20 February 2019
Dear <<First Name>>
L4R will meet next Wednesday 27 February at Unions NSW (Labor Council) Training Room 1, 377 Sussex St Sydney (near cnr Goulburn St) at 7pm.
PLEASE NOTE THE VENUE AND THE ONE HOUR LATER STARTING TIME OF 7PM.
If you experience an access problem at the entrance when you arrive, please call me on my mobile 0404 532 249.
We did not hold a meeting in December but sent out a newsletter, reporting on the outcome of the December ALP National Conference, specifically re the refugee policies that were adopted. To recap this information, I recommend you read our latest one page leaflet L4RNSWLeafletFeb2019
The minutes of our November meeting were also included in our December newsletter but in case you missed them and wish to know what discussions took place at our last meeting, they are available again via the following link L4RMin27Nov18
I know that many of us work hard emailing politicians, writing letters to newspapers and signing petitions in our endeavour to advocate for the fair treatment of refugees, but I want to name just a couple of our outstanding L4R NSW members who never give up trying.
One of them is Larry Vincent, who amongst many of his other activities for refugees, keeps bombarding politicians with his appeals on behalf of refugees. Just as an example, I have reproduced his latest letter of the 31 January 2019, to PM Scott Morrison about the recent tragic and avoidable suicide of a refugee at the Villawood Detention Centre. It follows.
Dear Mr Morrison
Re Suicide by “Musa”, a 33 year-old refugee from Sierra Leone
“Musa”, a 33 year-old refugee from Sierra Leone suicided on 25 January 2019 at the Villawood Detention Centre.
The cruel and inhumane treatment by the Australian Morrison Government that uses our taxes to operate the detention centres must bear some responsibility.
Why does the Morrison Government continue to treat refugees and people seeking asylum with contempt?
Where is the justice and what future is there for these people?
Three detainees were arrested by Serco security in the early hours of Saturday morning, and are being kept in punishment isolation cells inside the centre.
Detainees are angry at what they see as Border Force and Serco negligence that has led to Musa’s death. Musa’s mental health problems were well established over the many years he was wrongfully kept in detention. But he never got the help that he needed.
‘There must be an immediate independent inquiry into all the circumstances surrounding Musa’s death. The stark reality of long-term detention and Ministerial power has been kept hidden too long. Musa was a humanitarian refugee and could not be sent back to Sierra Leone, but the threats of indefinite detention or removal take a terrible toll. Hundreds of others are in detention in similar circumstances; they should be released." said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
Please take action now to release all those who are refugees and people seeking asylum from detention.
I hand delivered cards to your office at Cronulla asking to have the remaining refugee children removed from Nauru. No acknowledgements or replies were ever received.
Can you advise if any refugee children remain on Nauru?
Kind regards, Larry Vincent
The other L4R member I wish to mention, is Sabrin Farooqui who is incredibly busy representing her Bangladeshi community in Sydney. She is involved in a multitude of community activities, yet has found time to lobby Labor politicians about the persecuted Rohingya refugees, whose plight she has witnessed first hand in refugee camps in Bangladesh, when she has made her numerous visits there.
Sabrin also recently visited a number of ALP politicians in Canberra, in the hope of getting support for family reunions for some of those Rohingya refugees whose families live in Australia.
There are many hurdles to overcome, especially under this Coalition government and her hope is, that her advocacy will receive a much more sympathetic reception, when Labor forms Government in May this year.
L4R supports Sabrin's endeavours and we plan to hold an event to highlight this important issue.
These two dedicated L4R members are just two excellent examples of how our members never give up but I'm certain there are many other L4R members doing their best to improve the lot of refugees, especially those refugees for whom Australia is responsible.
Just in case you lose heart about the Labor Party reneging on its commitment to bring refugees to Australia, that is, those who are deemed by doctors to require urgent medical treatment, our L4R National Co-convenor Robin Rothfield, sent a text to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on Wednesday morning, expressing concern that the ALP appeared to comply with Morrison's move to send these sick refugees to Christmas Island for treatment, instead of to Australia.
Robin's text said “surgery not available on Christmas Island.”
To Robin's surprise, Bill rang him and said that he had been misquoted. He also said that the Government was stirring the pot.
Robin then asked the Opposition Leader, "if you win the forthcoming election in May, will you do the right thing by asylum seekers?". Bill replied “of course we will!"
Morrison is desperate to win votes in the forthcoming federal election and is attempting to create fear and confusion amongst the Australian community, particularly about the recent Medevac Bill.
We need to reassure the Australian community about the intention of this Bill and dismiss this fear-mongering by a failing government, on its last breath, grasping at straws.
Shame on Morrison, shame on Dutton and shame on the Coalition.
I hope to see you at our meeting next Wednesday evening.
Secretary L4R NSW