Refugees settling in despite funding cuts

While refugees and migrants have been welcomed into Australia’s rural communities, successive Budget cuts have made life difficult for refugee support services. Although not attracting too many headlines, a $50 million cut in the 2018-19 Budget, and another $77.9 million over four years in the 2019-20 Budget, means that organisations trying to help refugees with the transition to a new country, a new culture and a new language are left scrambling. The Refugee Council of…

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Keeping the Toowoomba carnival afloat

So there we were at the unaccustomed early hour of 7am in Laurel Bank Park, Toowoomba, trying to catch Macca’s eye to say, “Mate, we’re here.” Ian McNamara,* the host of Australia all Over, who sometimes plays music by our band, The Goodwills, had invited us to attend his second OB (outside broadcast) of the year. Laurel Bank Park was pretty as a picture, thanks to a big team of gardeners and a decision by…

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Multiculturalism under siege

My plan to write something cuddly and wholesome about Multiculturalism Month in Queensland was derailed somewhat by the egregious maiden speech of crossbench Senator Fraser Anning. One of our newest politicians, he chose his maiden speech to call for a return to the White Australia policy, suggesting that a plebiscite be held to ask Australians if they want ‘wholesale non-English speaking immigrants from the Third World and, in particular, whether they want any Muslims’. Politicians…

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