#ToNZ – the next steps

By Monica O’Wheel – COFA Committee Chairperson

Last night I attended Cathy McGowan’s meeting on her national tour, asking us to support the campaign, with Rural Australians for Refugees, to get a resolution for the men who have been detained on Manus Island. It is about taking one campaign at a time. Like getting the Kids off Nauru last year. Then the Medevac legislation. This is the next step.

There is a new government in Papua New Guinea and they want an end to the detention regime. Most of the men have been moved from Manus Island to Port Moresby, 55 are in a wing of a prison, another group are in a hotel and are not allowed out of it and a third group are in hospital.
Right now we want to write letters to our local Liberal members of parliament and Liberal Senators to ask two questions:
– What will it take for the Australian government to accept the New Zealand Deal?
– What will happen to those in Papua New Guinea if we don’t?

Please write a letter or 5 to build the momentum in this campaign. Then follow up with a phone to your local member. 

They are also working on pressuring the Labor Party to take action too.

Please read the email from Rural Australians for Refugees below as they are leading with this campaign.

The push to revive the New Zealand offer to settle asylum seekers currently detained in Papua New Guinea continues, with PNG PM Marape wanting the Australian government to bring the offshore arrangement to an end without this bad policy left perpetually in PNG’s hands. Check the RAR website for the latest information and share on Facebook and twitter the latest action you or your group have taken using the hash tag #toNZ, but also read on …

Following up on the earlier call for emails to senators generally and LNP members, in particular, a kit has been developed which will be distributed separately to member groups and supporters. The actions needed include:
ALP and Greens MPs – now
Anthony Albanese is going to New Zealand. Email your local ALP member to ask to that Albanese request New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern to reissue her invitation to resettle asylum seekers in New Zealand to the Australian and PNG governments.

Email your local Greens Senator and ask them to contact New Zealand Greens MPs to encourage Ardern to renew the offer to re-settle the asylum seekers in New Zealand.

Follow up if you can with phone call to ask for a meeting with your local member/Senator….be polite, persistent, and friendly: build a relationship.
Find your members contact details here

Encourage PNG figures to act – from 27 September
Email (or write to) Prime Minister James Marape and others to congratulate the PNG government on moving the Asylum Seekers from Manus and ask it to consider the offer of the New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern to settle the asylum seekers in New Zealand.

Prime Minister James Marape
Parliament Office
C/-National Parliament, PO Parliament House, WAIGANI, NCD 131, Papua New Guinea
 Ph: +675 3277317
Fax: +675 3277480
Email: jmhulukumaiya@gmail.com

PNG Immigration and Border Security Minister, Petrus Thomas, and the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority.
Email: clientservice@immigration. gov.pg
Petrus Thomas Ph. +675 3277 510
                           Ph. +675 3277 508
                           Fax +675 3277480
PNG ICA.            www.ica.gov.pg
                           Ph.+675 327 6100

PNG High Commission
Email: kundu@pngcanberra.org

We can also email the Catholic Bishops that Australians do not support offshore detention and want the asylum seekers to be settled in a country where they are valued, free and can lead productive lives.

Fr Giorgio Licini PIME, the General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference
Email: cbcgensec@catholic.org.pg

Bishop Rochus Tatamai MSC, President of the Bishops’ Conference
Email: bprochustatamai@gmail.com

Towards a Refugee Protection Bill
Andrew Wilkie will introduce a Refugee Protection Bill on Monday October 21. Its aim is to get the Australian government with the help of the opposition to accept the NZ offer to resettle asylum scurrently in PNG.
RAR is partnering with many other refugee advocacy and support groups to campaign for this bill to be successful! Please read the bill here EM-Refugee Protection Bill and find out more about the activities planned in support
Check https://www.ruralaustraliansforrefugees.org.au/events/ for details of all upcoming campaign events.

Creating a home with the help of a community

Zach was filled with hope on being granted a visa that allowed him to stay in Australia and to rebuild his life in safety. Then he found himself facing another life-threatening challenge of cancer. Surgery and post-operative treatments took their toll, so when an affordable unit came up he was in no shape to find all that was needed for him to settle into his new home.

Alerted by his Caseworker,the Blackwood – Hills and Rapid Response for Refugees Circles joined forces to collect and move in all the essentials on the recent Commonwealth Election Voting Day. This included a bed and side table from a family who were downsizing, whitegoods and sofa from Blackwood Lions, TV, cutlery, crockery, cleaning items and fresh food. Later donations of a floor rug and curtains which were sewn together by a friend of Zach’s added a homey touch to the place.

We are still looking for dining table seating six and a small, comfortable armchair (contact us if you can assist with this). Zach is very happy with his new home. He and Circle of Friends extend a huge thank you to all of you whose interest, donations, goods and cash brought this about.

“Paul*” – An Update

A few moths ago we posted an appeal to support an Asylum Seeker who was without income (read full appeal here). As promised here is and update on his situation. There’s good news and not so good news.

The initial decision was that Paul did have grounds to Appeal his rejection for a Protection Visa. Unfortunately he was again rejected and faces the possibility of return to his home country.

He has one last option which he is exploring currently.

As said previously, Paul is also dealing with a chronic illness which requires ongoing medical supervision. He lives on a budget of only $200 per week. He pays $130 rent, spends $10 on transport and puts aside $60 per week for food. Mobile phone and other costs come from a small emergency payment received monthly from an Aid Agency.

He has been greatly encouraged by the donations made specifically for him since this Appeal was first made. There have been enough, so far, to support him until the end of July. All of the money donated goes directly to his account.

Circle 110 is still seeking donations on his behalf. At present there is no information about a further Appeal but it is clear his precarious situation will continue into August.

As before, all you have to do is use our secure Give Now donation page  with the reference of “110 Paul.”

A huge thank you to all who have contributed so far. You are giving moments of relief and happiness as well as helping with survival.

*name has been changed to maintain privacy and to ensure there are no impacts on his appeal for asylum.

Appeal: Help Paul* remain in his home

The Rapid Response for Refugees Circle (Circle 110) receives a number of referrals from specialised Refugee Support Agencies including STTARS (Survivors of Torture and Trauma Assistance and Rehabilitation Service), Australian Refugee Association (ARA) and the Red Cross for immediate practical assistance and comfort to people who are very vulnerable and in desperate need. We are contacted as a last resort where the Support Agencies can’t find the necessary financial or practical support for clients. So we are aware of the need to provide immediate assistance.

Paul* is one of the people who has been referred to us. At the start of the year he had his application for a refugee visa refused and subsequently had his Centrelink income terminated. Paul is entitled to appeal the visa refusal and is currently doing so. However until the appeal is heard he has to live without any income. This appeal has been postponed by the Government twice now. Our circle has been supporting Paul for the past few months but is now finding it difficult to continue. If you can help please make a donation now using reference of “110 Paul”.

“Paul” who is also dealing with a chronic illness which requires ongoing medical supervision, lives on a budget of only $200 per week. He pays $130 rent, spends $10 on transport and puts aside $60 per week for food. Mobile phone and other costs come from a small emergency payment received monthly from an Aid Agency. Circle 110 has been providing the $200 per week but we are struggling to continue to meet this relatively small amount each week and meet all out other commitments.

We are looking for a few people who can contribute to his support until his appeal in June this year. All you have to do is use our secure Give Now donation page and with reference of “110 Paul.”

If things get better for Paul there will be an immediate update on this site and you can review your donation (subscribe to our News updates to receive email notifications of new news items). Amounts over $2 are tax deductible.

If you would like more information on this case contact us.

*name has been changed to maintain privacy and to ensure there are no impacts on his appeal for asylum.

Urgent Appeal: Afghani Girls Volleyball is in need of funds to play

In order to participate in competition this year, the Afghani Girls Volleyball teams need your support.  They have been up and running for some time, thanks to their dedicated coach, Rasoul Ahmady sourcing most of the necessary funds. However, this year, membership fees are still needed.

We need to raise $2680 to enable 3 teams to play in this 2019 season.

Apart from fitness, participation in sport improves individuals’ social and team skills while exposing young Afghan women to aspects of Australian culture and vice versa, with the consequent breaking down of barriers.
Tax deductible donations can be made via our secure GiveNow account. Please add referene of Circle 110 to ensure funds go towards this appeal.