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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 massginfo@gmail.com.

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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 happening?

MASSG Theatre Night

Our next Theatre Night will be on Wednesday 27th February, with the Heidelberg Theatre Company production of

LOST IN YONKERS

written by Neil Simon

Lost in Yonkers

Set in Brooklyn, 1942, this Pulitzer Prize-winning play is a heart-warming testament to Simon’s brilliant talent.  And of course there will be MASSG’s famous interval supper.

Click here to book

Click here to download our theatre night flyer and send it around to your friends and networks.

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Current issues

As the pressure mounts on the Australian government to resolve the humanitarian crisis of offshore detention, the KidsoffNauru campaign won at least temporary evacuation of almost all children – but conditions for the children and families brought here are entirely unclear with evidence that those transferred are not guaranteed medical attention.

Meanwhile, those families and adults remaining on Nuaru and Manus are at risk of being forgotten. The Urgent Medical Treatment Bill passed in the Senate, despite Dutton’s claim that Labor was undermining security by putting decisions in the hands of radical doctors.  But it got no further, forced out of the schedule by a Government terrified of defeat on the floor in the preChristmas parliamentary chaos. Read the scathing account by Daniel Webb here.

It will now come before Parliament in 2019. You can add your voice to the demand that members back the bill – click here for details and advice on calling your member of parliament.

The ASRC calls for end to the failed inhumane policy of offshore processing and fair treatment of all people seeking asylum. And so do we.

 Labor’s asylum seeker policy: are you confused?

The Federal ALP conference is over, marble tombstones reminded delegates of Labor’s role in the deaths of men on Manus and Nauru, but as we feared, the prospect of winning government overroad many issues of asylum seeker policy.  The Campaign Group of MASSG had written to Jenny Macklin MP urging her to support a stronger policy – read the letter here.

The outcome of passed and failed motions was hard to follow, as the Morrison Government flooded the media with other issues. There’s little help on the ALP website.  We’ve written to Andrew Giles, MP, asking for clarification as so many of our members tell us they need to know if they can support Labor electorally. Read the letter here

We’ll publish the response here.  Meanwhile, here is part of our briefing from Rural Australians for Refugees:

“Issues still of concern-

  • Boat turnbacks
  • Offshore – Manus and Nauru
  • No review of failed “Fast-Track” claims.
  1. Re Turnbacks – This spoken of as “rescues” rather than turnbacks. Also, “return to UNHCR processing centres”.
  2. Offshore – The use of the Urgent Medical Transfers Bill should bring many on Manus and Nauru to Australia – not that Labor actually said this.  Labor will accept the NZ offer.
  3. The rejection of the failed “Fast Track” claims is huge concern – but ASRC and others will not give up on this, so maybe  this could be sorted by Labor if they win government but it will require concerted action and lobbying from RAR.
There is also no detail about how the extra 5,000 community sponsorship places would be supported.  Without structure and support, this is not viable, but Labor were talking “Canadian model”, so maybe they’ll make it affordable and with enough infrastructure and community preparation/involvement to make it work.
Overall – Certainly there was a sense of strong support for decency and justice, and to end the outrageous policies of the Coalition – across the entire body of the delegates. “
To read the full summary, and long list of positive policies already committed to by Labor  Click here: ALP CONFERENCE Summary from RAR Thurs 20 Dec

Cuts to STATUS RESOLUTION SUPPORT SERVICES (SRSS)

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.

MASSG congratulated Banyule Council in October, for its stance on the cuts, endorsing the draft joint statement against changes to the srss and joining and financially contributing to the Local Government Taskforce Supporting People Seeking Asylum.

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.

Get involved!

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