The People's Visa
In this complimentary Edition of our Newsletter
we want you to be aware of our freeware CD-ROM. The CD was designed
to maximize privacy of email communication, and features some
superb programs which forever protect your computer from being
invaded by viruses and from downloading unwanted emails. Not for sale,
but available with a donation from our 'serious' supporters: check
the details as well as the programs on the CD by clicking on the image!
Most Sites below are listed on our Network pages, shich now list 140
refugee websites related to Australian refugees. To visit these
pages, click here.
° Global Carnival
° Christmas Island website
° No Detention
° A Just Australia
° Maribyrnong Watch
° Bringing the House down
° The Freedom bus
° Rural Australians 4R
° RRAN Perth
Fascism is a fuzzy totalitarianism characterized
by selective populism, contempt for the weak, fear of difference,
obsession with plots, and a cult of tradition. - Umberto Eco
"Minds are like parachutes, they only work when
they are open."
with thanks to Steve Georgopoulos
When spider webs unite, they can halt even a lion.
with thanks to
"All men are caught in an inescapable network of
mutuality." - Martin Luther King Jr.
with thanks to
Julian Burnside QC
|Pt Hedland detainees
[....] But despite the hope that many of them feel, many also [feel]
complete despair and hopelessness. A number have talked openly about
their attempts at suicide and self harm, of their desire to be free
at any cost, and at the emotional, physical and psychological damage
they are experiencing behind the razor wire. It is very hard to walk
away from these people, knowing that I am free and they are still
inside, and that because of our government, many will never see
freedom in this country. The guilt I feel from this is only
tempered by their constant words of support, and their genuine
thanks for what all the pro-refugee people and groups are doing in
this country. They feel that things are slowly changing, and they
hope that they will change in time for them to be free, to experience
the freedom that we all take for granted everyday.
a Freedom Bus crew member
|Just in: Important News!
8th August, 2002
Call for Judicial Inquiry into Refugee Review Tribunal
The High Court of Australia today found that thousands
of asylum seekers who had their applications for a Protection Visa
refused by the Refugee Review Tribunal were denied procedural
more in our Newsletter here
Our web presence was especially relevant when at the start of the
June 2002 Woomera hungerstrike we drafted a Media Statement and wrote
around the internet to ask for endorsements and/or feedback.
By proposing to present it a collective Media Statement, we also
conformed to what we really wanted to see: more collective action by
refugee groups around Australia.
Within about a week more than 650 organisations and individuals
endorsed the statement online, and the Statement was sent to 50 news
and media organisations around Australia. And using Senator
Slapper, a program developed by refugee advocates, we sent copies to
all MP's and Senators in Australia's Federal government.
Read the Media Statement and all endorsements here
Like this type of
Newsletter? Ask us for a quote!
Project SafeCom Inc.
P.O. Box 364
Narrogin WA 6312
Phone 041 70 90 130
This Newsletter: a new initiative!
Welcome to this Newsletter!
This is the first issue of a special Newsletter
for members and supporters of Project SafeCom. Because of the
celebratory nature of this event we have developed this public
edition as an open publication for refugee supporters and 'friends'.
We felt that our "other" Newsletter, hosted by topica.com
(see the right hand column item) had developed into more a frequent
and open 'refugee news and updates service'. To our Association's
registered members we have sent a slightly different version, with
some additional members-only news items.
NOTE: There are many links to other websites and pages in this Newsletter. All links open a new window in your browser, so your reading is not unnecessarily interrupted.
If you do not want to receive any further
Newsletters like this one, simply click here to unsubscribe.
The Inside these Walls Project
A few months ago our steering committee unanimously
endorsed a proposal to fully concentrate on the refugee issues around
Australia for at least the remainder of 2002 - also because we planned
to launch the "Inside
these Walls" project - a plan to lobby refugee
action and support groups around Australia create Benefit Concerts
inside EVERY detention centre around Australia on Christmas eve, December 24 2002.
Imagine Christmas Eve...
Imagine Christmas evening 2002. Imagine small stages
inside every detention centre around Australia. Imagine the Myer Bowl
in Melbourne and Sydney's Opera House packed out for a performance by a
famous and renowned Australian band.
Imagine "Gigs for Refugees" in every capital city
and many towns around Australia. Imagine a TV Crew inside every
detention centre as well as in Australia's major venues, filming the
Imagine all of them starting at the same time,
the starting hour synchronised across Australia's timezones. Imagine
satellite link-ups across Australia - your TV screen zooming in on Maribyrnong,
then Villawood, then Christmas Island.
Imagine the Concerts starting with a band such as
Yothu Yindi. Imagine these Concerts to be Benefit Concerts - assisting
refugees on Temporary Protection Visas. Imagine a phone room,
and phone numbers rolling across the screen.
Imagine these Concerts all hosted/convened by a senior federal
politician who has dared speaking out against the current policy
of mandatory detention.
Are you so far with us? Good. Because that's our
vision too. We're sending a briefing paper in a week or so to all
refugee action, lobby and support groups around Australia. More than
25 artists have already expressed their interest to participate
in the events. One politician has already committed to participate.
Others have written to us, supporting and endorsing the events.
And three producers are prepared to start work on the project.
We need your support for this plan. We can not do
this by ourselves: it's only going to work if refugee
groups around Australia work with this.
Please explore the side columns for several ways
to support us - or click here!
Wanted: supporters in Perth, Western Australia!
Project SafeCom's activities are coordinated from Narrogin in Western Australia, about 170 kms S-SW of Perth - with meetings held in Fremantle and Rockingham. Up till now we have primarily made ourselves audible and visible via the internet, using our website as a starting point.
This Newsletter is partly written and designed the way it is because we're also seeking a substantial number of people to get involved with our work in Western Australia, and amongst those people we need a group of people who are able to be part of our working and action team, which operates from the South Metropolitan area - Fremantle and Rockingham.
We meet every three weeks, at the moment at various venues (looking for a more permanent venue in the Fremantle area!). Please download the Membership application form [click on the WORD image], print it out and send it to us!
What's on the cards? Well, first the Inside these Walls project: there's a lot to do between now and Christmas!
Daybreak in Detention - In the first week of October Australian refugee action and support groups will see further concerted action on the occasion of the first anniversary of the SIEV-X sinking. Action is already planned and we'd like to be part of this action - announced under the name of "Daybreak in Detention". See the announcement here.
4 August 2002: Doing Port Hedland
Only at the last hour of my busy working week in Port Hedland
I find some time to visit the Port Hedland IPRC. Earlier on in the
week I had been at the reception counter to register for a visit,
and on the Friday morning before the weekend I had popped in to
check whether the request had been approved.
Welcome Sign appeared friendly enough, as did the ACM staff. But the
first phrase on the large white metal sign next to the outer
entry "....although no formal identification is required for a
visit...." could not fool me. Immediately I had to think of the
friendly manipulations of what some call 'facts' on the website of
Australia's Minister for Immigration: like everyone else, I had to
produce a photo ID when registering for my visit.
There were smiles from staff, all of them locals
from Port Hedland.
There was hilarity when the lady from Reception,
who unlocked the outer gate for me, proceeded to lock herself out
in the small courtyard - together with me. Some jokes were made,
and staff in the outdoor visiting area smiled: these guys would care
about the detainees.
Port Hedland is a friendly detention centre,
it appears. Some locals on the residents' committee regularly meet
with representatives of detainees and staff; things are on the
improve after the removal of the former Centre Manager and the
Catering Supervisor - who are reportedly both under investigation
- and some detainees can go out for an afternoon with those who
regularly visit them.
While I talk with the warm and soft-spoken Sri
Lankan who has elected to sign for a voluntary return to his wife and
children, three others of the small Port Hedland visiting group I
had met earlier on for a barbecue, talk with other detainees at
the adjoining tables in the courtyard.
The man I talk with cannot help his tears when he
mentions his wife, who is being threatened by the Tamils. He shares
the story of an interpreter who stuffed up his chances in Australia's
refugee approval process, someone who at a later stage even
personally wrote him to apologise for his mistakes - too late.
I see two things confirmed that afternoon.
This detainee would, in a country where the fullness
of the UN Convention is implemented, have been welcomed as a genuine
refugee, and we would have paid for his family to come and join him;
and during the hour-long visit, the sun and the smiles around cannot
undo the twelve times that my mind looses its concentration on the
detainee's story - whenever I hear a lock being opened or closed, and when
I hear the rattling of a bunch of keys, accompanied by heavy
footsteps of steel-capped boots.
This is a maximum security prison. And the UN
Conventions are firmly and arbitrarily locked out.
Jack H Smit, Coordinator
Project SafeCom Inc.
Our Actions: small but consistent
Because Project SafeCom was born in Narrogin in WA
country, about 170 km S-SW from Perth, we have a handicap when we
think of action, and especially refugee action. While others can more
easily garner support from many people in a more physical sense, we
have to work twice as hard to be seen and heard. Our friends at RRAN
(Refugee Rights Action Network) in Perth have much faster
collaborative opportunities because of the larger group of people
accessible within the closer proximity of a metropolitan area.
This limitation has also provided us with
opportunities to exploit the internet to bridge the tyranny of
distance: last month we experienced our 'peak' day, when 256 people
visited our website on one day.
When we post a message, not just to our own
Newsletter at topica.com, but also through about 23 e-lists, it reaches
about 10,000 people within 24 hours.
During the Students & Sustainability Conference at
Murdoch University in Perth, held in the second week of August, we
had a positive presence with our stall. It was a great opportunity to
present our identity amongst the many students from around Australia
who attended, and as one of the students commented to us, we were,
after all, the "refugee guys". For us many 'email addresses
materialised' when we met many people who before we had only known
through the internet connections across Australia.
Via our website, we have a strong educational
function: feedback from visitors shows how many people not just
find documentation on our website on the refugee
but also how the information provided informs people of the
simplicity and openness towards refugee issues when the UN
Conventions are applied.
This is especially apparent in our 'rebel visa' -
The Australian People's Refugee Visa (click
to visit the page). In a simple but effective way we could show how
principles of equity and non-discrimination, and applying some of
the foundations of the UN Refugee Convention, must lead to
acceptance of many refugees who arrive in Australia.
We're forging ahead with courage: for an Incorporated Association
which has yet to see its first birthday, we can be satisfied with the
progress we made so far.
Getting Published: www.thepaper.org.au
The Independent Newspaper and online News and Opinion
service The Paper published
our article "Australian refugee action groups: shifting game
positions" in Edition 37, August 2002.
Summary: The time may have
come for refugee advocates in Australia to reconsider their positions
in the human rights landscape following the latest statements by
Immigration Minister Ruddock on the June 2002 Woomera
the article here.
|A child comments
I am only 11. I am Australian. I am angry.
How can John Howard sleep at night? I am disgusted at our government.
We are meant to be advancing, not going backwards. We need a media
release on Tampa Day, 26th of August if anyone is interested...
I feel very strongly towards all refugees, but feel helpless,
what can an 11 year old do?
Gaby from NSW
Read it here
|Our other newsletter
We also issue more regular free news updates,
usually biased towards the refugee issues in Australia. These
newsletters are text-only (no HTML, no attachments) and are
sent a few times a week.
To subscribe to our news
updates, click here. Your
email will receive a reply from topica.com,
the people who manage our email list. You need to click on the link in
that email to confirm your subscription: this is called a
"double opt-in" - a security design to prevent anyone from being
added to a list without their consent. Read
the archives here.
|Carbon free driving?
At Project SafeCom we're not very keen on the
increasing acceptance of "excusing oneself" by means of earning
carbon credits in commerce and industry.
We think it's a policy which over time will
discount and ignore the immediate urgency of ceasing the use of
fossil fuels on a planet which groans under the weight of the
devastating greed of ever-increasing production in a climate where
the use of fossil fuels is not sanctioned.
We think fossil fuels should be banned entirely -
and replaced by the growing number of alternatives available to
In that context we want to offer you the use of
the very smart Carbon Compensation Calculator, developed by Men of
The Trees, a tree growing association in Western
Australia. Click here to try it!
|The Refugee Ribbonİ
The Refugee Ribbonİ is steadily becoming an
Australian symbol for refugee support and a fantastic fundraiser for
refugee groups. There are now some 7500 ribbons 'out there' amongst
the Australian public: a sign that a growing number of people, though
buying a ribbon, move into a space where just attitudes are
refugees. Click here.
If you belong to a refugee action or support
group, and you're interested in the Inside these Walls
your group, ask at your next meeting about the project. We're
sending out the briefing papers in a week or so.
You can support us by subscribing to our
Newsletter. See above, or click here
To make a donation to our
project, transfer your funds to our account at Bendigo Community Bank
Kulin, BSB Number 633-000. Account name: Project SafeCom Inc.,
account 11564 3900.
If you're already a PayPal
customer, you can also use our PayPal online payment facility. Simply click here to proceed
Note: For security reasons,
Australian residents using PayPal for the first time, cannot complete
the transaction until their next Credit Card statement arrives.
Choosing this road to make donations may take considerable time,
unless you have online access to your Credit Card statements.
You can become a member of
Project SafeCom for as little as $20.00 per year. To explore this
option, with our new feature of the online members lounge, coming
online voting and polls, and the internet overcoming many limitations
of distance, you may want to do this. We already have members in
Queensland and Victoria, and an Associate member in Dallas, TX, USA.
Click here to visit
the membership application page.
|August 26: TAMPA DAY
Wear a Black Armband
A call has been issued around Australia to Shame Howard on
Tampa Day, August 26. It can work in a very decentralised way
if there's interest in your workplace, community group, campus
or school. Read
the call to action here.