CORANGAMITE Q &A ON REFUGEE ISSUES
Around 110 people attended the Corangamite Refugee Policy Forum and gained a much better understanding of the policies of the various election candidates regarding people seeking safety (see photo below). Held in Torquay on Tuesday 23 April, all the major candidates, with the exception of sitting member Sarah Henderson, participated in the Q& A. AIRAR, together with the Combined Refugee Action Group and other RAR groups across the seat organised the evening.
AIRAR SUPPORTS FAIRNESS AND DECENCY
AIRAR has been active in supporting the Fairness and Decency campaign organised by the Combined Refugee Action Group. Efforts have been directed towards distributing an election leaflet comparing the refugee policies of the major parties. Market stalls held in April and May (see below photo) have led to much discussion with the community, and a team of 12 AIRAR members will hand out the leaflet at booths during pre-polling and on election day.
AIRAR is an active group with a range of ongoing activities:
AIRAR has enjoyed picnics, camps, bushwalking, fishing and other activities with refugees from the Geelong region. These events are an important link with the local refugee community in our region and usually occur bi-annually.
Each month a letter or postcard is prepared about a pressing issue to be sent to the Prime Minister and other relevant ministers and politicians. These letters are now used as a template by over 50 RAR groups across Australia. If you are interested in receiving these letters please email AIRAR at .
Working to achieve a more humane, just and compassionate approach to the plight of asylum seekers is a key aim of AIRAR. The group has been involved in a range of campaigns, protests and actions to work towards policy change, including a focus on Federal elections and party conferences.
Each month AIRAR supports the Food Bank run by the Wesley Asylum Seeker Welcome Place in Geelong with a delivery of groceries and gift vouchers. The Food Bank was established to assist people on bridging visas who have had their income support taken away while they are re-applying for their visas, or others on Safe Haven Enterprise or Temporary Protection Visas who do not have ongoing work or access to income support.
Events and fundraising
A number of fundraising activities are organised each year by AIRAR. These include our major event – Aireysistible – usually held in July and attracting a sell-out crowd for an evening of wonderful entertainment and food.
An AIRAR member also hosts an occasional series of chamber music concerts featuring outstanding local, national and international guests.
A stall is regularly run at the Aireys Inlet market which provides a vehicle for community education, to get letters and postcards for politicians signed, and to raise funds.
Other events organised by AIRAR have included film nights, musical soirees, book launches and an art auction.
All money raised goes towards supporting asylum seekers including a scholarship program at a Geelong secondary school, emergency relief, phone cards for people on Manus Island, and contributing to legal fees for local asylum seekers applying for visas.
Meetings are generally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month, starting at 1.30pm. New members are always welcome.
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