Save The Medevac Bill
Watch Dr Barri Phatarfod explaing why saving the Medevac Bill is so important
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP SAVE MEDEVAC
Write (or email) directly to:
Your own Federal MP (especially if they are LNP) – find your MP at https://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Members
Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton - https://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Parliamentarian?MPID=00AKI
The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison https://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Parliamentarian?MPID=E3L
The Immigration Minister, David Coleman - https://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Parliamentarian?MPID=241067
Any (or all) QLD LNP Senator (also any QLD One Nation Senator, as they are likely to vote with the Government – find senator's details at https://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Guidelines_for_Contacting_Senators_and_Members/los
And/or ring the above a few days afterwards, mention your letter and tell the lovely people (yes, they are!) who work in their electorate offices how important it is to you that this legislation is retained and that it is critical this is passed to the MP/Minister/Senator– or visit if the office is local to you!
Sign and share a petition: https://www.hrlc.org.au/save-medevac also https://www.asrc.org.au/savemedevac/ also https://action.refugeecouncil.org.au/save_medevac?_ga=2.128537036.1175237160.1572686846-1590456237.1572686846
Useful references to help in your communications
The Refugee Council
Medevac saves lives.
It should be doctors,not politicians, making decisions about life-saving medical treatment for refugees on Nauru and Papua New Guinea.We know Medevac works, now we must save it.
SUSPICIOUS MOTIVES BEHIND PNG REFUGEE MOVES
Refugee advocates are concerned at recent moves to shift refugees and asylum seekers out of the Granville Motel.
On Tuesday 22 October, so called “negatives” at Granville were put on buses to be taken to Citi Apartments (photo attached). On 15 October, refugees who have been accepted for resettlement in the US were taken from Granville to the Hodava hotel.
“We are very concerned that there is an ulterior motive to separating refugees and spreading them around various hotels. It is fragmenting everyone who has lived and supported each other on Manus Island into smaller groups – leaving them more vulnerable,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition. “We are also concerned about shifting the negatives to Citi is a step to an even more punitive regime,” said Rintoul, “Last time asylum seekers were at Citi, their movements were severely restricted and visits were limited. Asylum seekers were also arrested from there and taken to the Bomana detention centre, on 23 September.”
Fifty-three men were arrested and taken to Bomana detention and with no access to phones or legal support. They are also denied visits. The International Committee of the Red Cross has been allowed access to Bomana just once, while the Australian Red Cross is still excluded. .Six have been released after signing to “voluntarily” return to their home countries. Nothing has been heard of the remaining 47.
“It is clear that Bomana detention is being used to coerce asylum seekers to return home,” said Rintoul, “To hold them without phone or legal access is a blatant denial of fundamental human rights and against the PNG constitution.
“We are demanding access rights for them and for them to be released. Even the Australian government no longer routinely uses indefinite detention to force asylum seekers to return. The Australian government is enforcing a level of brutality that it knows it would not get away with in Australia. It is time to end offshore detention.”
Press Release:Ian Rintoul , Refugee Action Coalition,22nd October 2019
Australian Refugee and Asylum Seeker Organisations
where you can get the most up to date information and which need your help
Australian Refugee Action Network
The Asylum seeker Resource Centre
Australians raise over $110k to resettle
PNG and Nauru refugees in Canada
Brisbane Organisations need your help
and in particular, financial donations
The Romero Centre
The Brisbane Refugee & Asylum Seeker Support network
Indooroopilly Uniting Church Asylum Seeker and Refugee Support Group and Form Filling Clinic - Read Further:
For more than five years volunteers, pro bono lawyers, migration agents, and JPs have assisted people seeking protection from persecution, to complete complex immigration forms. We refer some asylum-seekers to the Refugee & Immigration Legal Service (RAILS), LawRight, & Salvos Legal Humanitarian. Thankfully, the Queensland Government allocated $3.5M for 2019-20 to fund the Asylum Seeker and Refugee Assistance Program (ASRA) - an emergency relief, case coordination, basic safety-net under those men, women and children who came by sea to seek asylum, labelled the ‘legacy caseload’. The “Indro Hub” is one of 8 organisations which support vulnerable, now destitute people. We are members of the Brisbane Refugee Asylum Seeker Support (BRASS) network and work collaboratively to support the most vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees (on temporary visas) we have ever known. They include people who are now cut off from all income support and Medicare. We work with Red Cross, QPASTT, Romero Centre, Communify & World Wellness Health and Medical Clinic & an on-arrival support group for the traumatised people now coming from Nauru and PNG.Unjust policies must be resisted as we work together to build a society where all people can live in peace and hope. Punishing people who have done no wrong is not just. Political rhetoric which serves to demonise people seeking asylum, particularly those who came by sea, contributes to injustice. End the suffering, we say. Seeking asylum is legal .Sadly, for these people six years of poverty has become destitution. (Ask - we can explain). Our unique form filling help is complemented by practical support through our food pantry for people in need. It is in effect, only a top up to the emergency relief income now distributed by Red Cross through the ASRA Program.
Further info : Asylumcircle : Asylum Seeker and Refugee Assistance
We selectively pass on some donations of quality clothing, blankets, household goods. Together with Mums4Refugees, other generous community groups & individuals, we support families with newborn babies (These babies are not automatically recognised as being Australians).
We appreciate donations of FOOD (basmati rice, cooking oil, toiletries). Volunteers collect fresh food from Food Bank every Thursday, but the growing need far outstrips food donations. We know it restores some dignity to people when they can buy what they really want and need. Sanitary products, shampoo, shaving cream and razors, underwear, socks, babies’ nappies, fruit, vegetables, eggs...Also $50 Vouchers (Aldi/ Coles/Myer/ Kmart/ Woolworths) , GOCARDS for essential public transport to doctors, official appointments, Red Cross, & for keeping in touch with friends. For dignity, we recommend donations :
Acct. Name : Indooroopilly Uniting Church
Reference:Refugee Support/BSB 034 063/Account No. 510 468
Please always check what's needed by contacting:
Freddie 0458 firstname.lastname@example.org
Indooroopilly Uniting Church Asylum Seeker & Refugee Support Group 74 Station Road, Clinic hours: Thursdays and Saturdays 2-5pm
Contacts ∙Tel 07 3878 9535 (church Office) Worshipping on Turrubal / Yagara land
URGENT : On Arrival Response Group
The men on PNG and the people on Nauru are slowly arriving into Brisbane. They are being met by the On Arrival Response Group and arrive in very poor health. These highly vulnerable people have very limited money, and not much in the way of clothing. The On arrival Response Group is kept very busy trying to respond to their needs. The top priority for the group is to give the new arrivals a SIM card and an initial balance top-up. This is to keep people connected to lawyers and family, but this balance runs out very quickly, and many have no resources to do subsequent top-ups.
The volunteers are in urgent need of funds to keep up with an increasing flow of people. Their arrival from the tropics is a shock and they are all really feeling the cold. Financial donation are preferred to material donations,which can be used to buy cheap clothing and footwear in bulk.
Financial donations are greatly appreciated, and Mums 4 Refugees have a sub-account specifically to aid the new arrivals
Account Name : Manus Arrivals
(Please indicate that it is specifically for Manus and Nauru arrivals)
BSB : 064229
Account No. : 10091415
Any help, small or large is greatly appreciated. Some of you may know of small groups looking for a project to support. Please pass the word around to friends and groups you may know of. Any help, ideas and suggestions for fund raising would be very welcome
Behrouz Boochani -No Friend But the Mountains:Writing from Manus Prison
Where have I come from?
From the land of rivers, the land of waterfalls,
the land of ancient chants, the land of mountains...
In 2013, Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani was illegally
detained on Manus Island. He has been there ever since.
People would run to the mountains to escape the warplanes
and found asylum within their chestnut forests...
This book is the result. Laboriously tapped out on a
mobile phone and translated from the Farsi.
It is a voice of witness, an act of survival.
A lyric first-hand account. A cry of resistance.
A vivid portrait through five years of incarceration and exile.
Do Kurds have any friends other than the mountains?
Everyone has been moved off Manus Island
All remaining Asylum seekers and Refugees have been transferred off Manus Island to The PNG Mainland. Many are being held at The Bomana Detention Centre on the outskirts of Port Moresby .The others are housed in hotels or are inpatients at the hospital.Those particularly at The Bomana Detention Centre are being prevented from talking to lawyers and doctors, blocking them from medical evacuation to Australia approved under new medevac laws.
David Manne, the executive director of Refugee Legal, told a Senate inquiry on September 2nd that he had lost contact with one client who had been approved for urgent evacuation weeks ago but was then detained at the Bomana detention facility in Papua New Guinea.
Sara Townend, a doctor who has set up the process for medical assessment of people in PNG and Nauru, told the legal and constitutional affairs committee that two or three more were approved for evacuation after their detention and 33 have applications in progress, a “large number” of who would be eligible for evacuation.
Townend said the 53 asylum seekers detained at Bomana do not have access to their phones and MERGE(The Medical Evacuation Response Group) does not have a central phone number to have “approved communications” with them.
Manne said the inability to contact his client was a matter of “profound concern”.
“Being detained after his approval for medical transfer is not only putting him in an extremely dangerous situation, but is also frustrating the ability to make good the decision … for evacuation,” Manne said.
Home affairs department officials told the inquiry that Papua New Guinea had refused one man’s medical transfer, citing the fact it's medical services disagreed they were unable to treat him.In it's submission, the home affairs department urged parliament to pass the Coalition’s bill to repeal the medevac provisions, claiming provisions which give clinicians a greater say in the medical transfers undermine regional processing and impinge on the sovereignty of Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
Pip De Veau, general counsel at the department, said the blocked transfer “highlights the sovereignty point” because it showed Australian doctors can order a transfer that “can’t be given effect to because of the laws of another nation”. Nauru has a record of blocking transfers under the administration of President Baron Waqa. (Waqa lost his position on August 25th following The Nauru General Election.His replacement , Lionel Aingimea , an independent, will be keenly watched to see if he governs with more accountability.)
At the hearing, doctors responsible for the new medical transfer provisions rejected claims by the department that asylum seekers are resorting to self-harm because it is the most “expedient” way out of detention.
Kerryn Phelps – a doctor and former independent MP – told the inquiry that people in detention “are suffering, they’re not trying to make a point, they’re trying to kill themselves because they’ve lost hope”.
The department reported that “since late 2018, and through 2019, there has been an upwards trend in the number of self-harm related incidents amongst the Papua New Guinea cohort”.“Notably, self-harm incidents increased during the parliamentary debate on the [medevac provisions], and more significantly since the Australian federal election,” it said.“Of the 72 transitory persons transferred to Australia under the [medevac provisions], 39 had undertaken an act of self-harm and 19 had threatened self-harm since the implementation of the Act.”
Neela Janakiramanan, a Melbourne surgeon and one of the leading doctors implementing the medevac provisions, reported results of an audit of 581 people in detention that found that 97% have significant physical health issues and 91% have serious mental health issues.
Mental health has “normal ebbs and flows”, she said, but there “is absolutely no evidence of an increase of self-harm behaviour since the implementation of the medevac bill”. Between 1 March, when the new law came into force, and the election in mid-May rates of self-harm were “actually extremely low”.
Janakiramanan said doctors had met the department in May and “identified that a Liberal win would destabilise the population of people who were overseas because of concerns that an ongoing Liberal government would not progress their applications for resettlement in a timely fashion”.
The home affairs submission rejected claims that it had been “legally compelled to transfer persons from Nauru and Papua New Guinea to Australia to receive necessary health care” before the medevac provisions.It cited more than 1,300 transferred under pre-existing provisions, compared to 112 under the new rules.
Refugee and legal groups including the Human Rights Law Centre, Kaldor Centre and Refugee Legal described the previous system as “inadequate”.
Graeme Edgerton, the deputy general counsel from the Australian Human Rights Commission, said from 2015 there was a “sharp reduction” in medical transfers to Australia as a result of a new policy to send asylum seekers to third countries instead.
Since March 2018 the federal court had ordered medical transfers in 96 cases and a further 220 people were transferred after threats of legal proceedings, he said.
Edgerton said that 536 people were brought to Australia in 2018-19 and “approximately 60% were transferred due to actual or prospective litigation”, which “strongly indicates” the previous regime was not sufficient to ensure proper care.
Ed Santow, the Australian Human Rights commissioner, told the inquiry the repeal bill would “significantly limit” refugees’ and asylum seekers’ “right to the highest standard of physical and mental healthcare”.
Phelps and Santow both cited the case of Hamid Khazei, who died after delays and errors caused when the home affairs department refused a medical transfer for his leg infection.
OPERATION #NOT FORGOTTEN
Australians have raised well over $110,000 to relocate refugees stranded on Manus Island and Nauru to Canada, as part of a project launched by a Syrian refugee who knows all too well what it's like to be stuck in limbo.
Hassan Al Kontar was stranded at a Malaysian airport for more than seven months last year before being granted asylum in Canada.
Now he wants to offer the same for hundreds of refugees who are languishing in PNG and on Nauru as a result of the Australian Government's refugee policies, which have been repeatedly slammed as "cruel" by human rights groups.
His months-long stint at the Kuala Lumpur terminal was marked by gruelling uncertainty.
"I can't claim that I know exactly what they are going through," he told the ABC.
"But I know what it means to lose hope, and to gain hope again."
Last week, he launched Operation Not Forgotten — a project to sponsor some 200 refugees stuck on Nauru and in PNG.
It aims to raise more than $3.68 million to privately sponsor the refugees — $18,400 per refugee — to resettle them in Canada and support them for the first 12 months.
More than $220,000 has been raised so far — with more than $110,000 coming from Australians.This is amazing,as the crowd funder was only launched in August 2019!
"It's a matter of obligation to me. People helped me at the time I was at the airport," said Mr Kontar.
He said he was contacted by refugees on Nauru and in PNG during those months, and that he was also confronted by Australian border force ads on YouTube warning refugees not to come to Australia.
-Operation #NotForgotten aims to sponsor 200 refugees
-Nearly $300,000 has been raised to resettle the refugees in Canada
-A Syrian refugee left in limbo for months in Malaysia is spearheading the fundraiser
This article is By Erin Handley and featured c/o ABC on 14th August 2019
Local Councils are urging The National
Government to stop cutting benefits for people seeking permanent protection in Australia
SRSS Cuts – Back Your Neighbour Campaign
SRSS stands for State Resolution Support Services , which is the Federal Government Program that supports vulnerable migrants who are waiting for the government’s decision on a visa application, including people seeking asylum
The 'Back Your Neighbour Campaign' is an initiative by the City of Greater Dandenong,in Melbourne , and now nearly 20 other local councils have signed on to support this campaign, together with a similar number of community service and other advocacy organisations. We are keen to hear from you about any initiatives which your local council is supporting – or any ideas about what you think local councils could do to assist people affected by the SRSS cuts.
See further information:
Send postcards to the PM at