Buddies Refugee Support Group
Julian Burnside. Below: With Buddies director Diana Woolley at an event in Melbourne

ABC Radio, 5 March 

Prominent human rights lawyer Julian Burnside QC says concern that the political system is “broken” has prompted him to run as a Greens candidate in the May election. The Melbourne barrister specialises in commercial litigation, but is best known for his advocacy for asylum seekers and has been a vocal critic of Australia’s offshore processing centres.
     The affluent Kooyong electorate where Mr Burnside lives has been a safe Liberal seat since its creation. 
     Mr Burnside said his wife had urged him to run for office, and he had decided to join the Greens about a week ago after he checked their policies and found they were “consistent” with his views.
     He said while refugee rights was the major issue for which he was known, he believed climate change was “the major issue” facing the planet... more

Saturday 16 March, 9am
Amnesty Social Lab workshop, Sippy Downs
Saturday 23 March, 10am–3pm
Harmony Day, Maroochydore

Sunday 24 March, 11am
Buddies meeting, 24 King St, Buderim
Sunday 7 – Friday 12 April
Learn English Holiday, Buderim
Sunday 14 April
Palm Sunday rally and march, Brisbane
Sunday 28 April, 8am
Bunnings Sausage Sizzle, Noosaville

Amnesty 2019 Social Change Lab

9am, University of the Sunshine Coast
Are you passionate about human rights and want to be a social change activist? Then join us for this weekend of workshops. The aim is to provide you with valuable campaigning skills, hear from a range of guest speakers, and an opportunity to meet other amazing activists. You do not need to be a member of Amnesty to attend… more


10am–3pm, Cotton Tree Park, Maroochydore
The Sunshine Coast Voices of Harmony event will create a ‘global village’ for the community to connect through song, story, dance, food, traditional games, activities and customs. SCRAN will have a stall with Buddies – anyone who would like to volunteer to help out with the stall please email Diana Woolley ... View the flyer

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

Bunnings sausage sizzle

8am–4pm, Bunnings Noosaville
Bunnings sausage sizzles are a great fundraiser for Buddies. Come along and enjoy a sausage and a chat.

Scomo will send a whisper to the Navy to let a couple of asylum seeker boats through before the election. Then he will try to terrify the nation that we are under attack. Could he be that dishonest?

– Julian Burnside, barrister and refugee advocate, on Twitter

GoFundMe campaign:  Help Nauru families repay flight debts

Administered by US-Aussie ex-pat group Ads-Up

Families from Nauru resettled in the US will soon be handed a debt notice for the cost of their flights – potentially more than $12,000 USD per family. Ads-Up is currently aware of nine families who were previously detained on Nauru. The entirety of all donations received will be distributed directly to the families… more

WANTED: Volunteer hosts &/or drivers for the Buddies Learn English Holiday program

Matthew Flinders Anglican College, 7–12 April
For information on hosting and/or driving support, contact Kayla at

"An update: this federal election, I’m standing for Parliament"

Julian Burnside website, 5 March

"In the past, I’ve said I wasn’t interested in politics. But it’s clear to me that things need to change, and that has motivated me to run for parliament. I’ve decided to stand for election in Kooyong because of the situation our community, our country and our planet are facing. For years the major parties have allowed people to be misled and ignored when it comes to climate change, to refugee policy, to addressing inequality. They’re driven by self-interest and by the demands of their big corporate donors"... more

Manus Island asylum seekers score fresh chance for freedom

SBS News, 5 March

Almost three years after the PNG Supreme Court ruled that the detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island was unconstitutional, a group of lawyers acting on behalf of the men are claiming they are still being detained unlawfully. The team is acting on behalf of 550 asylum seekers and refugees trapped on Manus Island and will launch a fresh legal bid aimed at getting the men off the island, where hundreds of asylum seekers still remain living in compounds... more

Another man dies at Villawood immigration detention centre

The Guardian, 5 March

A 25-year-old man, believed to be Iraqi, has taken his own life at Villawood, the second man to die at the Sydney facility this year. The Australian Border Force confirmed “a male detainee passed away” at the Centre, and said the death had been referred to the New South Wales coroner and other “appropriate agencies” for investigation. In January another young man from Sierra Leone also took his own life, shortly after he’d met with ABF staff. He had been suffering severe mental health issues and was on suicide watch.... more

Scott Morrison leads PR sortie to reopened Christmas Island

The Guardian, 6 March

Scott Morrison has indicated it is possible that asylum seekers with serious medical emergencies will continue to be treated in Australia, while taking a pool of reporters to Christmas Island to showcase the facilities the government has reopened at an estimated cost of $1.4bn over four years. When pressed about why he was there with reporters in tow for what was self-evidently an expensive public relations sortie, Morrison declared it was “important for Australians to know this facility is up to the job”... more

Coalition rabble-rousing on refugees is beneath contempt

The Guardian, 3 March

It is now abundantly clear that the government regards voters with complete contempt, building as the Coalition gets more desperate to cling to power. Peter Dutton has highlighted just how completely contemptuous this government is of voters when he suggested that new laws to bring sick asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru to Australia would “see Australians who are in waiting lines at public hospitals kicked off those waiting lines because people from Nauru and Manus are now going to access those health services”... more

Editorial: Detention costs sap Coalition’s credibility

The Age, 4 March

The government’s pitch for re-election relies heavily on the claim it is superior at economics – that it unfailingly manages taxpayers’ money responsibly. Yet in the past six years it has presided over some of the most egregious wasting of public funds in Australia’s history. About $7 billion has been spent on mandatory offshore detention of refugees and asylum seekers. A further $1.4 billion will be added as the result of Scott Morrison’s dubious decision to reopen the detention centre on Christmas Island... more

How the next Australian government can balance security and compassion for asylum seekers

The Conversation, 5 March

With a rapidly changing climate and increased instability in the world order, patterns of people movement are likely to change dramatically in the future. It is not a tenable response to isolate Australia from the shocks of these changes. Sadly, the politicisation of refugee policy since the Tampa crisis of 2001 indicates that our major political parties are incapable of the kind of honest and open decision-making that is required in this complex and vexed policy space... more
Thank you to Gillian Duffy, Penny Rivlin, 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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