Buddies Refugee Support Group
In Biloela, Priya Nadesalingam says ‘I know my daughters will get to grow up safely in Australia. Now my husband and I can live without fear’.
    Priya and Nades, along with their daughters Kopika, 7, and Tharnicaa, 5, were visited by immigration officials in their family home in Biloela on Friday and told they were now able to stay permanently in Australia.
    Priya said it was a “very happy day” for the Tamil asylum seeker family and for all of their friends and supporters in Biloela.
    “At last we feel peace,” Priya said in a statement. “I am so grateful to minister Giles for granting us this permanency."
    In March 2018, the family were given 10 minutes to pack before being removed from their home by border force agents in a 5am raid. They were then moved to immigration detention in Melbourne before the government attempted to deport the family to Sri Lanka in 2019.
Nades has returned to the job he held before his family was taken away by immigration officials in 2018 and is looking to start a food van with his wife.
King George Square, Brisbane City
Three very reasonable demands:
• Grant permanent protection to over 5,000 people from Afghanistan on temporary visas.
• Expedite family reunion of the Australian residents from Afghanistan.
• Lift the ban on the resettlement of refugees from Afghanistan in Indonesia.
This event is hosted by Diaspora Advocacy Network for Afghanistan Refugee Rights and supported by Refugee Action Collective Qld
Connections on King, cnr Gloucester Rd and King St Buderim
ALL WELCOME. However only financial members are eligible to vote.
    Please RSVP if you are planning to attend HERE.
   We require one or two new Directors and a Secretary. (More details below). For more information: Len 0419 664 524, or Lynda 0416 878 431.

for classroom volunteers, Homestay hosts and drivers
Matthew Flinders Anglican College, 7 Main St Buderim (more info below)
St Mark’s Hall, 17 Main St, Buderim
Learn how to share your interest in refugee issues. Shivani Kanodia from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre will be running this workshop for Buddies for LEH volunteers and Buddies interested in learning some powerful strategies for communicating with others about refugees and similar ‘difficult’ subjects. 
To express interest please email Lesley Willcoxson.
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 and classroom volunteers for families from Afghanistan, Tibet, Somalia and Congo (more details below)
Connections on King (Uniting Church Hall) Buderim.
Buddies is celebrating its 20 year Anniversary on this day and we are planning a special event including a multicultural dinner and night of entertainment. We will also be launching our book (title yet to be confirmed) with copies available for purchase.
Cost: there will be a set cover charge.

More details to follow.

The very public return of this family is a paradoxical and challenging story. Specially when we remember that there are still more 100s refugees remaining in Port Moresby&Nauru
–  Behrouz Boochani, author, on Twitter



We require one or two ‘new’ Directors. Any financial member is eligible for election by being nominated by two members. A nomination can be made from the AGM meeting floor or the Chair will also accept this form.
    If you are interested in the roles and responsibilities of being a Director, they are summarised in this document
    You are welcome to call Len (0419 664 524) or Lynda (0416 878 431) to discuss.


This is not an onerous role but is required by the Corporations Act. The Secretary is responsible for keeping the register of members, keeping the minutes and other records of meetings, keeping the Company records, and receiving official correspondence.
    For further information on this role, please email current Secretary Gaynore Stoessel.


Buddies is considering registering to become a Donor Gift Recipient (DGR) to then be able to offer donors a tax receipt for tax-deductible donations.     In the first instance we need a person (or possibly two) to do some research on the ATO website to determine what's involved in setting this up, and then to present their findings to the Board for consideration.     This might suit someone perhaps from an accounting or bookkeeping background For further enquiries email Buddies.


September Learn English Holiday program
Our refugee guests arrive from Brisbane on 18 September and stay with their hosts until 23 September. While they are with us from Monday to Friday they take part in learning activities, this time at Matthew Flinders Anglican College in Buderim.
    If you would like to share your home and life with a refugee family, couple or single for the week, or would like to help in the classroom or assist as a driver, we welcome your involvement.
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 or phone Kayla on 0427 380 235 for Homestays or Lesley on 0427 351 797 for the Education Program.

Annual Report for 2021-2022 now available

This annual report provides a summary outline of the activities and initiatives that have taken place during 2021/22. Despite difficulties in many aspects, Buddies continued to make a difference through fundraising events and activities, community engagement and education programs, and by providing much-needed financial support to individuals and the organisations that coordinate support to the most vulnerable members of our community.

Help ex-Manus refugee to pay unfair legal costs

Rural Australians for Refugees
"Mo" was released from the Park Hotel Prison earlier this year. While still in detention – with no money and no way of making money – he received an invoice for legal costs from Home Affairs concerning a case brought by lawyers to try and secure his freedom from detention. Ironically, just a few weeks later he was released.
   We have written to various ministers to try and have the bill overturned, but there has been no reply...


Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
Let refugees rebuild their lives.
Nine years after our government forced them to brutal offshore detention centres, 216 refugees and people seeking asylum are still trapped in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
    The former government finally accepted NZ’s offer to resettle 150 people per year in March this year. But after nine years of delay, the situation is critical.
Please email your MP now. Urge them to contact new Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil, who has the power to urgently evacuate people abandoned on PNG and Nauru while they await permanent resettlement.

Selling fruit for Buddies

For the last 9 years, usually from April to August, a small group has harvested, packaged and sold avocados and custard apples so generously donated by Scott Grimmett from his property in Buderim.
    Special thanks to Kendall Snowden, Yokki Rother and Thene Bell for their indominable spirit in gathering volunteers from Buddies, Oriana Choir and refugees to carry out this annual event. With possubly 3 more picks to go we have passed the $1000!!
Thank you Scott and all volunteers who have lent a hand!

REPORT: In Conversation – becoming anti-racist

Breakfast with Craig Foster, Venue 114, 21 July
Rob Kann (Welcome to Maleny), Gillian Duffy (SCRAN) and Dee Williams (Buddies) attended the early morning breakfast. Afterwards they presented human rights activest and speaker Craig Foster with a poster of the SCRAN Community Project, with “The Sunshine Coast Welcomes Refugees” message
Pictured from left: Rob Kann, Craig Foster, Gillian Duffy and Dee Williams.
Former Socceroo captain Craig Foster AM played an integral role in the #GameOver campaign with Amnesty International, which saw the Government finally accept New Zealand’s long standing offer of resettling refugees from offshore detention.

First national survey on the experience of LGBTIQA+ forcibly displaced people

Forcibly Displaced People Network (FDPN)*
The aim of this survey is to collect information about the experiences and barriers of LGBTIQA+ forcibly displaced people in Australia so we can advocate for more welcoming and inclusive support.
 LGBTIQA+ forcibly displaced person means:
• an asylum seeker,
• a refugee or
• a migrant (both temporary and permanent) who is from a non-Western country and who was not able to safely live there as an LGBTIQA+ person in their country of origin.
*FDPN is Australia’s first LGBTQA+ refugee-led organisation. It supports LGBTQA+ people seeking asylum, refugees and migrants from non-Western countries to be safe in Australia. Data on LGBTQA+ refugees is scarce and very much needed to ensure adequate support and services are available.

Thank you Oriana Choir!

The Sunshsine Coast Oriana Choir have donated a % of ticket sales from their three July concerts to Buddies. Choir members Kendall and Yokki also held a produce stall at one of the concerts and raised $500, given to the Nambour Community Centre to support Ukrainian families here on the Coast.

We pretend there has been change under Labor but hundreds of refugees are still in detention

By Behrouz Boochani
"The return of the Nadesalingam family to Biloela was one of the first acts by the new Labor government in Australia. Happy snaps and footage of the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, and some of his ministers with the family were splashed all over the media. The release of the family was widely welcomed and celebrated by the public.
     "Without a doubt, the Nadesalingam family were victims of a cruel policy by the Liberal government, and their return to the home they had been snatched from should be celebrated.
    "But we need to look at the wider picture. On the one hand Australia jails asylum seekers and on the other hand releases them into a so-called normal life."

$3million a month – the cost of locking up sick refugees in a city motel


What will happen to the asylum seekers who Australia refused to let in?

Staffing costs alone at Melbourne’s Mantra Bell City amounted to $2.5 million for one month. It costs $4429 a year to accommodate a refugee in the community on a bridging visa.
    The threat of protests deterred the hotel sector from bidding for detention contracts. Details are contained in Serco and Border Force documents from the Federal Court.
    Taxpayers stumped up about $3 million a month to lock up sick refugees at just one of dozens of sites across the country used as makeshift detention facilities.The Mantra Hotel was selected as a temporary detention facility in 2019 to accommodate dozens of refugees and asylum seekers rushed to Australia for emergency medical treatment from Nauru and Port Moresby.
Years after the Manus Island detention centre closed, more than 100 men from the centre are still in PNG and still uncertain about their futures.
    Mehrdad Memarbashi and his family rarely leave their Port Moresby compound after a terrifying home invasion and robbery at their previous accommodation last year.
    Mehrdad, 39, is an asylum seeker from Iran and lives with his PNG wife Marie Resson, 25, and 16-month-old daughter Mania in the capital.
    Current Australian government travel advice warns PNG is a dangerous place, especially during elections. Their new compound has a security guard and a newly arrived guard dog after they raised fears about being unsafe.

Why I am suing the  government over my hotel detention after being brought from Manus

by Mostafa Azimitabar
"Medevac was supposed to give us access to healthcare but forced our bodies into small hotel rooms that we could not escape.
    ‘I was in a room for 15 months. We are fighters, and yet we were punished for this with the weapon of politics when we arrived.’
For eight years, I felt the invisible sword of the Australian government piercing between my eyes with the message: “You are illegal, you are illiterate.”
    Trauma is like having a blade inside of you, but you can’t find where it is. I find healing instead through connecting with people and fighting for justice. Which is why I am taking this case to court to show that I have a choice but also to bring kindness back to Australia – to show that I appreciate the connection that I have with good Australians."

 Refugees live in destitution in Indonesia: Years of limbo and suffering


Visa decisions can vary depending on which judge an asylum seeker gets

There are approximately 13,700 refugees currently stranded in Indonesia, unable to access any form of durable solution. More than half of them – about 7,600 – are refugees from Afghanistan who are mainly ethnic Hazara, The rest are refugees who have sought protection from Somalia, Iraq, Myanmar, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Yemen, Palestine, Iran, Pakistan, Eritrea and Ethiopia.
    For the vast majority the country was only ever intended to be a transit point for them en-route to a final destination in a third country.
    However, most people have found themselves stranded due to a lack of pathways to safety. Indonesia has not proved to be a transit country, as most of these refugees have spent more than eight years there.
When a person flees their country in fear, it can be a matter of life or death. So when they seek protection in Australia, the stakes can be just as high.
    Yet new data reveals decisions about protection visas in Australia’s courts and tribunals vary greatly based on factors including which judge or tribunal member is deciding the case and whether the asylum seeker has a lawyer.
    Data from the Kaldor Centre looks at key steps in the legal process, covering both the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and judicial review by the Federal Circuit and Family Court. It  provides unprecedented insights into refugee decision-making in Australia, and raises important questions about fairness and consistency in the system that determines the fate of people seeking asylum.

Afghan women learn to swim and drive as they adjust to Australian life

Ten months after arriving in Australia from Afghanistan, Rabia Johini has taken on a new challenge – learning to swim. The 32-year-old, who left Afghanistan after the Taliban took over, had never stepped foot in a pool until last month, when she joined a program that offers free swimming lessons to newly-arrived Afghan women in Sydney’s west.
    More than 40 women have participated in the program, which is run by non-profit community organisation Afghan Women on the Move (AWOTM).
    Weekly classes are held in a public indoor pool with female swimming instructors. The women wear matching colourful burkinis and tie-dye swimming caps, given to them as part of the program. AWOTM founder and director, Maryam Zahid, said it provided a culturally safe space for the group.
Thank you to Nina Ashfield Crook, Gillian Duffy, Kendall Snowden, Kayla Szumer, Lynda Utting, Lesley Willcoxson  and Diana Woolley for their contributions to this edition.
DEADLINE FOR CONTRIBUTIONS: 5pm second Wednesday of the month. Next Bulletin 9 September
Please send contributions for the newsletter to the editor. 

WEBSITE: Wendy Oakley

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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