Buddies Refugee Support Group

Today’s Bulletin is our final for 2019. The next Bulletin will be on Friday 10 January 2020.
Next year the Bulletin will be issued fortnightly., 4 December

"The people marooned on Manus Island (sic) and Nauru are Australia’s responsibility and it is a basic human right that every person has access to appropriate medical care. What have we come to as a nation when we are prepared to treat human beings so cruelly?
   "Clearly Medevac has not started the boats again and has not created a national security problem. The Government is hiding behind the term ‘national security’ because they know there is no legitimate reason to have repealed the legislation. They are simply intent on punishing innocent people in the name of ideology.
   "Medevac has reduced the preventable suffering of ill asylum seekers and refugees and is supported by medical experts. There are many politicians who should be ashamed of their willingness to throw innocent people to the wolves."
“These people are not of good character. They’re rapists. These people are thugs. They don’t belong here in Australia.”
– Pauline Hanson, senator, Australian Parliament 

“Among the men Australia sent to PNG are acclaimed writers and journalists, professional sportsmen, artists, recipients of prestigious international human rights prizes and advocates working to help others.” 
– Madeleine Gleeson, lawyer, Kaldor Centre

Saturday 7 December, 11am
Buddies Reunion Picnic, Roma St Parklands
Saturday 7 December
The World's Big Sleep Out, The Gabba, Brisbane
Sunday 15 December, 3pm
SCRAN 2019 Celebration, Tanawha
13–14 February 2020
RCOA Refugee Alternatives Conference, Brisbane

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

The World's Big Sleep Out

The Gabba, Brisbane
For one night, in backyards, hometowns and iconic locations across the globe, people will sleep out in unison to create the world’s largest display of solidarity with those experiencing homelessness and displacement. The Romero Centre has been chosen as the charity mission to be benefiting 50% of funds raised from the event... MORE

SCRAN 2019 Celebration

Hosted by Sunshine Coast Refugee Action Network

3-6pm, Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens, Tanawha
Come and celebrate the year's achievements with us at a picnic style event. Take part in Amnesty International's annual Write for Rights campaign! Bring a plate of food to share (no meat or single-use plastics please) and BYO drinks. Hope to see you there!
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. View the draft program HERERegister here

The worst abuses of offshore detention have been allowed to happen because of secrecy. This is a dark day.

–Nick McKim, Greens senator for Tasmania, on Twitter

Minutes of November meeting

Minutes of the Buddies meeting on 24 November, including the finance report, can be read HERE.

Support Goodwill Wines in 2020

There’s just time for folk to get in some sparkling wine for the New Year. Choose your wine first, and then put Buddies as your choice of charity. Goodwill Wine has some well priced cases of whites, reds and one sparkling Brut case on offer (<$15 a bottle). The founder of Goodwill Wine was given Red Cross appeal cash support after the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009. He decided to donate $2 a bottle to your charity as  ‘pay forward'… more

Report: Noosa Bunnings sausage sizzle

Penny Rivlin, 4 December

There were several conversations with folk about refugees, especially as the Medevac laws had just been reversed. There were consequently non-sausage eaters who donated, they were so concerned. Some NWR help was needed to man the BBQ, so we shared the $642 profit. The Salvos took the excess sausages and bread for the homeless. Thanks so much to: Thorsten, Linda, Florence, Len, Gaynor, Agnieszka, Fay, David, Dee, Gillian, Jason and Eveline.

Deeply ashamed to count myself among a people who have created a political environment in which this evil can occur.

– Father Rod Bower, Anglican priest, on Twitter
Canadians and Aussies are stepping up – if the government won’t resettle Manus and Nauru refugees, we will.


Ads-Up general fundraiser (continued)


To date $180,000 has been raised. Ads-Up Canada is a volunteer group forming resettlement teams and partnering with charities and nonprofits to sponsor PNG and Nauru refugees through Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees program. This particular campaign is specifically directed towards the more than 200 refugees who have been rejected from the US-Australia resettlement deal... more

A law that made it easier for sick refugees to get treatment in Australia has been scrapped

Buzzfeed, 5 December

A law that gave doctors greater say over the transfer of sick refugees to Australia to receive medical treatment has been abolished after the government struck a mysterious agreement to secure its repeal. The Senate voted to repeal the so-called Medevac law on Wednesday morning, amid disagreement over whether the government had made a deal to secure crossbench senator Jacqui Lambie’s support. The repeal vote was the culmination of a year-long political fight over who should make decisions when to transfer sick refugees to Australia, which has become a central political issue in recent years... more

Medevac deal with Lambie clears ground for New Zealand solution

Sydney Morning Herald, 5 December

Scott Morrison has cleared the way for a deal to resettle hundreds of refugees after writing to Jacqui Lambie to outline his plans to remove asylum seekers from offshore detention. He made the private assurance to persuade her to back his bid to repeal the Medevac law. The letter helped give Ms Lambie confidence in a New Zealand solution to the plight of hundreds of refugees offshore. Our policy is to ensure that we seek to resettle the people on Nauru, Morrison said. While the letter has not been released, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald have spoken to several sources who confirmed the assurances were made... more

Explainer: the Medevac repeal and what it means for asylum seekers in PNG and Nauru 

The Conversation, 4 December

What does the repeal of this law mean for those still in offshore detention? The number of refugees in Nauru and Manus peaked at 2450 in April 2014 and has been dropping ever since. As of this week, 208 remain in PNG and 258 on Nauru. The majority of those no longer on Nauru and PNG have been transferred to Australia for medical treatment. Prior to this law, 1246 people had been transferred to Australia for medical reasons, including accompanying family. “Less than a handful” of these were returned to Nauru or PNG, the most recent in April 2018... more

Offshore detention costs taxpayers up to $573,000 each person a year, report finds

The Guardian, 3 December

 A new report, At What Cost, finds the cost of offshore processing over the next three years will be $1.2bn, as much as $573,000 a person each year. The report, released by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Save the Children and GetUp, showed this was on top of the $9bn spent on offshore processing and onshore mandatory detention from 2016 to 2020. “Whilst the human cost of Australia’s six-year failure to find a solution for all those people trapped offshore remains devastating, so too is the economic impact for a government in search of fiscal savings,” the report said... more

Refugees face higher burden of proof than criminals

The Kaldor Centre, 27 November

The moment a refugee-status decision is made, people’s lives change forever. Toronto lecturer Dr Hilary Evans Cameron has analysed hundreds of Canadian negative refugee status determination decisions and said rejection almost came down to a judgment about trustworthiness. "Rather than making people prove that they are telling the truth, we should, as we do in criminal law, presume that they are telling the truth. Cross-cultural miscommunication, the after-effects of trauma, and poor language interpretation all can create problems for an aylum-seeker in being believed", she said... more

Boochani’s next move: A love story

9 News, 29 November

Boochani’s future has been the central question since he left PNG earlier this month. Officially, he is on a one-month NZ visit visa which expects him to board his return flight in a week’s time. Declaring himself a free man upon arrival, it seems likely that Boochani will seek asylum rather than return. The 36-year-old says he isn’t sure where he’ll be – but he knows what he wants to do. Boochani says he’d like to continue writing opinion pieces but his next major pursuit will be literary. “I want to work on a novel. I’m thinking about it. I think it will be about love. Fiction. A story... but relating to my experiences in Manus. I have not started yet. I’m not in a hurry. I don’t have to force myself to start to work. With any form of art, you need space”... more

Behrouz Boochani: Still in limbo

Lowy Institute, 28 November

For many of the few hundred men left in PNG, the greatest obstacles to resolving their situation are bureaucratic. Despite saying he feels “free” in New Zealand, Behrouz Boochani is still shackled by his temporary and precarious immigration status. His future remains subject to government discretion, an uncertainty few of us could ever fully understand. PNG and Nauru, as parties to the Refugee Convention, have an obligation to issue refugees “lawfully staying in their territory” – such as Boochani – documents for the purpose of travel outside the country. While there are some limited cases in which this has happened, travel documents have not been issued as a matter of course to all of those found to be refugees in either PNG or Nauru... more
Thank you to Andrea Douglas, Gillian Duffy, Paul McKinlay, Penny Rivlin, Kayla Szumer, Lesley Willcoxson 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, 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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