Sajeda Zaki (right) with her mother and father
Below: Pratima Batra at a recent Melbourne protest
9 NEWS, 1 OCTOBER
Sajeda Zaki, a Hazara woman and law student at Victoria University, arrived in Australia after leaving Pakistan with her mother and five siblings in 2016, reluctant to abandon her previous life and Hazaragi culture.
Her father was smuggled into Australia on a ship in 2009, fleeing Afghanistan to establish a better life for a family he would not see for seven years.
After being “overwhelmed by unhappiness” seeing people on temporary protection visas (TPVs) suffering mentally, Zaki began working with the Victorian Afghan Youth Association (VAYA) to communicate for refugees and rally for action to be taken by the Australian Government.
Asylum seekers who arrive in Australia irregularly, either by boat or plane and without a valid visa, are not counted in the government’s permanent Humanitarian Program and are not granted a permanent visa. In both cases, individuals holding temporary visas have to wait in uncertainty for at least three years before being allowed to re-lodge another application for protection at the end of their visa period.
The Albanese government has stated processing the backlog of visa applications is an "urgent priority”. Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles said in June the department was working through large numbers of older cases but noted reducing the backlog couldn't happen overnight.
SUNDAY 23 OCTOBER, 11AM NEXT BUDDIES GENERAL MEETING
Venue: Connections on King, cnr Gloucester Rd and King St, Buderim
GUEST SPEAKER EVELINE GOY
Eveline was recruited by the Department of Immigration in 1978 and became a migrant welfare officer. She resigned from Immigration in 2003, unable to reconcile herself with the then-government’s lies and inhumanity.
Broadly speaking, Evenine combines immigration and policy skills with research and practical experience in social policy, human rights, women’s rights and work rights, which have been her main focus since retiring.
Eveline is a long-time Buddies member.
SATURDAY 12 NOVEMBER, 6PM START BUDDIES 20 YEAR ANNIVERSARY DINNER
A night of celebration and festivities with a multicultural buffet and entertainment
Connections on King, cnr Gloucester Rd and King St Buderim Dress: semi-formal, or come in traditional attire from another culture Book Launch:Buddies Refugees – 20 years in the making. Paul McKinlay & special guest will reminisce about the early years through to the present. Copies of the book will be available by donation on the night (suggested donation $10) Set cover charge: $35/head
The Albanese government made a big deal about their show of compassion for the Nadesalingam family, but they aren’t doing the same for the many other refugees whose lives are still in limbo
– Shane Bazzi, on Twitter
Petition: Let people work, study and rebuild
ASYLUM SEEKER RESOURCE CENTRE
Right now, people who came to our shores in search of safety can be denied the right to support themselves or their families with decent work. Young people can be prohibited from studying by unfair, inconsistent visa conditions, or locked out of HECS-HELP student loans that can bring a life-changing university education within reach.
The ASRC estimates that at any given time, around 1 in 3 people seeking asylum are living with unfair visa conditions that deny them the right to work, or are excluded from mainstream social safety nets that are there to help then rebuild their lives.
DIRECTORS: We still require one or two ‘new’ Directors. If you are interested in the roles and responsibilities of being a Director, they are summarised here. Please phone Len (0419 664 524) or Lynda (0416 878 431) to discuss.
SECRETARY: Not an onerous role, the Secretary is responsible for keeping the register of members, keeping minutes and other records of meetings, and receiving official correspondence. For further information please email current Secretary Gaynore Stoessel.
GOODWILL WINE SPECIAL
Goodwill Wine is currently holding a special, with 100% of the price of each bottle of wine going to the nominated charity. However this offer ends Sunday 16th, so you'll need to be quick!
26 students from Afghanistan, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and Tibet attended the most recent LEH. The traditional LEH dinner was held mid-week, with each family contributing a dish from their own country for a buffet style share meal. The dinner was followed by music and dancing. The Sunshine Coast Statesmen were practising nearby and were enticed to come in and perform!
After five months, only 32 refugees set to relocate to New Zealand
Stuff NZ, 30 September
It’s been a “really slow” start to the resettlement of 150 refugees denied entry to Australia, with just 32 people being processed for relocation five months into the scheme’s first year. Australia agreed to accept New Zealand’s longstanding resettlement offer in March, to allow 150 refugees into New Zealand each year for the next three years.
A NZ Green Party spokesperson said she was told by the UNHCR a group of the refugees were unsure whether to apply as they had already entered a queue for a similar, even slower, process for possible resettlement in the US and Canada.
“Then there is another group still who haven’t applied; their mental health is so unstable that they’re having trouble putting together a proper claim,” she said.
‘Ripped apart’: Refugee to fight forced resettlement after seven years
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 3 OCTOBER
Asylum seeker PayAm received a letter saying ‘Australia is not an option’
SBS NEWS, 4 OCTOBER
A refugee who spent more than seven years in immigration detention, including on Manus Island, has been told he will not be settled in Australia and has days to decide where he should go.
Farhad Bandesh received a letter from the Department of Home Affairs recently telling him “settlement in Australia is not an option” and suggesting he could move to New Zealand instead.
Bandesh, who is on a bridging visa, said he was shocked when he received the letter. “I am working and living my life here and cannot be yet again ripped apart from my new family, friends [and] community,” Bandesh said.
Refugee dvocates have said letters sent by the government to a number of refugees and asylum seekers urging them to resettle in other countries has caused immeasurable distress.
Numerous people who arrived by boat and have been living in Australia for a number of years have received letters stating: “Australia is not an option for you” and urging people to advise the Department of Home Affairs which country they will resettle in.
Both major parties support a policy of not allowing asylum seekers who arrived by boat to settle permanently in Australia.
PayAm and his family were held in Nauru as part of the offshore processing regime.
Priya signs book deal for memoir of family's asylum ordeal
THE GUARDIAN, 19 SEPTEMBER
Priya Nadesalingam, the mother at the centre of a four-year legal battle to stay in Australia, is writing a memoir of her family’s experience of being held within Australia’s immigration detention system. She will recount their remarkable journey, from fleeing war-torn Sri Lanka to enduring immigration detention.
“The memoir will reveal for the first time details of the events that caused Priya and Nades to flee Sri Lanka,” Nadesalingam’s publisher Allen & Unwin said, as well as “their experiences on their journey to Australia, their personal story of detention in Melbourne and Perth and on Christmas Island by the Australian government, and the extraordinary efforts of Biloela supporters and their legal team to ensure the family could return home”.
Abul Rizvi: Asylum seeker policy – where to now?
PEARLS & IRRITATIONS, 23 SEPTEMBER
Government considers ways to reduce immigration detention backlog
THE GUARDIAN, 25 SEPTEMBER
One of the most complex and controversial issues the Albanese Government will deal with during the current budget process will be asylum seeker policy. There are currently around 130,000 asylum seekers in widely varying legal situations currently in Australia.
The caseload is in two broad parts. Firstly, the legacy boat arrival caseload of around 31,000 people, the vast bulk of whom are living in the community in Australia. And secondly, just under 100,000 asylum seekers who have arrived subsequently by air.
There are just over 200 asylum seekers still on either Manus or Nauru. The Government’s approach to this group is to take up the NZ offer to re-settle these people. The key issue with this group is that the easier to re-settle portion has already been re-settled in the USA and elsewhere.
Immigration Minister Andrew Giles says people ‘should be living in the community’ if there are no security or safety concerns. The Albanese government is investigating alternatives to immigration detention, and considering the creation of a review panel to help clear the “intractable” caseload of people held for long periods.
The immigration minister and the Department of Home Affairs have been “proactive” in consultations and there are already “encouraging” signs more people assessed as a low risk to the community are being released.
In comments to Guardian Australia, Giles recommitted to “risk-based immigration detention policies”, including that people should be living in the community if they do not pose a risk.
Hobart construction business prioritises hiring refugees and migrants
ABC NEWS, 7 OCTOBER
A Tasmanian business is hiring people with a refugee background to help them get permanent job opportunities, The business has had recent success, with one employee recently being approved for a home loan and another gaining an apprenticeship.
Bricklayer Paw Nay now works for labour-hire business Integrate Workforce. “In Burma I lived in a refugee camp... 11 years there and n 2008, I came to Tasmania,” he said.
Paw was encouraged to come to Tasmania by his pastor. In Hobart he met Kelvin Smith and the two became friends – a meeting that would change the course of Paw’s life.
The friendship turned into a working relationship, and recently it meant Paw was approved for a home loan, a milestone he could not imagine when fleeing soldiers in his home country more than 15 years ago.
Thank you to Lynda Utting, Dee Williams and Diana Woolleyfor their contributions to this edition.
BUDDIES BULLETIN – EDITORIAL POLICY DEADLINE FOR CONTRIBUTIONS:The next Bulletin will be out on Friday 11 November.
Deadline for items is 5pm, Wednesday 9 November.
Please send contributions for the newsletter to the editor. EDITOR / PRODUCTION:Wendy Oakley WEBSITE: Wendy Oakley FACEBOOK – SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER:Sam McGill
ABOUT BUDDIES REFUGEE SUPPORT GROUP Buddies is an independent community group based on the Sunshine Coast 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. 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
Your donations are much appreciated by those we help.