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 read our newsletters, click here.

Refugee Week events

A Refugee Week community Lunch is to be held  on Thursday (21 June),
from 12.30 pm at Greenhills Neighbourhood House,
( Middle Building, Community Drive, Greensborough, Vic 3088 )
Greenhills event
The special guest speaker will be MOHAMMAD ALBEDEREE, Iraqi Asylum Seeker whose name you may remember from 2015, when he was on Manus Island. Now residing in Banyule, he will share his story.
Please bring a plate of food to share.
It’s a free event, but booking required:
And in the city, on Wednesday,
Refugee Legal is hosting a free special event to mark World Refugee Day.

It’s Time: Where to From Here on Refugee Policy?

A high-level panel will address this vital question for our nation and the international community.
Panel members include:
Professor Gillian Triggs, Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Melbourne;
Former President of the Australian Human Rights Commission;
Erika Feller Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow, University of Melbourne;
Former Assistant High Commissioner (Protection), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
David Manne Executive Director and Principal Solicitor, Refugee Legal
Facilitator: Helen Kapalos, Chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission Event details:
Date: Wednesday 20 June 2017 Time: 12.30 to 2.00pm
Venue: Swanston Room, Melbourne Town Hall 90-120 Swanston Street, Melbourne

This is a free event but booking is essential.
Enquiries: For further information about the event
please contact Linda Budd: T: 03 9413 0110 E: linda@refugeelegal.org.au

Labor’s asylum seeker policy: make your voice heard!

The Federal ALP conference is delayed until December, and the Victorian State conference avoided even debating the issues. Mr. Shorten has indicated ‘no interest’ in revisiting boat turnbacks.  But the draft Labor policy now available improves Labor’s stance.  Read the draft policy here and a summary of Summary of MASSG submission on Labor Draft Policy. If you share our hopes for change in Labor policy you can send your message instantly to all Labor Senators and Members of Parliament, using the list we have compiled of their emails. Download our  –Labor parliamentarians email list 2017  – and paste it into the BCC field of your email. MASSG strongly believes the ‘bipartisan’ support for cruel policies to asylum seekers must end, and that Labor must confront the fact that its silence allows those policies to continue. If you agree, tell Labor it’s time for a change.


What is SRSS and why does it matter?  It was a regular payment to assist with basic living costs to asylum seekers in Australia, who are on a temporary visa, and waiting for a decision about their immigration status.  The payment is about 85% of Newstart – really low – but its removal could affect 13,299 people including 4,059 children between 0-17 years of age from 4th June. Information and call to action here.

Processing of the claims has blown out to 2020.  Those who can’t find work are effectively being starved out.  Help will be needed for food, housing, medical expenses, social inclusion and jobs. There is comprehensive information on the RAR Website and Refugee Council of Australia.

What can you do? Write or phone Malcolm Turnbull to stop these changes being rolled out. Sign the RCOA Petition – Aim –  5,000 signatures in 3 months

helpAsylum seeker students losing Centrelink benefits

An urgent appeal has been started to help a group of young Melbourne asylum seekers who have achieved tertiary places but lost all Centrelink support through the latest government move to deprive those on bridging visas of support. Read more here about the appeal and their  situation.  You can contribute to a fund being set up to help students who are being forced to  give up dreams, precious scholarships or fee waiver places.

If you care about the way our government is treating asylum-seekers, this is a concrete step you can take to make sure that these young asylum seekers, despite their trauma and dread of the future, have the opportunity to rebuild their lives and contribute to this society, as they so want to do.

You can donate (with Paypal) here.
Or do a direct bank transfer:  account name is “Youthplus Foundation”. BSB: 064786
Account: 523030100. Ref: LSP  –  to tag your donation to this fund.

For more information, contact Colin Long by email or ph. 0403920361. If you or your group  wish to run a fund raiser, he is willing  to  be a speaker.

Coming up with MASSG

Wednesday July 11th theatre night

Join an MASSG group  to see Heidelberg Theatre Company’s production of Private Lives by Noel Coward. Bookings now open: details here.

Private Lives

August 8th:  launch of book by Kon Karapanagiotidis

Power of Hope

Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM is the CEO and founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. His book, due out in June, will be launched by Eltham Bookshop, supported by MASSG and St Margaret’s Anglican Church Do Justice Group.  Details here.

Click here for the Power of Hope

August 16th: celebrate Behrouz Boochani’s book,

No Friend but the Mountains.

No Friend flyer.JPG


  Keynote speakers Julian Burnside QC and author Arnold Zable.

Eltham Bookshop and Eltham College and Picador partner with MASSG, St Margaret’s Anglican Church Do Justice Group and Diamond Valley Oxfam.  Details here.

Click here to download the flyer and send it to friends


Gillian Triggs is our speaker at lunch September 7th

The annual MASSG lunch will be held this year on Friday September 7th, with Professor Gillian Triggs our guest speaker. No you can’t book yet! Bookings open in July.

         Looking back

Triggs.jpeg the-power-of-good-people_front-cover_28jul17 para_and_alison

Recently in Eltham –  Gillian Triggs launched The Power of Good People, an engrossing new book by Tamil asylum seeker Para Paheer and Alison Corke, who befriended him.  Read a review here of the book.  Eltham Bookshop has copies. Ben Doherty gives a summary of the book here.

“Every Australian should read this book, so they can understand the horrors which cause people to flee…”  Julian Burnside QC, Refugee advocate




Our story

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.

Fourteen years later it still exists……. think for a moment about that. Fourteen 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 14 years the Montmorency Asylum Seekers’ Support Group has spoken out against those policies, lobbied those who make them and helped those hurt by them.

Befriend our Friends! This is what we do.

Cleaning or gardening? Contact Varathan!

Varathan Nagappan has been 11 years in limbo, since he left Sri Lanka, seeking asylum in Australia. He still waits for the results of his visa application, made over 2 years ago.  But meanwhile, he has married and set up his own business, NVS Cleaning Services .

Varathan with van  Varathan gardening

NVS Cleaning Services will do your house cleaning,  carpet steam cleaning, vacate cleaning, office and commercial cleaning, window cleaning. And, yes, Varathan does gardening! When the garden jobs tower over you, his energy, skills and cheerful, courteous help are invaluable! Contact Varathan through his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NVSCleaning/.

Home maintenance? Contact Mahdi!

Mahdi, his wife Samaneh and their baby daughter, are seeking asylum from persecution in Iran. When MASSG introduced Mahdi to David and Julie, owners of a local Montmorency Home Maintenance business, where he started full-time employment. Now, Mahdi has launched his own business, Banyule Maintenance.

Mahdivan  Mahdi and daughter

Mahdi does small maintenance and building projects using his carpentry, plumbing and painting skills. He has also done a number of landscaping jobs including retaining walls and paving. Mahdi would welcome your enquiries on 0469 592 941. Or go to his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/banyulemaintenance/.

When MASSG was asked to help Roya Husseini, a professional dressmaker from Iran, we printed flyers about her work and for many months we collected fabrics donated from our network, which she sewed into lovely cloth bags. Roya is currently training for aged care, but will take orders for custom dressmaking work. View the flyer on her work here: Sewing by Roya. Contact her on 0435417749.

Sewing by Roya   2 April stall 1  Bags by Roya pic

Get involved!