Refugee issue discomfort
How well informed is the federal member for Corangamite on refugee issues?
On Friday, September 14 in Queenscliff, I asked Sarah Henderson what she was doing to end the detention of the 119 children trapped on Nauru.
She replied that the government was resettling the children and their families in America. This is welcome news especially as there is a nationwide campaign including groups such as the Refugee Council of Australia, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children, The Australian Lawyers Alliance, Oxfam Australia, ACTU, ACOSS, Rural Australians for Refugees and Geelong’s Combined Refugee Action Group seeking the immediate release of the long-suffering children.
Could Ms Henderson please announce the date of the children’s departure for the USA? Or was her statement intended to assuage the electorate and camouflage her discomfort at a cruel government policy no longer accepted by the Australian community?
Organisational efforts misdirected
Nauru refugees are mainly Iranians who flew into Indonesia, stayed at hotels and paid $10,000 each to a people smuggler believing it guaranteed them Australian citizenship.
They are free to roam the island, establish businesses, work for locals, receive excellent medical care, education and facilities and are free to leave the island as long as the destination is not Australia or New Zealand.
Nearly 1,000 people have voluntarily returned to their country of origin. Remember these were “desperate people fleeing death and destruction”, according to Ray Frost.
John Bartlett’s letter (“Playing at semantics”, September 13), talks about a “dramatic escalation of children with symptoms of traumatic withdrawal syndrome”.
Nauru authorities believe the situation is being made worse by activists continually fomenting trouble within the refugee community.
Compare these children (reportedly between 20 to 30) to the millions of children in UN refugee camps who have had the trauma of being bombed, gassed, starved, injured, raped, lost parents as well as having to live in hellholes of camps with little food, medical services or education.
Then there is the worsening epidemic of child sexual abuse in Indigenous communities that goes largely unreported by the popular press.
There are probably a hundred or more organisations in Australia wildly indignant and continually agitating about Nauru children, but how many advocate for UN refugee camp children or Indigenous children? None.
Up to 1,200 boat people died when border protection was removed because of pressure from refugee activists, but they still do not have the decency to feel any remorse for what they did.
Thanks from Foodbank
We would like to say a big thank you to Geelong, Surf Coast and Bellarine residents for their incredible support of Foodbank this winter through the Woolworths winter fundraising appeal.
With demand for food relief outstripping supply, you have significantly helped warm-up winter for some of the most vulnerable people in the community; 16 years and 16 million kilograms of food donated – that is the equivalent to over 30 million meals donated to Foodbank by Woolworths since our partnership began in 2002.
And this winter, thanks to Woolworths customers, that number is growing even larger, providing much needed help to some of the 3.2 million Australians who require food relief assistance each year.
By generously adding so many $2 Foodbank tokens to shopping trolleys, Surf Coast Shire residents helped us reach our national goal of providing 762,948 meals to Australian families in need.
With each $2 token enabling Foodbank to provide four warming meals, Victoria contributed 114,340 meals.
With 40 per cent of food insecure households families having dependent children, the funds raised during the winter appeal have helped struggling families make ends meet.
Thank you once again for your generosity at a time of year when families most desperately need assistance. Woolworths’ aim of supporting the growing need for hunger relief and helping feed millions of Australians in need would not have been possible without your support.
Local Woolworths Group Manager
Community spirit in full bloom
As we wind down and reflect on a successful Daffodil Day last month, I wish to extend heartfelt thanks to all those in the local community who volunteered, donated, purchased daffodils or bought a pin.
We could not have achieved such incredible results without the support of the whole community.
With 90 Victorians diagnosed with cancer and 30 people losing their lives to the disease every day, supporting Daffodil Day has never been more important.
The funds raised through Daffodil Day are already at work, allowing Cancer Council to continue to fund some of Victoria’s brightest researchers and their cutting-edge projects which will lead us to be better able to detect, treat and fight cancer.
We have made phenomenal strides in cancer control, leading us to improve the five-year cancer survival which is now at 68 per cent in Victoria. However, we have much left to do. Cancer Council Victoria is working with a focus to increase survival for low survival cancers through research, including our Forgotten Cancers Project.
Each year we also fund research projects taking place in Victorian hospitals and universities that are working on developing new treatment options for less common and low survival cancers.
Clinical trials are an essential step in translating cancer research findings into improved treatments for patients. Over the past three decades Cancer Council has provided about $20 million in funding for clinical trials through the Cancer Trials Management Scheme.
We want to enable as many people as possible to have access to a clinical trial, including in regional areas, as part of our commitment to extend opportunities to potentially lifesaving cancer treatments to all Victorians.
I encourage anyone interested in clinical trials to visit the Victorian Cancer Trials Link (VCTL) website at cancervic.org.au/trials, or to speak to their treating team.
Thanks to you, this Daffodil Day we were able to raise awareness and funds for investing in gold-standard cancer research, research that could save the life of a loved one in the future. We hope to see you for Daffodil Day in 2019!
CEO, Cancer Council Victoria
Honouring Australia’s peacekeepers
For more than 70 years, Australian peacekeepers have played an important role in providing support and assistance to the international community.
On 14 September each year, National Peacekeeper and Peacemaker Day, we honour the courage and professionalism of Australian service and police personnel who have served in more than 50 multi-national peacekeeping operations since 1947.
While the first Australian Peacekeepers worked as unarmed military observers, bringing violations to the attention of the international community, over time the nature of peacekeeping has evolved to include the management of more complex and multi-dimensional issues.
These have ranged from operations as military observers, providing logistical support, and monitoring ceasefires to landmine clearance operations, supporting democratic elections, providing policing support functions, and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Tragically, 16 Australians have died serving as peacekeepers. This National Peacekeeper and Peacemaker Day, I encourage Australians to respect and honour their sacrifice.
It is also important to remember and reflect on all those who have served in peacekeeping missions, and those who are currently serving in the Middle East UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO), and the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS).
Thank you for your service.
Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Hard right needs to go
Well said Alan, in reference to your letter on September 6 (“Reject the hard right”) in which you highlighted the contemptuous and arrogant behaviour of the Liberal federal politicians.
They seem to assume that the Australian voters will simply forget the embarrassing circus that took place in Canberra.
Scott Morrison, with his new generation slogan says it’s all behind them now, as if the Australian people just imagined it.
He also claims to be on our side, but that’s only if Tony and his ultra-conservative mates approve of him.
If the hard-right flat-earthers and climate-change deniers continue to hold this government to ransom, then our country has a frightening future.
They need to go.