Guided by Justice and Compassion

  • Report on BMRSG visit to the federal politicians 18 and 19 June 2018

    Report on BMRSG visit to the federal politicians 18 and 19 June 2018

    Joy Connor, Deputy Chair BMRSG visited politicians in Canberra with Marie Sellstrom President of Rural Australians for Refugees. First they met with Peter Dutton’s main advisor and an advisor then they met with Shayne Neumann, Ged Kearney, Sue Templeman and the Advisor to Kristina Keneally.
    At these meetings they discussed Immigration Detention, the use of handcuffs on people seeking asylum when they went to medical and counselling appointments, SRSS, resettlement, The Amendments to the Migration Act, the RAR Statement on People Seeking Refuge and Asylum and the Andrew Wilkie Bill.
    Read more

  • Blue Mountains Refugee Support group holds vigil outside Macquarie MP’s office

    Blue Mountains Refugee Support group holds vigil outside Macquarie MP’s office

    Members of the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group (BMRSG) took their campaign to the Windsor office of Macquarie MP, Susan Templeman, on Thursday, July 19.
    The gathering was part of a national day of vigils held around Australia to mark the deaths of 12 male asylum seekers in permanent offshore detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.
    Twelve empty chairs and 12 pairs of shoes were placed outside Ms Templeman’s office to represent the death of each of the young men. Many of the men, aged between 23 and 34 years old, died from suicide, including overdose and self-immolation.
    The vigils, named ‘Five Years Too Many’, also marked the fifth consecutive year of refugees and asylum seekers being incarcerated in these centres, established on July 19, 2013.Read more

  • Dutton’s Dog Bill is back in the Senate

    Dutton’s Dog Bill is back in the Senate

    Institutionalised brutality has to be challenged.
    Again! Last year we thought that we had stopped Minister Dutton’s plans to allow the use of dogs in detention centres and for officers to have increased powers for strip searches and seizures without warrants. We thought that the Minister of Home Affairs wouldn’t have the arbitrary right to decide what was to be a “prohibited object” in detention centres and would remain answerable to Parliament and the courts for his actions. We thought that people in immigration detention could keep their phones.

    But the Migration Amendment (Prohibiting items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2017 is back.  It is in the Senate to be voted on this session.
    Write to the Independent Members of the Senate.
    Read more

  • Ged Kearney’s maiden speech to the House of Representatives 21 May 2018

    Ged Kearney’s maiden speech to the House of Representatives 21 May 2018

    “That brings me to the issue of asylum seekers, a passionate and emotional issue for the voters in Batman’s community. I think proudly of the great achievements of both sides of this House, of Malcolm Fraser and Bob Hawke, who with bipartisan support provided sanctuary to those fleeing the consequences of war in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and later from the events of Tiananmen Square. …

    I cannot comprehend how a nation that provided a safe home to so many in the wake of World War II, including our large Jewish community of Holocaust survivors, allowed the Tampa and the children overboard scandal to evolve into the shameful policy of indefinite detention on Manus and Nauru. Racist dog whistling has demonised and vilified a community that has everything to give Australia. And the sacrifice of this human potential has been made solely for political gain.Read more

  • Statement on People Seeking Refuge and Asylum

    Statement on People Seeking Refuge and Asylum

    The following statement was initiated by members of BMRSG, under the leadership of Joy Connor at the RAR Conference in Wodonga in April. It was endorsed by the RAR National Conference and endorsed by BMRSG.
    It was designed to be sent to all politicians in the lead up to the Federal election.
    Australia needs to regain its moral credibility by:
    • Recognising people arriving in Australia by using people smugglers are human beings who need help.
    • Ending offshore detention. Resettling in Australia those found to be refugees.
    • Ending mandatory detention of asylum seekers, while allowing for detention if exceptional circumstances are shown. Treating detainees with respect, not as criminals. Not separating families unless exceptional circumstances exist.Read more

  • 2018 Human Rights Dinner keynote address by Behrouz Boochani

    2018 Human Rights Dinner keynote address by Behrouz Boochani

    Standing up for human rights is about picking the battles that are long and exhausting precisely because they are the ones that matter the most.
    Even after five years of misery and oppression, Behrouz Boochani hasn’t given up. So how on earth can any of us?
    As he said in his keynote address via video from Manus island last night at the Annual Human Rights Dinner in Sydney:
    “Our advocacy will be acknowledged as truly valuable and worthwhile only when we can secure the release and safety of the refugees imprisoned on these islands.”
    Never give up. We won’t.Read more