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.
What you can do to help
With the COVID19 crisis, people seeking asylum are terribly vulnerable, whether in detention centres or in the community. Those in the community without jobs need food and shelter, receive no income support and thousands are excluded form the safety net of Medicare and Centrelink. Helping organisations are less able to source food or funds as the crisis develops. Those in detention desperately need and deserve protection.
We have contacted our Members of Parliament expressing our concern, but there is no sign that the Government is considering the needs of these vulnerable people.
Yes, you can help.
The support groups will be prevented from running food programs and desperately need funds to help. The events we run to raise funds are now prohibited, but money is sorely needed. If you are able to help, please donate directly to ASRC’s STAND WITH US Emergency Cash Appeal. Your donation will be tax deductible.
CLICK HERE to donate to the ASRC’s Emergency Cash Appeal, to ensure the ASRC can continue to provide emergency aid to people seeking asylum during the COVID-19 crisis.
Lend your voice
There is grave concern for detainees, given the risk of COVID19 spreading in the cramped conditions and their often poor health. Recent stories highlight the danger. Watch coverage on The Project here to view the conditions and the risk.
- The overcrowded conditions in detention centres make “social distancing” impossible and there are reports that infection controls are lacking. There is already a case of COVID19 in a detention centre– a guard in Brisbane.
Please read and sign both these online petitions- and share them with your contacts
- The “Safer at Home” petition is asking that detainees be released into the community for the duration of the epidemic. given crowded conditions and weakened immunity. UK has freed detainees for this reason. Australia doesn’t seem to have considered it
- CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS AND TO SIGN.
- The ASRC is urging the government to extend financial assistance and access to services to people on bridging visas. Their petition is calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to introduce emergency measures to protect people seeking asylum and refugees.
- CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS AND TO SIGN.
Thank you for your care and concern for others during these difficult times.
In response to the COVID19 virus risk, MASSG is not currently holding meetings or gatherings. This won’t stop us from our work! The committee will meet online and the day to day efforts of our group continue. They will be reported in our newsletters and messages to our list.
Our AGM, scheduled for Monday 16 March, was cancelled. Go to our meetings page to read reports to the AGM and results of election for the committee.
Want to help the committee?
During this period when we can’t meet in person, we would appreciate any nominations from other members who would contribute to the online deliberations and real continuing work of the committee. To offer to join the committee and help, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us! Our supporters come from across North East Melbourne, and all are welcome.
- Join our mailing list for newsletters and notices of events, and talk about them to your friends.
- To go on the mailing list, email email@example.com.
- Find what’s currently going on by following MASSG on Facebook.
- Offer your support to petitions and projects as they are promoted by us online.
♥ Winter Food Drive
The May Food Appeal for ASRC-
Thanks to all those who contributed to the May Food Appeal, a combined effort of MASSG and the Manningham Uniting Church Connections group. A total of $1,600 was raised- through a combination of food vouchers and donations of non- perishable food. This does not include the donations made directly to the ASRC through their online donation facility.
In 2019, what a result! 80 boxes of donations were 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. And for their offer to come again when we repeat the drive this year!
Thanks too to Banyule Council, for offering storage for food collections.
We’ll be back in 2021 asking for their help.
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.
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?
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.
- Members of the House of Representatives as at 18 Sept 2019
Email addresses – ACT MPs
Email addresses – NSW MPs
Email addresses – NT MPs
Email addresses – Qld MPs
Email addresses – SA MPs
Email addresses – Tas MPs
Email addresses – Vic MPs
Email addresses – WA MPs
- Senators as at 18 Sept 2019
Email addresses – ACT Senators
Email addresses – NSW Senators
Email addresses – NT Senators
Email addresses – Qld Senators
Email addresses – SA Senators
Email addresses – Tasmanian Senators
Email addresses – Victorian Senators
Email addresses – WA Senators
- Members of the House of Representatives as at 18 Sept 2019
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 Café, Nature’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.
What did a Morrison Government mean for people seeking asylum?
Here’s the postelection summary from Kon Karapanagiotidis at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre – back in May. Nothing to change in this list.
• 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 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.
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.