Readers guide to Friday on My Mind

A few weeks ago I promised you an overview of the past five years’ worth of Friday on My Mind missives, but the Federal election got in the way. Sorry about that. Today it’s a mostly politics-free zone. I started this weekly column (it was supposed to be a one-off) with my theory (and not at all an original idea), about taking refugees and asylum seekers off Nauru and Manus Island and resettling them in…

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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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About Nauru your petitioner humbly prays

I could count on the toes of my feet the number of petitions I have signed in this life, but I could not refuse the Kids off Nauru campaign. More than 100 human rights groups, churches, charities and organisations, including World Vision, Amnesty International and the Australian Lawyers Alliance are behind Kids off Nauru. The e-petition to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten leaves no room for negotiation. Children in detention on…

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Refugees travelling light

As I was packing a bag for a few days away at the beach, news items I had just read about refugees began to trouble me. Most of the articles were about people being shunted out of Calais, not knowing where they were going next. We’ve all read about ‘The Jungle’, a ramshackle refugee camp at Calais, located close to the cross-channel tunnel which carries commerce between France and England. Since 1999, the camp has…

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