Buddies Refugee Support Group
Morrison poses for a photo at the Christmas Island detention centre

The Guardian, 2 April

Scott Morrison’s government used Tuesday’s budget to announce it would close the Christmas Island detention centre before 1 July, just weeks after reopening it at a cost of more than $185m. Not a single refugee or asylum seeker has been transferred there.  
     The government reopened the centre in reaction to the passing of the medical evacuation bill, ensuring refugees and asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru could be evacuated to Australia for treatment if required. The bill sparked furious partisan disagreements over Australia’s medical obligations to those it sent to offshore processing centres, as well as border security and asylum seeker policy.
     “Any illegal maritime arrivals on Christmas Island will be returned to Nauru and PNG, and the… detention centre will be returned to a contingency setting,” the budget papers said... more

Sunday 7 – Friday 12 April
Learn English Holiday, Buderim
Monday 8 April, 12 noon
Law Out Loud seminar, Sippy Downs
Tuesday 9 April, 6pm
Noosa Welcomes Refugees dinner, Noosaville
Sunday 14 April
Palm Sunday rally and march, Brisbane
Sunday 28 April, 11am
Buddies meeting, 24 King St, Buderim. 11am: Members' business – agenda items to Scott Grimmett 0427 364 802. 11.45am: Guest speaker. 12.30pm: Refreshments.

Learn English Holiday

Matthew Flinders Anglican College
The LEH program comprises six days on the Sunshine Coast – accommodation free with Buddies Homestay – and five days of English classes with outings to beach and local attractions.
For information on hosting and/or driving support, contact Kayla at

Law out loud! international law seminar – Enslavement as a crime against humanity

12 noon, University of the Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre
Some doctrinal, historical and theoretical considerations, presented by Dr Edwin Bikundo, Griffith University

Noosa Welcomes Refugees dinner with guest speaker Jason Scanes

6pm, Raj Indian Restaurant, Noosaville
Jason is now the ALP candidate for Wide Bay. You may remember him camping outside Dutton's office in support of his Afghan translator's asylum claim. An opportunity to ask questions about ALP refugee policy and make our views known. $30 a head, limited seating, booking essential, email HERE • About JasonView the flyerNews article

Palm Sunday rally for peace and refugees

RAC Queensland & Just Peace Queensland

2pm, outside Qld Parliament, cnr George and Alice Sts, Brisbane
Join us on Palm Sunday to stand up for refugees. In the run up to the federal election the Palm Sunday rally and march will help deliver the message to all politicians that we want a fair society that welcomes refugees… more

The government never intended to send sick refugees to Christmas Island. It was theatre, window dressing, PR, desperation, obfuscation.

– Dr Kerryn Phelps, member for Wentworth, on Twitter

PETITION: Rajan has cancer – let him be free

Rajan has been in detention in Melbourne for 9 years and has been diagnosed with leukaemia. He fled Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war and was recognised as a genuine refugee, but his hopes were crushed by a secret security assessment, trapping him in detention without hope of release. Please – let Rajan live in our community with the support of the many friends who care for him.… SIGN

Australian Story: The Invisible Man

ABC iView

The story of Behrouz Boochani, the stateless refugee who won Australia’s richest literary award while living on Manus Island, but remains unable to set foot in this country. Broadcast last Monday…  WATCH

Behrouz is a hero, and the imprisonment of refugees like him remains a gross injustice. We must close offshore detention camps and bring all refugees here.

– Mehreen Faruqi, NSW Greens senator, on Twitter

Let's get this Qld family out of detention and home to Bilo

5 March marks one year since Priya, Nades and their Qld-born girls were taken from their Biloela home and detained in Melbourne. Will you help build an emergency legal fund to bring this family home? Whatever happens in court, we need the Immigration Minister to intervene to keep this family together. 3 days left to contribute... more

Crowdfunding: Rahila's social enterprise for women in Afghanistan


At the 24 March Buddies meeting guest speaker Rahila Haidary told the story of how her family struggled to leave Afghanistan and succeeded in making a fresh start in Australia. Many members were keen to donate to Rahila's effort to establish a social enterprise for women in Afghanistan. More about Rahila's enterprise HERE.

Boochani’s mission to change offshore detention laws using a smuggled mobile phone

ABC, 1 April

A ‘cry of resistance’ message by message – Behrouz Boochani, 35, has become one of Australia’s most feted authors and journalists, from his self-described “exile” on Manus Island. The academic and journalist wrote his 374-page tome in secret, sending it via text message from detention to his translator and editor in Australia. He hid the phone in a cavity that he created in his mattress “I didn’t feel safe to write it on paper,” Boochani tells Australian Story. “Anytime, it was possible that I could lose it. When I send it out, it’s more safe.” On a smuggled phone, undercover, he would write, send; write, send; write, send... more

Inclusive rhetoric cast aside with a harsh budget for refugees

RCOA, 3 April

PM Scott Morrison’s plan to be more welcoming and inclusive since the Christchurch terrorist attack has been cast aside with a federal budget which deals harshly with refugees and people seeking asylum. The 2019-20 federal budget includes a plan to overturn the independent medical assessment of seriously ill refugees on Nauru and Manus Island and massive cuts to assistance for people seeking asylum living in Australia. Refugee Council of Australia CEO Paul Power has called the plan to repeal the Medevac legislation by 1 July “a cruel political stunt which threatens further harm to refugees who need urgent medical attention”... more

More refugees being treated in Australia than on Nauru and Manus Island

SBS News, 4 April

Home Affairs boss Michael Pezzullo has confirmed there are now more asylum seekers in Australia for medical treatment than there are being held offshore. Since July, 461 people have been evacuated from Nauru for medical treatment, a 10-fold increase on the previous financial year.  Pezzullo told a Senate estimates hearing that that brings the total number of people brought to the mainland for medical care or to accompany sick family members to 953, outnumbering the 915 people held offshore... more

Only one person has been transferred under medevac law

The Guardian, 2 April

As the new process for bringing sick refugees to Australia faces unexplained delays, others who have come are being held under guard in hotels. The Department of Home Affairs and Australian Border Force refuse to say how many transfers have occurred, but according to advocates only one of more than 25 people brought to Australia for treatment in recent weeks has been under the new law. Instead, the government appears to be using existing processes to follow health contractors’ recommendations for medical transfers to Australia… more

PM ‘has no recollection’ of proposal for mass detention, 26 March

Scott Morrison says he has “no recollection” of a controversial proposal he reportedly put forward that shocked one of his colleagues, put forward in the early days of the Abbott government. It has been alleged Mr Morrison clashed with Tony Abbott’s treasurer Joe Hockey in early 2014, as Mr Hockey was preparing the government’s first budget. Mr Morrison, who was immigration minister at the time, reportedly proposed the mass incarceration of asylum seekers who were living in Australia on bridging visas... more

Scott Ludlam: We paid $180m for Scott Morrison to have a press conference on Christmas Island

The Guardian, 3 April

Even by the government’s degraded standards, this one takes a moment to sink in. It has been a dependable truism for two decades of refugee policy in Australia, that every time you think things can’t get any worse, they immediately do. In a rare break from this pattern, the government was forced into a historic retreat by the will of the parliament on the Medevac bill in February. Rather than conceding, the government doubled down. Morrison committed $1.4bn to reopen the shuttered Christmas Island detention centre. Within weeks it became clear that Christmas Island’s role in detention policy was as a stage set... more

‘I have lost everything’: Kashmiri refugee’s six years on Nauru

SBS News, 26 March

Haji Nisar is an Indian national who has been living on Nauru for nearly six years. When he left his home in Kashmir, he knew the journey would not be easy – however he was ready to pay the price for the future. With the threat of violence and the presence of Indian army personnel around him all his life, he could see no future in his small town. So the 37-year-old decided to try and make his way to Australia, paying what he called a ‘hefty’ amount to an agent. The agent took him to Indonesia via Malaysia. “It was a long journey,” he recalls, “Finally, we hopped on to a boat to Australia.” The boat, however, never reached its intended destination, and Haji Nisar ended up on Nauru... more
Thank you to Scott Grimmett, Gillian Duffy, Angela Mercuri, Kayla Szumer 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, 24 King Street Buderim.
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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