Buddies Refugee Support Group
Senator Keneally with Tharunicaa (left) and Kopica in the visitors room, 17 April
"The two little girls in the Christmas Island Recreation Centre crèche are like many other children I have met in visits to childcare centres – keen to show me their drawings of rainbows, tell me they can spell their own names and that their birthdays are coming up. Kopika, age 5, is serious and ponders my questions thoughtfully. Tharunicaa, age 3, twinkles with a cheeky smile. Like many little girls, they want to check out my rings, bracelet and necklace and show me their sparkly earrings. Then they want to run off and play with their friends.
    "Their parents Nades and Priya also look like most other parents I usually meet at childcare centres. Priya hugs me immediately. She is both smiling and teary. Nades is keen to make sure I have a bottle of water and a comfortable chair.
    "Australians have seen so many pictures of this family, but we rarely ever hear directly from them. It feels unreal to be able to sit and talk with them... READ THE FULL STORY

Welcome to Maleny – drive for laptops

8am, Maple St kiosk drop-off point, Maleny
For the students and teachers at Cisarua Refugee Learning Centre in Indonesia. The computers need to be in working order with a compatible power lead. We will wipe computers of data and reset to factory condition before sending them to Indonesia if people don’t want to wipe the data themselves.
For more info or to donate (any time), email
Australia’s peak annual activity to inform the public about refugees and celebrate positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society. The ultimate aim of the celebration is to create better understanding between different communities and to encourage successful integration enabling refugees to live in safety and to continue making a valuable contribution to Australia... MORE

If the Biloela family arrived in Australia by boat today, under the ALP’s policy they would all, including the kids, be sent to Nauru to be detained indefinitely.

– Nick McKim, Greens senator, on Twitter

Call Karen Andrews – Time for a Home

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

Recently, without any warning, the Government forcibly moved 19 Medevac refugees from KP Hotel to BITA. Then 17 were flown to Melbourne and detained at the Melbourne Park Hotel. People had their phones taken from them and some were handcuffed on both occasions during their transfer – causing them great distress.
    Please urgently contact the new Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews and demand an end to the abuse by freeing all Medevac Refugees from detention. The Minister’s phone number is (07) 5580 9111.... MORE


Len Mangan, Buddies director

A young single man in his 30s requires accommodation, preferably in the Nambour area, (close to support services and job opportunities).
    Buddies can vouch for his good character.
For more information, please contact Len on (07) 5494 9965 or  0419 664 524.


Len Mangan, Buddies director

A refugee in the Nambour area is looking for an apprenticeship as an electrician. Can someone provide this opportunity, or know of contacts who could help.
   If so please contact Len on (07) 5494 9965 or mobile 0419 664 524.


There is a vacancy for a treasurer to work with the finance group (Dee Williams, Tricia Reade and Penny Rivlin) in 2021. We can get by without one, but we can function more smoothly if there's a treasurer in place! A full handover will be given to whoever takes on this essential position.
    Please contact Buddies’ directors Paul McKinlay, 0439 679 588, or Len Mangan, 0419 664 524  for more information.

REPORT: 'Operation Not Forgotten' Zoom Info Session, held on 17 April

Gillian Duffy / Refugee Council of Australia

At this info session, the various organisations involved in this novel collaboration explained how they are working together to forge pathways to a new life in Canada for detainees in Australia and offshore. So far 139 sponsorship applications have been lodged – including for ‘Sam’, the young Iranian man SCRAN supported... View the infographic
    More funds are needed as there are still over 1,000 people with no pathway out of Australian detention other than deportation… READ THE RCOA REPORT

'COVID-19: One Year On' Impact Report

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

ASRC has published a new report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people seeking asylum and how the ASRC responded. Throughout the pandemic, people seeking asylum were exposed to even greater disadvantage and loss and were excluded from Government safety nets, but backed by a generous community, the ASRC was able to become a lifeline of hope to thousands of people seeking asylum who had no other place to turn for help... READ THE REPORT

Kangaroo Point hotel: 19 asylum seekers forcibly removed as police clash with protesters

The Guardian, 17 April

Nineteen asylum seekers brought to Australia for medical care have been forcibly removed from the the Kangaroo Point Central Hotel. It is understood they have been taken to the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation Centre, but it is unclear if the men will be held there long term or be moved to another centre or another state.
    The men’s removal comes amid a bitter dispute involving the owners of the hotel, the lessor, and the sub-lessor, Serco, said Lou Menniti, whose family trusts own the hotel... more

Former PM Turnbull flips position on Biloela family

7News, 23 April

Malcolm Turnbull was prime minister when Priya, Nades and their two  daughters were taken from Biloela and put into detention. More than three years on, he now supports the family being resettled in Australia   
    Turnbull acknowledged the importance of tough border security policies to stop asylum seekers making the risky journey to Australia by boat. But he called on new Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews to exercise some discretion.
    “ need to have a bit of subtlety, you need to have compassion, you need to have some humanity,” he said... more

Refugee activist sued by Peter Dutton over tweet says politicians should be more tolerant of criticism

The Guardian, 27 April

Lawyers for refugee activist Shane Bazzi who is being sued by Peter Dutton for labelling him “a rape apologist” say the case has serious implications for freedom of speech, and politicians should be more tolerant of criticism.
    The Defence Minister has made good on threats to sue social media users, seeking damages for alleged defamation over the criticism made on Twitter.
    Bazzi’s lawyers indicated he intended to “vigorously defend” the case on the basis he was expressing an opinion and that the community was entitled to expect elected representatives to be more tolerant... more

Bishop calls on PM to accept NZ offer in open letter

Anglican Focus, 15 April

Bishop Jeremy Greaves has joined other senior Anglican clergypersons in the signing of an open letter, calling for the Prime Minister to accept New Zealand’s offer to resettle refugees.
    A ‘travel bubble’ is now available to Australians and New Zealanders, while a group of people have been desperate to get across the ditch since 2013 when then-NZ Prime Minister John Key offered to resettle refugees trapped in the offshore processing systems of successive federal governments.
    The group of faith leaders from around the country called on Scott Morrison to accept the NZ resettlement deal and end this dark chapter in our nation’s history... more

Asylum seekers in PNG ‘scared and devastated’ after reportedly being held at gunpoint

SBS News, 16 April

Traumatised asylum seekers in the PNG capital are fearing for their lives after being held at gunpoint during an early morning attack on their accommodation this week. The Refugee Action Coalition said an armed gang of six to eight people kicked down doors at a Port Moresby Citi Serviced Apartments complex, which houses around 15 asylum seekers previously detained on Manus Island. The gang reportedly broke into the complex at around 3:30am, assaulting the men and ransacking their rooms.
    At least three required hospital treatment and several had all their belongings taken... more

Lest we forget the KP120

Independent Australia, 24 April

The Australian Government is commemorating our fallen soldiers on ANZAC Day while turning its back on those seeking asylum from war.
    The KP120 refers to 120 people who fled situations of war and unrest to seek asylum in Australia. That is their legal and human right. We imprisoned them for many years in offshore internment camps built on Nauru and Manus Island. Last year, the KP120 were shuttled into hotel detention in Kangaroo Point, Brisbane. In hotel confinement, their conditions remained cruel, inhumane and punitive.
    Theirs is only the latest chapter in Australia’s punishment of people for seeking asylum from war. To remember this arrogance and brutality, this year I say, lest we forget the KP120... more

‘I still have nightmares’: Surviving Australia’s Kangaroo Point

Al Jazeera, 18 April

In the early hours of the morning, security guards at an inner-city motel in Brisbane would begin knocking on each door. They were conducting a headcount, checking that everyone was still inside their room, and still alive, just as they had every day since 2019.
    Until this week, it had been used to confine people like 32-year-old Iraqi Ahmad Albardan and others who who had been detained offshore
    Last week, 19 men who were still being held at this centre after more than a year were suddenly transferred to the Brisbane Immigration Detention Centre (BITA). Thankfully, says Ahmad, 50 others – himself included – had already been released from Kangaroo Point in March, on final departure bridging visas... more
Thank you to Gillian Duffy, Len Mangan, Gaynore Stoessel, and Diana Woolley for their contributions to this edition.
Please send contributions for the newsletter to the editor. 

WEBSITE: Wendy Oakley

FACEBOOK: Anneliese Broadaway
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.

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

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