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Buddies Refugee Support Group
About to depart: Priya and Nades share a moment at Perth airport on Wednesday
THE GUARDIAN, 8 JUNE 2022
The town of Biloela will celebrate its Flourish multicultural festival on Saturday, which is likely to double as a welcome home party for the family. The timing of the journey also means youngest daughter Tharnicaa will be able to celebrate her fifth birthday in Biloela on Sunday. She was just nine months old when the family first entered detention.
    Nearly 600,000 people signed Home to Bilo campaigner Angela Frederick’s petition in support of the family, and more than 53,000 phone calls and emails were made to Australian politicians from supporters across the country.
    “Me and my family are very happy to start our journey back to my community in Bilo,” Priya said, speaking from Perth airport. She thanked the community in Western Australia where the family has spent the past 12 months. She also thanked staff at Perth Children’s hospital who treated Tharnicaa for a blood infection after she was medically evacuated from Christmas Island last year.
A crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $200,000 for the family ahead of their return to Biloela. The original goal was $148,000 but has been surpassed by more than $50,000... read more
Refugees living in limbo hope Nadesalingam family’s release will grant them a future as well... read more
COMING EVENTS
SUNDAY 19–SATURDAY 25 JUNE, 2022
2022 Refugee Week
Australia’s peak annual activity to inform the public about refugees and celebrate positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society.

MORE ABOUT REFUGEE WEEK
SATURDAY 18 JUNE, 5PM FOR 6PM START
REFUGEE WEEK MOVIE SCREENING BY WELCOME TO MALENY
'FREEDOM STREET'
Maleny RSL Hall, Bunya St MALENY
This multi award-winning documentry by director Alfred Pek explores the harrowing plights of Joniad, Ashfaq and Azizah, three refugees trapped in Indonesia who are affected by the consequences of Australia's policies.
    Followed by a Q&A session with the director and some of the people starring in the documentary, via Zoom. Catering by Rua Haung Café, selling authentic Rohingya cuisine (cash only). Licenced bar, and tea & coffee by donation.
    For event inquiries email Welcome to Maleny or call 0407 138 182.
SATURDAY 18 JUNE, 6–11PM
2022 REFUGEE WEEK EXHIBITION OPENING NIGHT
'THE NEED FOR GLOBAL HEALING'
Sonder Studio Gallery, Unit 20 / 5 Taylor Ct, Cooroy (see map)
An exhibition of prints of refugee artists’ artworks from around the world. The project is explained in the invitation letter HERE.
   Artists from a refugee background are invited to participate – the application form is available HERE. The project also includes a fundraising campaign (see below)
SUNDAY 26 JUNE, 11AM
BUDDIES CELEBRATING REFUGEE WEEK:
Three refugees tell their stories of courage and hope
Connections on King, 10 Gloucester Road, Buderim
Three refugees who Buddies have met through the Learn English Holiday program – Kamero from Burundi, Tenzin from Tibet and George from Syria – will describe their journeys from their home countries to Australia and their experiences of life in Australia. 
   Together with their Homestay hosts, Kristi and Robin, they will also talk about what they have learnt from their Homestay interactions. 
    Do come and hear these stories of courage, resourcefulness, determination and hope.
NB: This event replaces the regular Buddies bi-monthly meeting which will be rescheduled to a later date.
18-23 SEPTEMBER
LEARN ENGLISH HOLIDAY –  HOMESTAY HOSTS NEEDED

Matthew Flinders College, Buderim
Plans have started for the next Learn English Holiday program for the first week of the September school holidays. We will need volunteer homestay hosts for families from Afghanistan, Tibet, Somalia and Congo.
If you think you may be able to volunteer as a Homestay Host, a driver, or a support person in the Education Program please reply to buddiesleh@gmail.com or phone Kayla on 0427 380 235 for Homestays or Lesley on 0427 351 797 for the Education Program.
Labor’s win is a historic victory but let’s hope they won’t be Liberal-lite when it comes to refugees. They should end this sick industry of detaining refugees and have a royal comm’ to investigate what Liberal have done over the past decade.
–  Behrouz Boochani, author, journalist, UNSW Associate Professor, on Twitter

EXHIBITION: 'THE NEED FOR GLOBAL HEALING'
Fundraiser: 'Each artist needs a sponsor'

Sonder Studio Gallery Cooroy
We are expecting about 15–20 artists to submit between two and four photographs of artworks (any medium) they have created, along with a description about their art, and a bio or statement. You can sponsor the printing of one artwork ($100 and you get to keep the artwork) or you can simply donate any amount.

CAMPAIGN: 'Help the forgotten 505'

Refugee Council of Australia
We have a new government and a substantially changed Parliament, very welcome news for refugees and people seeking asylum. Things feel a whole lot more hopeful.
    But the new government’s plans do not include any change to the cruel offshore processing policy for people seeking asylum. 1,384 people are still trapped in the system.
    Even if the planned resettlement arrangements with the US, Canada and New Zealand are fully taken up, at the very least 505 people in PNG, Nauru or Australia on short-term temporary visas still have no hope of being resettled.

Andrew Giles is the new Australian immigration and citizenship minister

Anthony Albanese has put the Immigration portfolio into the outer ministry, handing it over to Andrew Giles, who represents the electorate of Scullin in Melbourne’s north.
    Before going to the parliament in 2013, Mr Giles mainly worked as an employment lawyer. His interests are Immigration and social policy.
Clare O'Neil is the new Minister for Home Affairs and Cybersecurity.

REPORT: Giant celebration for Refugee Week

Gillian Duffy, SCRAN (Sunshine Coast Refugee Action Network)
Buddies Director Sam McGill (back row, second from right) and friends with the letter “S” contributed by Buddies
SCRAN stall at Kawana Waters Farmers Market with an “M” decorated by shoppers and stall holders
Nearly 30 community organisations around the Sunshine Coast have participated in SCRAN’s art and social media project to decorate 32 giant letters. Buddies contributed the letter “S”.
    On Saturday 4 June, all the groups came together for the first time for a sausage sizzle and to build a message of welcome for refugees at Federation Park, Palmwoods. The message was filmed by drone and the footage will be on the SCRAN Facebook page on Refugee Day, 20 June.
    The story and photos of each letter being created are being posted daily on the Facebook page, and the whole giant message will be on display at the Sonder Studio Gallery in Cooroy from 18–26 June as part of the Refugee Week Art Exhibition.

Letter to PM Albanese from RCOA CEO Paul Power

Refugee Council of Australia, 23 May
An excellent letter from RCOA with some recommendations for revamping the current suite of refugee policies: 
"The Regional Council of Australia has congratulated Anthony Albanese on his election as Prime Minister and outlined some of the most pressing refugee policies facing his government in our letter."

TEMPORARY: The system behind the stories

Dr Sangeetha Pillai, Kaldor Centre
Get the facts on how Australia’s laws keep some refugees in limbo. Step-by-step explainers.
• Basic concepts
• Why it is legal to seek asylum
• What is the legacy caseload?
• Detention, community detention and bridging visas
• Applying for protection
• Life on a TPV or SHEV
• What happens when a TPV is rejected
• What's wrong with Australia’s temporary protection system

Another fantastic fundraising effort from MFAC students

As a result of their Primary Market Day the Year 9 students at Matthew Flinders Anglican College in Buderim have raised over $1700 which they have donated to Buddies. This follows a similar donation of $922 made by the Year 6 students in March.
THANK YOU MATTHEW FLINDERS STUDENTS!

Feel like imbibing some fine wine? Don't forget Goodwill Wines

Great wine delivered directly to your door and if you nominate Buddies as your Charity of Choice, 50% of the profits goes to Buddies. It’s a win-win situation.

Go to goodwillwine.com.au

We have an opportunity to hit refresh on refugee policy

JANE McADAM, WA TODAY, 30 MAY
This time, fear didn’t work. When mass text messages on election day warned voters of an “illegal boat trying to reach Australia”, these were called out as a cynical, desperate act. And the election results suggest they didn’t turn the intended political trick. Australians voted for better, fairer.
    Now, more than ever, it is important to shape a long-term vision for Australian refugee policy – one that, in the words of the new prime minister, promotes “unity and optimism, not fear and division”.
    With global displacement at a record high, fuelled by conflict, disasters, persecution and human rights violations, with people in our community held back by enduring, unnecessary uncertainty, we have a moral and a legal obligation to do our bit.
*Jane McAdam AO is Scientia Professor of Law and Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at the University of NSW, Sydney

The new minister and the Tampa episode

DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA, 2 JUNE
 

Wyy only bridging visas for the Biloela family?

PEARLS AND IRRITATIONS, 31 MAY
 
Andrew Giles, Australia’s new minister for immigration, acted as a solicitor representing 433 asylum seekers trying to get to Australia aboard the Norwegian freighter MV Tampa in 2001 but has not committed to overturn the controversial policies from that time.
    ‘In 2001, I was a small part of the legal team that acted on behalf of the asylum seekers on the Tampa," he said. "This involvement, more than anything else, led me towards seeking election to this place."
    However, when Mr Giles became Labor’s shadow minister for multicultural affairs in 2019, he walked away from his previous efforts to get the party to scrap the policy of turning back asylum seeker boats at a 2015 ALP national conference.
 
The Murugappan family have been granted bridging visas ‘while they work towards resolution of their immigration status’.
    Interim minister Chalmers could have granted any visa he thought appropriate, including permanent visas. But the bridging visa option was the simplest and quickest way to get the family back to Biloela and give the new government time to develop a more comprehensive policy framework for managing well over 100,000 asylum and refugee cases that it has now inherited.
    This will not be simple or cheap or uncontroversial. Peter Dutton has made it clear he will continue to use the issue as a political weapon rather than help with development of a sensible policy response.
 

When freedom is only the beginning

THE NEW YORK TIMES, 2 JUNE
Refugees who’d spent years in detention had a lot of questions about their new lives in Australia. Some were easier to answer than others.
    How do I use Google Maps? Will I get in trouble if I cross the road without using a pedestrian crossing? How do I get a proof-of-age card? A driver’s license? A tax file number? Do you think a Labor victory in the election will be good for us?
    One refugee’s question was, simply: What should I do? He was talking about his younger brother, deeply traumatized from long years in detention, who had yet to leave their room at their new temporary accommodation, though both of them had been free for two weeks.
Left: A recently released refugee from Iran sits outside his Melbourne motel room

Peter Dutton: A man of hypocrisy and double standards

SYDNEY CRIMINAL LAWYERS, 1 JUNE
 

‘We didn’t know there was an election’: Sri Lankan men reveal desperate journey

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 2 JUNE
 
For many Australians, Peter Dutton’s campaign to ‘soften’ his image are a hard pill to swallow.  Since becoming opposition leader, Dutton has made it obvious that he wants to engender the trust of all Australians. But historically, he has not acted in a compassionate way on humanitarian issues.
    In addition to an ongoing campaign against the Biloela family, Dutton has made numerous offensive remarks about asylum seekers, including that female refugees offshore were “trying it on” by claiming they had been raped in order to come to Australia for abortions.
    And there have been concerns about the arbitrary power that the former Home Affairs Minister had to grant or deny visas at whim, powers instilled by the Morrison Government
 
Twelve fishermen who spent a perilous 19 days on the Indian Ocean before being intercepted west of Christmas Island on the morning of the federal election, say they did not pay people smugglers, but organised the journey themselves on a boat one of them owned. An election in Australia was the last thing on their minds.
    Their journey is the subject of an investigation by the new Labor government, which is probing the circumstances of a controversial Border Force statement that almost immediately publicised the capture of their vessel on May 21 on the instructions of then-prime minister Morrison’s office.
   The fishermen had been attempting to escape the hardship of the current crippling economic crisis in Sri Lanka.
 

Despite the weather, Myanmar refugees start farming co-operative on NSW Coffs Coast

ABC NEWS, 28 MAY
Thing Sai Manrhing enjoyed farming the lush green hillsides of Myanmar before being forced to flee his home country. He and his wife Zilhing Takluem arrived in Australia in 2013, and ever since they have been longing to get back on the land.
    Mr Manrhing secured work as a picker on a blueberry farm in Coffs Harbour, on the NSW Mid North Coast, but he’s always wanted to have his own farm. His dream was shared by many of the region’s Myanmar community members, who came to Australia already equipped with agriculture skills.
   Together, five refugee families approached not-for-profit group Settlement Services International (SSI) for help. Now the group has registered as a not-for-profit called the Myanmar Community Agriculture Co-operative.
Thank you to Gillian Duffy, Len Mangan, Lisa McDonald, Penny Rivlin, Gabby Sutherland, Kayla Szumer, Lynda Utting and Diana Woolley for their contributions to this edition.
BUDDIES BULLETIN – EDITORIAL POLICY
DEADLINE FOR CONTRIBUTIONS: 5pm second Wednesday of the month. Next Bulletin 8 July
Please send contributions for the newsletter to the editor. 

EDITOR / PRODUCTION: Wendy Oakley
WEBSITE: Wendy Oakley

FACEBOOK – SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER: Sam McGill
ABOUT BUDDIES REFUGEE SUPPORT GROUP
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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