Refugee Action Collective (Vic)

Free the refugees! Let them land, let them stay!

Archives August 2013

Live Wire for Refugees 24hr speak out at Federation Square starting 12pm Sat Aug 31

12pm Sat Aug 31 – 12 pm Sun Aug 31 – Federation Square

We encourage people to come in person, but you can watch live on the web here 



help us with funding


LIVE WIRE FOR REFUGEES: A 24 hour non-stop community speak-out for refugee rights
St Paul’s Court, Federation Square, Melbourne
Noon to noon: Sat Aug 31 – Sun Sept 1st

This event commits to reclaiming the conversation around asylum seekers in the lead-up to the September 7 federal election, and it’s going to do it All Night Long.

The PNG ‘solution’ and Australia’s current policy direction on refugees contravenes the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention. Nowhere does the Convention allow for the “outsourcing” of obligations to protect and settle asylum seekers, nor does it allow for discrimination on the basis of arrival methods. This Refugee Convention was drafted as a response to the displacement of millions of people by World War Two and the refusal of many nations to take in Jewish refugees escaping the Holocaust. It’s designed to ensure that vulnerable people, escaping persecution, are not turned away. Australia ratified this convention in 1954: now both major Australian political parties seek to effectively defy it.


Rudd’s PNG ‘solution’, backed by Tony Abbott, is the logical conclusion of the ‘Pacific Solution’ begun by the Howard government. It is no solution for refugees.


Not to be outdone by Rudd’s rightward lurch, Tony Abbott has leapt to new heights of both cruelty and absurdity. Declaring that the 30,000 asylum seekers already in Australia will not get permanent protection, and planning to waste money buying Indonesian boats – it would be more practical, cheaper and humane, to put UNCHR recognised refugees in Indonesia on planes to be resettled in Australia.


The race to the bottom between Rudd and Abbott on refugees has mobilised thousands of refugee supporters around the country, but in the eyes of much of the country (and the world) this opposition has gone largely unseen. So, we need to get talking.
We will be demonstrating the breadth of support for a fair go for asylum seekers, and putting the case to the community that processing and resettling asylum seekers in Australia, with the right to work, would be both cheaper and more humane – a better outcome for all of us.



WHAT: We’re going to brave the frosty Melbourne elements to bring a little warmth back into the refugee debate.


WHEN: Noon Saturday 31 August until 12 noon Sun 1st Sept.


WHERE: St Paul’s Court, Federation Square.


Confirmed speakers and performers include
Father Bob MacGuire
David Manne – Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre
Pamel Curr – Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
Michelle O’Neill – Textile, Clothing & Footwear Union
Jeannie Rea – National Tertiary Education Union
Joffa Corfe – AFL personality
Rebecca Eckard – Refugee Council of Australia
Penelope Swales – Musician
Alex Bhatal – Greens candidate for Batman
Misha Coleman –  Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce
Kate Borland – Public Housing Advocate / Independent
Tinpan Orange – Musician
Margarita Windisch – Socialist Alliance
Harry Angus – Musician (Cat Empire)
Lil Leonie Lionheart – Musician
Citrus Jam – Musician
Plus …. Amnesty International, 3ZZZ, Queering the Air 3CR, Melbourne Spoken Word, Western Region Ethnic Communities Council, Refugee Radio 3CR, Chilout, I am a boat person, Friends of the Earth, Rural Australians for Refugees (Philip Island), Doctors for Refugees, RISE
Supporters sending written, or recorded messages of support:
Adam Bandt – Greens
Australian Education Union
Anna Funder – Award winning author
Wendy Bacon – Professor, UTS
Denis Altman – Emiretus Professor, La Trobe University
Linda Batholomei – UNSW Centre for Refugee Research


Vote with your feet —campaign for refugee rights!


Help the Refugee Action Collective hand out the following Election leaflet (double sided with our Post election rally on Sept 21) on election day, or before hand at our Live Wire speak out- email to put yourself on the roster

Vote with your feet —campaign for refugee rights!

Whilst no-one who supports refugees should want an Abbott government, as the election approaches, both major parties remain locked in a racist race to the bottom. Kevin Rudd’s disgraceful plan to deny any refugee boat arrivals resettle-ment in Australia, by dumping them on PNG, represents a new low. Not to be
outdone, Tony Abbott has recently retaliated by announcing that asylum seekers who have already arrived in Australia by boat (around 32,000 people) will never get permanent settlement and will be stripped of the right to appeal to the courts.

The Greens, and some principled smaller parties and candidates, have rightly stood against the bipartisan pressure to support offshore detention. The Greens have defended refugee rights in parliament, however, it was grassroots activism under the Howard government that shifted public opinion and forced him to make concessions over his detention regime. We need to do this again!
Get active in the Refugee Action Collective:
Meetings 6:30pm every Monday at the ANF House, 540 Elizabeth St, Melb. Post-Election Strategy Meeting: 6.30pm Mon Sept 9, ANF House.
Get active in your community:
Help set up a suburban, school or workplace group; hold local stalls; organise meetings. RAC can help with refugee and campaign speakers, materials and ideas!
Get active in your workplace:
Carry this resolution at a union/workplace meeting: “We condemn the PNG ‘solution‘ and call for all asylum boat arrivals to be processed and resettled in Australia. Over 90% of boat arrivals are found to be genuine refugees. We call on our state and federal union organisations and the ACTU to oppose the PNG ‘solution’, actively promote refugee rallies to members and ban any work associated with construction of offshore detention centres”

1pm Sat Aug 24 Mass Citywide Rally, State Library – Tell Rudd, Tell Abbott – NO PNG ‘Solution’ – Let the Refugees In!

Join and share the rally on Facebook

1pm Sat Aug 24

State Library corner Latrobe and Swanston Sts Melbourne

download colour poster to print

download black & white poster to print

Rudd’s  plan to shut out asylum seekers backed whole heartedly by Tony Abbott, is the logical conclusion of the ‘Pacific Solution’ begun by the Howard government. It is an attempt to create a Fortress Australia, to shut the door to anyone arriving by boat.

That a Labor government would be so brutal has mobilised thousands of pro-refugee supporters across Australia. Labor’s deal with PNG, the Refugee Resettlement Arrangement is already looking shaky – it’s not a legal agreement (though almost certainly in breach of Australian law), it only says that asylum seekers are “liable” to be sent,  the proposed mega-detention centre for 3000 won’t be built in the next year because of logistical difficulties and arguments amongst vested interests about who will profit from it – all this makes it vulnerable to a concerted campaign.

Rudd’s plan can be beaten, we will need to keep up the fight both before and after the election. Our next major pre-election rally is planned for August 24 – download the poster, put it up in your workplace, uni, school, or home – help get the word out – Stop the PNG ‘solution’ – Stop the Scapegoating – Let the Refugees In!