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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.

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Join us! Our supporters come from across North East Melbourne, and all are welcome. There are many ways you can contribute.

  • Join our mailing list for news and notices of events, and talk about them to your friends.  To go on the mailing list, email massginfo@gmail.com.
  • Find what’s currently going on by following MASSG on Facebook.
  • Come to our meetings, held every month. Details here. Everyone welcome.
  • Donate buttonYou can add to our support for local asylum seekers and our donations to the organisations providing needed food, aid and legal resources for asylum seekers.
  • Donations can be direct deposited to MASSG bank account: BSB 633000 (Bendigo Bank), account number 155238520. Please write “donation” in the description.

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What we do

For a quick picture of what we do, go to this report to our annual lunch on the work of MASSG in 2019. Our January 2019 newsletter details the ways our fundraising dollars are distributed, and gives reports from  the major organisations we support. Our monthly newsletter keeps you up to date with local news and campaigns.

Do you want regular news updates on issues of refugees and asylum seekers?

Several not-for-profit organisations supporting people seeking asylum and refugees now provide excellent and frequent news updates with links to detail.  You can get a regular email by subscribing.

Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law emails an excellent ‘weekly news roundup’ bulletin with headlines and links to 1200 subscribers. View them, and subscribe to receive them, here.

Buddies, an RAR group in Qld, emails illustrated, detailed weekly bulletins.  View and subscribe here.

ARAN Recent News page –  very thorough and current list of topics and links to stories this week.

Do you want to send your message to parliament?

New!  Do you need to send a message to your elected representatives, (even, for a special campaign, to all of them?  Or to all from one party?) It’s a strangely difficult task to gather their contact details from the official aph.gov.au website.

So MASSG volunteers have done the work for you –  collating members’ and senators’ websites and email addresses, for each state and territory.  And the Australian Refugee Action Network has posted all those lists for easy access by citizens wishing to contact their elected representatives.  Just click on the list you want for your message. To send email to all addresses, just copy the list at the end of that page and paste into the ‘To’ field.

NB Some MPs and Senators now use a contact form and have no public email address. We have used the standard format for their emails in the lists below, but take no responsibility if the email bounces.  If you control-click on the member’s name you should be able to access their contact form.

What we’ve done lately

The MASSG fundraising lunch was held on Friday Sept. 6th.  It raised over $5,000, paid in donations to Human Rights Law Centre and Refugee Legal.

Our thanks to Julian Burnside, our guest speaker, for sharing his experiences and his thoughts about the long history of asylum seeker policy, and when we will “get it right’.

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Warm thanks to our music-makers, Gada, from the Oromo people of Ethiopia, and to Banyule City Council for their support with a Community Grant for entertainment.

And thanks to all who donated the amazing range of raffle prizes offered  – and to our guests for their support and donations. Click here for the list of our 2019 Raffle prize donors – please support them and thank them.

Our Long Winter Food Drive

What a result! 80 boxes of donations delivered 6 August to ASRC. The delivery was donated – and ever so professionally and efficiently conducted – by Man with a Van. Our thanks and admiration for the commitment of this company to helping those most in need – including those helped by the ASRC. We have also delivered $1835 of food orders and 4  $50 Coles vouchers to ASRC from the cash donations during our Food Drive.

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Networks at work

MASSG works with other likeminded groups in our area. During the 2019 election campaign we were one of nine groups organising candidates’ meetings. Our drive for the ASRC Foodbank was initiated and supported by three Banyule libraries. Collections were made by three Churches – St. Margaret’s Church, Eltham, Eltham-Montmorency Uniting Church and Manningham Uniting Church – and at Eltham Preschool at three local food havens – Earthbound Bolton CaféNature’s Harvest, and Hurstbridge Deli & Larder and at the ever-helpful office of Vicki Ward, MP.   We thank them all for their work and their assistance.

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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.

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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.

Sixteen years later it still exists…….and reaches way beyond the suburb of Montmorency. 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.

Get involved!