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.
Refugees star at White Night
For Melbourne’s White Night, the National Gallery of Victoria in St Kilda Rd. turned its water pool into a beautiful sea of candles and its great wall into a screen for the images and voices of refugees from the interviews and book by Behind the Wire. Thousands heard their stories. (And thousands more have seen the superb photographic wall in the NGV’s Triennial display – Wilson must go.)
And St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral contributed its own clear message:
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
Another year of ASRC’s work
Scan the ‘year in reflection’ message from ASRC to check out the range of their aims and actions. We’re proud to support them.
The ABC has published documents from 2014 that show Mr Morrison agreed that the nation’s domestic spy agency should delay security checks to try to prevent asylum seekers already granted refugee status from being granted permanent protection visas. The Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) said the minister’s direction had showed an “utter disregard for the law”, and torn families apart. David Manne, from Refugee Legal, has said legal challenge is not being ruled out. “Because at the end of the day, the evidence points to the government improperly interfering with due legal process, with legal obligations it had to hundreds of refugees, and seeking to subvert the law, the ordinary operation of the law in this country to avoid those obligations.”
Over the ‘festive season’, Minister Dutton deported the first of the asylum seekers who failed to meet his arbitrary deadline for visa application of October 1st. A young Tamil, he had had trouble with the massive forms and submitted late – with assistance from the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, he lodged an application for protection during October but was told he had missed the deadline and his claim would not be assessed. He has been returned to Sri Lanka, a move condemned by the UN.
And in the one good news item, the appallingly damaged cartoonist ‘Eaten Fish’ was rescued from Manus by being granted artist’s residency in Norway through International Cities of Refuge Network.
Richard Flanagan has written an eloquent piece you may wish to send around – https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/nov/24/the-shame-of-the-evil-being-done-on-manus-will-outlive-us-all
Now doctors are dangerous. ABC reported that doctors from the international aid organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) were left “frustrated and disappointed” after they were refused entry to Manus Island compounds- by Australia. What would you think of another country refusing entry to MSF? Also on ABC: ‘A group of Australia’s most senior doctors, psychiatrists and surgeons have written an open letter to the Federal Government offering to fly to Manus Island and treat asylum seekers and refugees for free.’ More here. The AMA has demanded access for doctors and other medical services – and been refused.
Speaking out: make your voice heard
We urge you to contact Senators and Members of Parliament to give them your views on the current crisis situation of asylum seekers and refugees in Australia’s ‘care’.
Addresses and emails for senators and members are in pdf files you can download here.
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. They are now shifting on many issues, including the NZ offer to take Manus Is refugees. Let them know voters urge them to shift.
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! Email addresses for all Labor parliamentarians are here. We have written individually to every Labor Parliamentarian. We have received an answer from the Shadow Minister for all of them, and just three bothered to reply individually. Read those letters here.
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 .
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.
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/.
Sewing and dressmaking? Contact Roya!
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.