The Montmorency Asylum Seekers Support Group (MASSG) aims to support people who have sought asylum in Australia and to defend and promote their right to do so. We do this by assisting individuals in our community, by contributing to organisations supporting asylum seekers (e.g ASRC), by working to raise awareness and compassion within our community, and by campaigning for change in government policies and practices.
To join our mailing list for news and notices of events, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us to discuss Refugee Rights and Dreams of Peace
– a chance to meet and talk with leaders in our field about their work.
Wednesday 17th July 2019, from 6.30pm until 8.00pm
at Earthbound Bolton Café, 266 Bolton Street, Eltham.
Professor Jane McAdam, Director of Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, and her coauthor Fiona Chong, will discuss their new book, Refugee Rights and Policy Wrongs, with David Manne, Executive Director of Refugee Legal. And Mark Isaacs, author of The Undesirables: Inside Nauru and Nauru Burning, will talk about his new book, The Kabul Peace House, which tells the story of inspirational and courageous young Afghani people striving for radical peaceful solutions for co existence and clean environment for their war torn, segmented society.
Our thanks to Eltham Bookshop for organising what should be an amazing evening. There is a special entry charge for students as Mark’s story is inspiring for all young people trying to change the world in new and unthought of ways.
Click here to download the flyer for this event and send it to friends.
Book now for our annual Lunch, 2019
Yes, our famous MASSG fundraising lunch is announced, and yes, we again have a stellar speaker. Julian Burnside has accepted our invitation: the title of his talk is “18 years since Tampa: when will we get it right?” The lunch is on Friday Sept. 6th, from 12.30pm for a 1pm start, at Bridges Restaurant in Hurstbridge. Bookings are now open.
Download the MASSG lunch flyer here and send to your friends.
Have you discovered the “Burnside Conversations”? Following his 2018 film, Border Politics, Julian Burnside and the film’s director Judy Rymer produced a new 15-part web series of his discussions with key thinkers and observers in the asylum seeker debate.. The series is here on Youtube.
Still time to contribute to the
Donations accepted at drop off points until Monday 22nd July.
The three libraries in Banyule have now completed their splendid collections for our joint five-week food drive and we thank the librarians and the citizens who donated gratefully for their efforts.
Donations can still be left at dropoff points until July 22nd.
To donate food, please check the list below of needed items – and drop them off at one of the drop off points across Banyule, and in Eltham and Hurstbridge . We’ll deliver them to ASRC.
Would you rather donate money? Please do! We’ll buy Coles gift cards from all donated money for this drive, and include them in our delivery to ASRC. Donations of more that $10 can be made at MASSG meetings, or online. Our bank details are: BSB 633000 (Bendigo Bank), account #155238520. Just put “Food Drive” in the description.
The donations are to help restock the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s Foodbank, which currently provides meals and food basics to over 700 people seeking asylum and refugees each week, most of whom have no income.
Click here to download the Food drive flyer and send it around to your networks.
6 years too long
– anniversary of detention on Manus and Nauru.
This Guardian article sums up the distress of those on Manus and Nauru following the re-election of the Morrison government. It is an extraordinarily tense time on Manus Island, as refugees and asylum seekers despair at the delays in processing their US resettlement claims, and the lack of any other safe resettlement options. The mental health crisis is acute – more than 90 acts of self-harm and suicide attempts occurred in just 4 weeks since Australia’s federal election in May.
Rally at State Library, Saturday 20 July from 2pm.
MASSG attendees meet at Montmorency station 12.45pm.
SAY NO TO REPEAL OF MEDEVAC!
Go to our Current Activities page for details of the threat to the Medevac legislation and ways you can have your say.
#BREAKING Minister Dutton’s Medevac Repeal legislation has been referred to Senate Inquiry by Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislative Committee. So it can’t pass before November. More here in the Guardian.
From ASRC: The Senate won’t debate Medevac repeal legislation until the Nov sitting period. People can get life saving treatment for 4 more months at least! Small victories. We will keep campaigning to #SaveMedevac from Minister Dutton, to save lives with the human right to medical care and resettlement and freedom for people held offshore. 💪🏽❤️✊🏽😌
Now the election is over…
What does a Morrison Government mean for people seeking asylum?
Here’s a summary from Kon Karapanagiotidis at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
• The continuation of the cruel and unfair “Fast Track” legal process.
• The continued denial for those found to be refugees of permanent protection, with no hope for family reunion.
• Continuing temporary protection visas that will eventually leave up to 16,000 refugees in limbo
• No resettling of men and women on Manus and Nauru, including continuing to refuse the NZ deal; this is combined with a stated commitment to try and overturn the MedeVac law
• Continuing to cut the SRSS safety net for up to 7,000 more people seeking asylum right now
• No access to means tested legal assistance, leaving thousands without legal help.
• No time limits on detention (in Australia) making it possible to detain people indefinitely.
• Freezing Australia’s humanitarian intake.
And our friends at RACS sent this assessment:
This Federal election outcome is of great concern for refugees seeking protection in Australia. Now more than ever, those who face the challenging legal battle to be recognised as refugees, need our help.
People in Australia are facing a lifetime of re-applying for temporary visas over and over again. People in Manus and Nauru continue to have a very uncertain future.
We hoped that today we would be talking about when permanent protection will be introduced; when government funding for legal services might be introduced. Unfortunately, this no longer appears to be a possibility.
What does it mean for MASSG?
Everything we do is now more important – advocacy, volunteering, help for local asylum seekers and importantly fundraising – to build resources for aiding individuals and to add our support to the organisations that provide legal aid and assistance.
Coming up next: for details of all these events, see our Events page:
- Sunday June 16 to Saturday June 22, 2019 MASSG is working with libraries in Nillumbik and Banyule on the month-long food drive for people seeking asylum.
- Our next Theatre Night is July 10th – your chance to hide from reality in a feel-good heartwarming production by Heidelberg Theatre Company.
- Hear Jane McAdam in conversation with David Manne on Wednesday July 17th.
- Our annual fundraising lunch – confirmed date is Friday 6th September. Our last three lunches have hosted as speakers Kon Karapanagiotidis , David Manne, Gillian Triggs… and this year, Julian Burnside. Bookings open July 15th.
What we do
For a quick picture of what we do, go to this report on the 2018 work of MASSG. Our January 2019 newsletter details the ways our fundraising dollars are distributed, and gives reports from the major organisations we support.
What’s been happening?
The election campaign
We tried! MASSG joined with other community groups in Jagajaga and Menzies to plan and host fora for candidates and elevate issues of human rights. You can read here our vision for policy affecting asylum seekers and refugees. It’s unchanged. #Jagajaga Right Track was at the polling booths, handing out “scorecards” for the parties to voters on election day.
In 2001 the Tampa tragedy hit the headlines, and the Australian population learned, for the first time, about the plight of asylum seekers attempting to enter our country by boat. One morning in 2003 a small group of friends met for coffee and soon began discussing the latest news about asylum seekers. These kindly women were horrified that people could come here and go hungry in a land of plenty. They decided to meet monthly and collect non-perishable food which would be given to the Asylum Seekers’ Resource Centre. And so the Montmorency Asylum Seekers’ Support Group was born.
Sixteen years later it still exists……. think for a moment about that. Sixteen years! Over those 14 years, Australia built an indelible reputation for cruelty, selfish rejection of those in need and shameful defiance of international condemnation. And for 16 years the Montmorency Asylum Seekers’ Support Group has spoken out against those policies, lobbied those who make them and helped those hurt by them.