let Mike know by emailing him at:  mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.  We will be collecting signatures for our petition to Luke Hartsuyker MP, selling our usual merchandise, collecting donations for the Asylum Seekers Centre and, of course, engaging with market goers about asylum seeker issues. If you are around, please drop in to say hello and sign the petition. If you have printed the petition sheet and collected some signatures, please bring them along to the market.
Meeting and social gathering: Sunday 20th November from 11.30 am

Please don’t forget that our meeting and social is this coming Sunday at 39, Rogers Drive, Valla Beach. We will hold a meeting for about an hour, followed by lunch and social get together. There is a lot to talk about and we need to map out where we go from here in the light of emerging news about offshore detention. Please come and join us if you can. It will be a great opportunity to meet in a relaxed environment and get to know one another a little better. Please let Mike know if you are planning to come along by emailing him at: mandm.griffin2@bigpond.com.  Everybody welcome! Directions to Rogers Drive were in last week’s newsletter.
Government plans to end offshore detention

The immense pressure on the government to end offshore detention seems to finally be having an impact. This is testament to the hundreds of groups like ours, to the many thousands of individuals who have campaigned relentlessly to end the cruelty, to the international outrage about our government’s appalling attitude to human rights, and of course to the brave professionals who have worked in these hell-holes and have blown the whistle on the cruel and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers. The devil, as always, will be in the detail. The government has stated that it will prioritise children, women and families, so it is not clear where this will leave the many hundreds of men on Manus.  Nor is it clear what will happen to the significant number of refugees who are now “living in the community” on Nauru, other than that they will be given 20-year visas to remain on this desolate island.  The sad reality is that our government, rather than do the right thing, is prepared to engage in trading our asylum seekers in exchange for a group being held in Costa Rica on behalf of the American government. The fact that we are now seemingly happy to go along with this perhaps demonstrates just how low we have sunk. We will need to keep a close eye on the government’s proposals as they become more clear.

In the meantime, the government is still intent on imposing its lifetime banishment from Australia on any refugee currently in detention who is settled in a third country. The Labor opposition has rejected this completely unnecessary and vindictive proposal, which is now before a Senate committee. The outcome is dependent on the position of the Nick Xenophon team. Please ring Xenophon’s office urgently and urge him and his team to reject the government’s proposed legislation. His number is:02 6277 3713. 




Nambucca roadside demonstration last week.


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