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L4R newsletter - keeping you informed and up to date on our current issues and challenges.
Labor for Refugees New South Wales

24 May 2020

 

Dear <<First Name>>

Our campaign continues

I hope you have been keeping healthy and safe over this long period of restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  It is not over by any means, irrelevant of the NSW government’s move to lift many of these restrictions.  I would urge everyone to remain vigilant.
 

Campaign to close Immigration Detention Centres

 
Zoom has been a lifesaver for some of us and has kept us in touch with each other.  You may recall that at the end of April, Young Labor Left and Labor for Refugees joined forces to hold a Tel-Town Hall Zoom event “Close Immigration Detention Now”.  A motion was overwhelmingly carried urging Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese to demand that the Federal Government release all refugees and people seeking asylum from Detention Centres and APODs (Alternative Places of Detention) and to move them into safe community detention. 
 
We continued this campaign by asking you to send an email with the motion to Caucus members and to add a few words of your own, expressing the urgent need to safeguard the health and safety of these refugees, particularly in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.
 

If you haven’t already done so, please use the following link ALPSenator-MPs-EmailAddresses to access the email addresses for Caucus members and cut and paste them into an email which you can then send together with our motion.

 
The motion reads:
“We call on Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese to demand the immediate release of all refugees and asylum seekers being held in onshore and offshore detention as well as in temporary hotel accommodation.  Asylum seekers urgently need to be moved to safe community accommodation to ensure their health and safety, particularly in the face of the current COVID-19 crisis”
 

Q&A with Senator Kristina Keneally - What is Labor Doing?

You are invited to a Q&A Zoom event.
Date: Tuesday 2 June 2020
Time: 6pm
Location: Zoom
Guest Speaker: Senator Kristina Keneally

 

You will have an opportunity to ask the Senator questions about what Labor has been doing to address the risk that COVID-19 poses to people seeking asylum and refugees in immigration detention. 

 

If you wish to participate, please rsvp by Friday 29 May 2020 using the following link https://forms.gle/RMtgPmasjf6kTnyj8

Please submit your full name and mobile number on the form and include your question.  Kindly limit your question to one so as many people as possible can have their question answered.
 
Those who rsvp will receive a Zoom link prior to our event.

The flyer for this event can be viewed at L4RQ&A2Jun20

 

Refugee Week 2020 "Issues and Perspectives"

To celebrate Refugee Week, Cultural Diversity Network Inc (CDNI) will host a webinar in partnership with Labor for Refugees and Grandmothers for Refugees NSW.  It will take place on Tuesday 16 June 2020 from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

The host will be Linda Sun, Vice president, Cultural Diversity Network Inc.

Panellists are:  

  • Mohammad Rouf founder, Arakan Rohingya Development Association

  • Bilal El-Hayek Deputy Mayor, City of Canterbury/Bankstown

  • Dr Graham Thom Refugee Coordinator, Amnesty International Australia

The flyer can be viewed at RefWkCDNIwebinar

To register, please use the following link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYof 6vqz8jHNSD_idEeyPskNHhLACsp1mf

 


Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention

On the 19 May last, Senator Keneally sent a letter, encouraging people to make written submissions to the Senate Standing Committees on Legal and Constitutional Affairs by the deadline of 11 June.  Labor for Refugees wrote to Senator Keneally expressing our opposition to this Bill and we are currently in the process of making a submission to this Inquiry, opposing the Bill.

Please oppose this draconian Bill by writing to the Committee using the link in Senator Keneally's letter which follows:


Dear friends,

As you might be aware, the Government introduced the Migration Amendment (Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2020 to the House of Representatives last week.

This Bill was first introduced to the last Parliament in 2017, however, the Government never attempted to pass the Bill nor bought it on for debate in the Senate.

At the time, Labor raised concerns about the proposed amendments included in Bill which is why Labor has successfully referred the newly-introduced version of the legislation to the Senate Standing Committees on Legal and Constitutional Affairs for proper scrutiny.

If the Government believes these powers are necessary, they must explain why.
 
I know a lot of people hold very passionate views about this topic and I strongly encourage you and your organisations to make submissions to the Inquiry so they can hear from you directly.
 
The Committee is now accepting written submissions and I encourage you to make a submission here before they close on 11 June 2020.

The Committee is due to report by 5 August 2020 and, as always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further queries.

Kind regards

Kristina 

Kristina Keneally
Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate
Shadow Minister for Home Affairs
Shadow Minister for Immigration and Citizenship
Senator for New South Wales


An extract of our letter dated 19 May, sent to Senator Keneally follows:

Opposition to Migration Amendment (Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2020

"The proposed new powers attempt to redress the lack of authority in the Migration Act by giving the Minister authority to determine that a “thing” including a mobile phone, is a “prohibited thing” in relation to immigration detention facilities and detainees.
 
As you know, people held in immigration detention in Australia are not criminals. They are people seeking asylum or refugees who are being indefinitely detained by this Government. They already have very limited social contact as many are here on their own with families overseas. The use of mobile phones, in particular, enables them to maintain social contact with family and friends. This is fundamental to maintaining the already fragile mental health of people in detention, some of whom have been detained for up to 8 years. The proposition that access to landlines, fax, internet and visitors to these facilities constitutes a suitable alternative is not accepted due to long queues, concerns about privacy and the practicality of such retrograde communication measures. These people have not committed a crime.
The power to take away detainees’ mobile phones constitutes a further deprivation of their remaining liberties.
 
The proposed amendments put forward by The Hon. Alan Tudge MP (on behalf of the Honourable David Coleman MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs), seek to extend the already wide powers of Minister Dutton’s Department of Home Affairs and perpetuate the lie that those people coming to our country to seek asylum are criminals."

 
 

Bridge for Asylum Seekers

Labor for Refugees has on a number of occasions, made donations to worthwhile refugee organisations.  One group doing it tough, is the Bridge for Asylum Seekers (BAS).  We would like to support the BAS in its cause to raise funds by asking you to please consider making a donation.  The Chair of the BAS is also a member of Labor for Refugees and I know from listening to her story, how this organisation nearly had to fold recently, but was rescued at the last minute by a generous donor.  The following is an extract of the most recent BAS newsletter.

Devastating as COVID-19 is, no group among us is suffering more than those seeking asylum.  Already languishing under the Department of Home Affairs’ protracted processing, many have now also lost their jobs, with little to no chance of another. And regardless of them having previously paid taxes, the government refuses to assist most asylum seekers, which is dire for those living without familial support.

NO JOB, NO HELP, NO HOPE

DONATE NOW:  https://asylumseekersfoundation.com/donate/

Including children, currently, 58 asylum seekers depend on Bridge as a shield from destitution.
To date we have assisted 97 people (from 28 countries and including 17 children) — down from last year’s 189. While the number is down the demand remains high and, worryingly, many grants have been redirected or become ‘invitation only’.

So for asylum seekers, COVID-19 has worsened lives and savaged our fund-raising. Thank you for supporting us, we can only continue if you do.
 
Janet Castle, Chair.

 

And please add your voice to the Refugee Council of Australia’s campaign for urgent action, click here: https://action.refugeecouncil.org.au/email_covid_19

 
 

Kind regards

Nizza Siano
Secretary L4R NSW
email:  contact@labor4refugees.com

 

 

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