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Buddies Refugee Support Group
The Biloela family – Nades, Priya and their two Australian-born children

SBS News, 22 October

The Christmas Island detention centre was recommissioned by the Morrison government in February, over fears of an influx of asylum seekers tied to changes to refugee medical transfer laws. The facility has housed the Biloela Tamil family at the centre of a legal fight over deportation since August.
     Greens Senator Nick McKim pressed officials about the cost. “We’ve spent in the region of 30 million to detain four people for a couple of months – is that right?” he asked.
   Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram rejected his assessment. “Senator it wasn’t re-established for the purpose of detaining four people,” he said. “But you are factually accurate – what’s been spent – has been spent and there are four people in there now”
    The Sri Lankan family are still being held at the detention centre... more

Saturday 26 October–Saturday 2 November
National Unity Week
Sunday 27 October, 11am
Buddies meeting, USC Sippy Downs. Guest speaker Freddie Steen followed by members' business – agenda items to Paul McKinlay 0439 679 588. 12.30pm: Refreshments – please bring your own mug. Follow signs to Car Park 4. View the map.
Wednesday 4 December, 7.30am
Bunnings sausage sizzle, Noosaville
13–14 February 2020
RCOA Refugee Alternatives Conference, Brisbane
BUDDIES MEETING THIS SUNDAY 27 OCTOBER

Guest speaker Frederika (Freddie) Steen

Freddie is a long term ‘warrior’ for fairness and refugee/asylum seeker advocacy and supporter of Buddies. Formerly a public servant in the Immigration Department, she now volunteers with Indooroopilly Uniting church refugee support group, which helps people link with legal advice regarding visa problems, health and trauma counselling, as well as more basic food and friendship needs... Read Freddie’s full bio here.

PLEASE BRING TO THE NEXT MEETING...

Non-perishable food and toiletries for the Buddies Food Drive which assists asylum seekers in the community in Brisbane via the Romero Centre. Items such as rice, UHT milk, coffee, shampoo etc gratefully received.
Items requested & drop-off points
SATURDAY 7 DECEMBER 

Buddies Reunion Picnic – an invitation to all Homestay Hosts

11am, Roma Street Parklands, at the tables under the big white sails near the lake
An opportunity to catch up with new and old friends. Please contact your refugee friends and invite them to join us all. Please bring plenty of food and drinks to share with everyone. For more info email Kayla0427 380 235
13–14 FEBRUARY 2020

Refugee Alternatives Conference 2020

Refugee Council of Australia and QUT

QUT Gardens Point Campus, Brisbane
An action-packed conference week with speakers and delegates joining us from across Australia, with priority given to speakers from refugee backgrounds. Early bird tickets are now open for a limited time onlyRegister here

One man, one woman and two little girls are being watched around the clock by six to eight guards on Christmas Island, with more than 100 additional Serco employees on hand to assist in the family's ongoing detention. This is completely deranged.


–Amanda Perram, Australian citizen, on Twitter

Three awards for the Romero Centre

During the last 2 months the Romero Centre and its work has been recognised by  3 very significant Achievement Awards! These are: Multicultural Queensland Award  2019 – Community Winner (30 August); Open Minds Mental Health Achievement Awards 2019 – CALD Winner (11 October), and Carers Week Awards 2019 – Carer Friendly Business Awards with specific appreciation to our Mengistu (16 October). Congratulations Romero Centre!

We'd STILL like your old phones please...

If you have a smart phone (and charger) that you're no longer using, please consider giving it to the men from PNG and Nauru who have been medevac’d to BITA in Brisbane. They arrive with the clothes they are wearing and more often than not need a phone to keep in touch with their scattered friends and family. SMS or call Penny Rivlin, 0419 666 116, to organise a pick-up... Many thanks, Penny.
THE CANADIAN COMMUNITY SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM
Canadians and Aussies are stepping up – if the government won’t resettle Manus and Nauru refugees, we will.

A young Tamil refugee caught in a nightmare

GoFUndMe

Help us sponsor 'Arun' who has been held in detention for the last six years. Arun was forced to flee his home, his family and his life in Sri Lanka. His "crime"? He was accused of being sympathetic to the LTTE, and he was imprisoned, tortured and had his livelihood taken away. Now let's get him to Canada! ... more
REPORT: Noosa screening of 'Against Our Oath'
From left: Noosa mayor Tony Wellington, Heather Kirkpatrick, Gabby Sutherland and Gillian Duffy
On Monday SCRAN hosted the Queensland premiere of film maker Heather Kirkpatrick's documentary 'Against Our Oath'. Over $1,000 was donated towards sponsoring Manus refugee 'Arun' to resettle in Canada (see above). 
    The audience was clearly affected by both the film and the presence of someone with first-hand experience of working with refugees in offshore detention… Read the report

Government-dominated Senate committee rejects evidence, pushes to dump ‘flawed’ medevac laws

SBS News, 18 October

A Senate committee has recommended refugee medical transfer laws be scrapped, despite the majority of evidence submitted to its inquiry backing the process. The government-dominated committee handed down its final report on Friday, finding the so-called medevac laws contained “significant flaws", including the absence of a process for returning refugees to Nauru and PNG once they’ve recovered, and short timeframes to assess security and character concerns. Chaired by Liberal Senator Amanda Stoker, the committee also noted concerns about the strict grounds available to the home affairs minister to refuse transfers on national security grounds... more

Another suicide: Bangladeshi asylum seeker on bridging visa suicides in Lakemba

RAC, 22 October

A 33-year-old Bangladeshi asylum seeker, Mohammad Mohsin, committed suicide at a mosque in Lakemba on Sunday 20 October. Mohammad arrived by boat in 2013, but was only recently allowed to lodge his protection application. His initial application was rejected, but he had lodged an appeal with the Federal Circuit Court. Like so many others on a bridging visa, Mohammad had no income and did not have the right to work. He was destitute and had become homeless, relying on charity and support from others in the Bangladeshi community. Friends said that his precarious situation had weighed heavily on him and that he had spoken of ending his life even several months ago... more
 

Australia has no access to men in PNG immigration prison, senators told

The Guardian, 21 October

Six men held inside a PNG immigration prison have been released and will be sent home, and Australia has no visibility, access or influence over the fate of the 47 remaining inside, Senate estimates has been told. The head of Australia’s offshore processing regime, Major General Craig Furini, revealed that six men had been released from the Bomana immigration detention centre in Port Moresby. He said he had no knowledge of the conditions inside the centre where 47 men remained, what access the men had to communications, and said there were no Australian officers there... more

Captain’s call inserts medevac critic Sarah Henderson as chair of human rights committee

ABC News, 23 October

Scott Morrison has parachuted his newest senator into a prime parliamentary role that will have oversight of the hotly contested medevac laws. Henderson became a Liberal senator in September, having lost her Lower House seat in May. She replaces WA Liberal MP Ian Goodenough, with the PM keen for a less critical tone on medevac laws. Earlier this year the Liberal moderate was critical of the medevac laws, saying they were not needed and the “political consequence” would be the unravelling of the Coalition’s tough border-protection regime... more
 

Lambie rejects claim most veterans would want medevac laws abolished

The Guardian, 18 October

Senator Jacqui Lambie has rebuffed Peter Dutton’s claim that “the vast majority of veterans” would want her to abolish the medevac laws, as pressure mounts from all sides to secure her crucial swing vote. Lambie says 99.9% are more concerned with ‘the dysfunction of Veterans Affairs’. As expected, a government-heavy Senate inquiry into the legislation recommended repealing the laws. But Centre Alliance, the Greens and Labor members of the committee all issued dissenting reports calling for the legislation to remain, saying the majority of evidence showed the laws saved lives... more

The evidence is clear: the medevac law saves lives. But even this isn’t enough to alleviate refugee suffering

The Conversation, 22 October

Jacqui Lambie has some sobering reading to do over the coming weeks: an 88-page Senate report into the bill to repeal the medevac law in mid-November. As predicted, the Senate committee that issued the report split along party lines, with the Coalition majority calling for the medevac provisions to be repealed and the ALP, Greens and Centre Alliance senators releasing dissenting reports. What is less predictable is how the report will influence Lambie’s deciding vote. She has indicated she will approach the bill as a conscience vote, saying “Tasmanians don’t want deals done over humanity”... more
 

Labor and the Coalition are arguing about asylum seekers coming by plane. Here are the facts

RMIT ABC Fact Check, 18 October

A stoush has erupted between Labor and the Coalition government over a surge in the number of asylum seekers arriving in Australia by plane. Opposition spokeswoman for home affairs Kristina Keneally has been blaming the government for the blowout in numbers, prompting immigration minister David Coleman to label her criticism a “spectacular own goal”. But what’s the real story? In this fact file, RMIT ABC Fact Check has a look at the numbers, drawing on a range of official resources and statistics compiled by the Department of Home Affairs... more
Thank you to Janine de la Begassiere, Gillian Duffy, Margaret Landbeck, Penny Rivlin, Kayla Szumer and Diana Woolley for their contributions to this edition.
DEADLINE FOR CONTRIBUTIONS: 5pm Wednesday
Please send contributions for the newsletter to the editor. 

EDITOR / PRODUCTION: Wendy Oakley
WEBSITE: Mike Law

FACEBOOK: Anneliese Broadaway
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ABOUT BUDDIES
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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