About the Lobby Group
The Lobby Group is a sub-group of Buddies which mainly focuses on various forms of lobbying and education.
We respond to articles in the press (or other forms of media) on refugee and asylum seeker issues when we feel that misinformation or bias needs to be addressed or injustices challenged.
We lobby politicians and we speak to community groups or schools as opportunities arise. We intend to increasingly use other forms of social media to enable the message concerning the current treatment of refugees and asylum seekers to be made known.
Contact Audrey Raymond
Lobby Group Meeting – Thursday 16 June 2016
At Audrey's home in Chancellor Park
Note-taker: Penny Rivlin
Present: Margaret Landbeck, Diana Woolley, Audrey Raymond and Penny Rivlin
Apologies: Helen Thomas
Election: The upcoming election being imminent, it was felt all Buddies should consider their voting strategies, write or ring the prospective MPs and Senate members to ask their views on asylum seekers, indefinite and off-shore detention, and point out that there are about a thousand members of Buddies who would be interested to know their policies.
Petition: Audrey was keen to get another change.org petition up and running for us to circulate amongst our contacts and try and reach more people. She was distressed that the principle of refoulement (i.e. sending people back to a place of danger) was being practised by the current Government and should cease. Asylum seekers are taken ashore and (after 'enhanced screening', which involves very little seeking of the truth, often with no translators) are almost instantly returned to their country where they are usually immediately imprisoned. Some are also being forcibly returned after being in detention for some time.
We also discussed how those in Australia on various categories of TPV have no security, can have their working visas revoked (as happened with the Kingaroy meatworkers who are awaiting the outcome of expensive court proceedings) and are living in limbo causing them great stress as they can, without due process, be returned to the situation from which they fled.
A change.org petition apparently generally excites more interest when a named person and photo is the subject of the petition, rather than some general subject. However many in this precarious situation are unable to give their identity. The Lobby Group is still considering the usefulness of their ideas with regard to the two subjects above. Margaret offered to contact Freddie Steen to see if she could help, as she is in contact with so many concerned refugee support groups.
Letters: We also continued our resolution to write to the national newspapers, as well as local ones, to demand that various policies need to be reversed, some of the most pressing being indefinite off-shore detention on Nauru and Manus and the detention of children. All Buddies can help by writing. 'Dispelling the myths ' about refugees is found on the refugeebuddies.org website to support your views.
The Lobby Group wishes to urge Buddies to write to their MPs and Ministers on whatever they feel strongly about, as well as the subjects mentioned here.
Other: We discussed the fact that Bob Cullen from the Caloundra Catholic Church was putting on the film 'Freedom Stories' on 21st June. He was bringing together Social Justice groups from his and the Uniting Church, Buddies, Women Out Front and other concerned parties to meet and network.
The Lantern Parade held at South Bank the previous week was felt to be a great way to positively show how all nationalities can be part of Australian life. MDA is to be congratulated, and Audrey will be writing to them to voice our pleasure at being part of such a happy occasion. Many of the spectators actually called out 'Buddies' and supported us enthusiastically as we passed by with our banner!
Next meeting: Date and venue to be arranged