"The global nature of this means you have to be concerned for people that you don’t see."
Phil Glendenning, Refugee Council of Australia
QRAR extends an invitation to local Bellarine residents to join together with others across this land to support the thousands of people living in our midst who are refugees and seeking asylum. We stand with them while they wait for their requests for asylum, safety and residence to be assessed by Government. To become engaged with this matter is to put oneself on a learning curve, not only about a troubling world-wide phenomenon but also about the way our own Government works. As citizens, we too are co-responsible for public governance, and that means doing all we can to ensure justice for all.
We are involved in something much larger and greater than we can experience in Australia, but here in our own region, in our own polity, here in our own local government areas, there is still much to done in support of people seeking asylum - they are our neighbours. There are many tasks crying out for attention. Caring for “people that we don’t see” is also helping to maintain a healthy Australian climate of friendliness.
QRAR offers help in various ways here and now to those seeking recognition as asylum seekers and refugees. QRAR is part of a nation-wide RAR network of concerned people who are busily collecting money and finding positive ways to be in helpful “on the edge” solidarity. Open-hearted hospitality, wise support, competent legal advocacy and technical advice is required.
This series of “From the Edge” broadsheets will run for a few months as my own “initial baby steps” effort to assist QRAR in its “consciousness raising” efforts. I am exercised with the following questions: How can the day-to-day issues of people seeking asylum be presented to our fellow citizens in a winsome, coherent and telling manner? How should our support be maintained and strengthened? What does “solidarity” mean in practical terms? What else needs to be done? Much is being done and there is still lots to do. What are some immediate “baby steps” that anyone can take? And what of the pandemic’s
impact upon these people and our support for them? How should that stiffen our resolve?
“From the Edge” aims to support those seeking asylum recognising that as they wait for their applications to be assessed and their status affirmed they are our neighbours. In this uncertain time, this small effort will address many-sided problems arising for all of us from the precarious social situation of some of us. Lots to do.
Disclaimer: Views expressed by individual contributors to this site are not necessarily the views of Queenscliff Rural Australians for Refugees.