Buddies Refugee Support Group
Hassan Al Kontar with his Canadian sponsor and host Laurie Cooper.
Below right: Hassan marks time in the Kuala Lumpur airport.

Amnesty International, 8 August

Operation #NotForgotten is an initiative of Canada Caring Society and MOSAIC, working with partners in Australia to raise $3.3 million to bring 200 refugees to Canada.
    Hassan Al Kontar, a Syrian refugee who lived in the Kuala Lumpur airport for seven months and was detained in a Malaysian detention centre for two months, is also leading this project. Since moving to Vancouver last year, Al Kontar has wished to help other refugees resettle in Canada. 
     His months-long stint at the Kuala Lumpur terminal was marked by gruelling uncertainty. "I can't claim that I know exactly what they are going through," he said. ”But I know what it means to lose hope, and to gain hope again."
    Operation #NotForgotten aims to privately sponsor the refugees — $18,400 per refugee — to resettle them in Canada and support them for the first 12 months... more
Saturday 17 August, 6pm
Trivia night for refugees, New Farm
Sunday 25 August, 11am
Annual General Meeting, USC Sippy Downs
Saturday 7 September, 2-4pm
Learn English Holiday briefing meeting, Buderim
Friday 13 September – 8 November, 9am
Migrants Work Ready training, Maroochydore
Saturday 21 September, 10am–6pm
Festuri annual multicultural festival, Maroochydore
Sunday 22 September
Sausage Sizzle, Noosaville
Monday 23 – Friday 27 September
Learn English Holiday, Buderim
Saturday 26 October–Saturday 2 November
National Unity Week

Trivia Night for Refugees

Refugee Action Collective Qld

6–9pm, New Farm Bowls Club, Brunswick St, New Farm
To raise funds for the Romero Centre. Questions start at 6:30, food and drinks are available at the Club. Adults: $22, concession/early bird: $17. Tickets available HERE.

Buddies Annual General Meeting

11am University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs
All welcome. This year we have the opportunity to elect four Directors as Lesley Willcoxson, Mitra Khakbaz, Shaye Yuill and Scott Grimmett are retiring. Paul McKinlay is continuing in the position. If you have never been to a Buddies AGM, the following information should be useful.
The AGM is coming up and a reminder that only paid up members are eligible to vote. If you have not renewed your membership you can do so by clicking HERE. Membership paid since 30 March is current until 30 June 2020.

As you receive the Bulletin we know you care about refugees. We’re now asking you to join us, to expand our capacity to help Medevac refugees from Manus and Nauru.  For just $10 (the price of two cups of coffee) you can become a member of Buddies and your fee can help provide those refugees with clothes and food, to attend trauma counselling and get health checks and seek legal assistance. CLICK ON THE LITTLE MAN TO JOIN.


Briefing for the September LEH program

2–4pm, Immanuel Lutheran College, 125 Wises Rd, Buderim
For more details please email

Migrants Work Ready training

9am–12 noon, Solbar, Ocean St Maroochydore 
In partnership with Sunshine Coast Council and other partners, this is a great opportunity for migrants who are ready for work to get extra training to understand the Australian workplace and to network with people who can help get a 'foot in the door'. See the attached flyer for more info and register on the address provided if interested.


10am–6pm, Cotton Tree Park, Maroochydore 
SCRAN will have a stall at Festuri with information about Buddies, W2M etc, petitions and an activity. We aim to have 3 or more at a time manning the stall from 9am to 5pm in approx 2 hour shifts. If you would like to volunteer, even if you can only spare half an hour, please email SCRAN

Bunnings sausage sizzle fundraiser

7.30am–4.30pm, Bunnings Noosaville 
A fun way to meet other Buddies, and possibly spread the word about refugee support whilst hopefully raising lots of money towards Buddies’ work. If you can spare a couple of hours to help, please email Penny Rivlin or Lesley Willcoxson. There will be another sizzle on Wednesday 4 December if you can't make it to this one!

September Learn English Holiday program

Immanuel Lutheran College, 125 Wises Rd, Buderim
If you’re interested in participating this year as a homestay host, volunteer driver or in any other volunteer position, please email

Six long years on Manus Island. Four major Australian literary awards. No threat to national security. What would it take for Scott Morrison to welcome multi-award winning author Behrouz Boochani to Australia?

– Professor Kerryn Phelps, on Twitter


Kendall Snowden and Wendy Oakley

Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far. We have now reached $9572 (which includes two donations totalling $660 in addition to funds processed through the Chuffed website) from 102 donors – a fabulous effort from all concerned. And it's not too late to donate which you can still do HERE.

PETITION TO SIGN: Jacqui Lambie, support the MEDEVAC BILL

Dear Senator Lambie, the Government will need your support to pass a repeal of the Medevac Bill later this year. You have the rare privilege to be able to change people's lives for the better. We urge that you fully and humanely support maintaining the Bill, and not to vote in support of its repeal should that come to the Senate… SIGN

Scholarship opportunity for people seeking asylum

The University of the Sunshine Coast is offering two full-fee plus living assistance scholarships, for courses starting in Semester 1 2020. To be eligible applicants must be on a Bridging Visa, Temporary Protection Visa or Safe Haven Enterprise Visa. Applications open 1 September 2019 and close 30 November 2019.  More details HERE.
In July 2019, Guardian Australia immigration reporter Helen Davidson travelled to Manus Island. She explains how the tropical island became an Australian-run prison. 

WANTED: Old mobile phones with chargers

Penny Rivlin

Phones are needed for new arrivals who have come to Australia under the Medevac regime and need to communicate with home and the outside in general.
If you can help please contact Penny,  0419 666 116. Penny will be at the AGM if there are any folk who want to bring their old phones instead of giving them back to Telstra etc.

Poetry Prize 2019 – win a $1000 prize

Ballina Region for Refugees, supported by Southern Cross University

Entries close Sunday 18 August.
Poems of up to 50 lines on the theme ’seeking asylum’. The prize celebrates the positive contribution refugees make to our communities and acknowledges the circumstances that forced them to flee their homelands. Entry form and submission guidelinesView the flyer.

Gillian Triggs to shine a light on Australia’s refugee treatment

ProBono, 12 August

Gillian Triggs’ appointment as assistant high commissioner for protection at the UN has been welcomed by refugee advocates, who say she will be a strong voice on the plight of refugees and asylum seekers around the world. The former president of the Australian Human Rights Commission will work with the UN high commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi, who said Triggs would bring extensive expertise and experience in international refugee protection to the role. ASRC policy manager Marcella Brassett said that Triggs was well placed to bring attention to how Australia was treating refugees... more

Behrouz Boochani wins National Biography award – and accepts via WhatsApp from Manus

The Guardian, 12 August

 Kurdish Iranian writer Behrouz Boochani has continued his sweep of the Australian literary prize landscape, winning the $25,000 National Biography award – yet another award the refugee was unable to accept in person, as he enters his sixth year of detention on Manus Island. At the National Biography award which was presented this week in Sydney, the judges praised Boochani’s book No Friend but the Mountains as “profoundly important, an astonishing act of witness and testament to the lifesaving power of writing as resistance”... more

Successful rural refugee settlement program on hold as families move away

ABC News, 12 August

Several African families moved to the northern NSW town of Mingoola in 2016 as part of a refugee settlement program. It was hailed as a success for invigorating a dying country town, struggling to cope with its ageing population. But now a raft of medical conditions has forced each of the refugee families to move away from the rural village, closer to specialist medical services, leaving the mutually beneficial settlement program on hold and the Mingoola Public School now in indefinite recess... more

Manus non-refugees victims of ‘a farce’

RadioNZ, 14 August 

Asylum seekers sent to a new detention centre in PNG are the victims of a flawed process, a refugee advocate says. About 50 men deemed to be non-refugees or negatives were moved to Port Moresby’s Bomana prison at the weekend. Advocate Anne Moon said their status was defined by PNG’s “flawed” refugee determination process, which she described as “a farce”. About 85 non-refugees are left in PNG, including about 30 men who abstained from the process, Ms Moon said. “They say that they did not seek asylum in PNG”... more

‘We are a part of this country’: refugees protest in Sydney over temporary visas

The Guardian, 12 August

Hundreds have protested outside the home affairs department against the continuing use of temporary visas for people found to be refugees. Bridging visas and temporary visas have been widely criticised for their damaging effects, and the department has previously been accused of “strategically” using the process to deny protection. Rally attendees held signs that said “I miss my mum”, while others held photos of their children when they last saw them next to photos of them now, much older... more

‘It’s time’: Renewed calls for Australia to adopt a charter of human rights

SBS News, 14 August

Human rights in Australia “have been in regression for nearly 20 years”, former Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs said at an event in Melbourne this week. She said the detainment of asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru wouldn’t be allowed to occur if Australia had a charter of rights. “You might go to Manus Island, you might go to Nauru, you might go to any one of Australia’s mainland detention centres,” she said. “I have seen children held in detention for a year without education, I have seen people without medical care, in desperate need for that care”... more

The harsh world of offshore borders

New Republic, 8 August

Governments use 'remote control' policies to prevent asylum seekers coming anywhere close to refuge. Naval and coastguard vessels intercept thousands of people fleeing danger in makeshift boats. There are the borders of refugee camps and detention centers where blocked migrants are sealed in geographic limbo. There is the quiet border at the airport. These less conventional borders are the subject of a  new book, Refuge Beyond Reach: How Rich Democracies Repel Asylum Seekers. David FitzGerald, a political scientist and pioneer in the study of global immigration control, provides a map of what he calls an international “architecture of repulsion”... more
Thank you to Tayla Bostock, Andrea Douglas, Gillian Duffy, Scott Grimmett, Penny Rivlin, Kendall Snowden, Lesley Willcoxson and Diana Woolley for their contributions to this edition.
Please send contributions for the newsletter to the editor. 


FACEBOOK: Anneliese Broadaway
The Buddies Refugee Support Group is a Sunshine Coast group which advocates for just and compassionate treatment of refugees, consistent with the human rights standards which Australia has developed and endorsed.
   We support policies towards refugees and asylum seekers that reflect respect, decency and traditional Australian generosity to those in need, while advancing Australia’s international standing and national interests.
   We are an independent community group and meet on the 4th Sunday of each month at 11am, University of the Sunshine Coast, Building E, Ground Floor Room 14.
Confidentiality  Your email address is completely confidential.
To contribute to Buddies   Buddies’ fundraising contributes to refugee and asylum seeker support. You can direct debit to:
Suncorp Bank, BSB 484-799     
Account No: 123508960    
Account name: Buddies Refugee Support Group Ltd 
Or you can contribute to ‘The Box’ at our meetings and events. Your donations are much appreciated by those we help.

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Buddies Refugee Support Group · PO Box 367 · Buderim, Qld 4556 · Australia

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