Queenscliff Rural Australians for Refugees has developed a project. Members are now walking the streets of the Borough, and towns of the Bellarine, dropping leaflets into letter-boxes. Maybe you have received one. If so, we hope it encourages you to investigate further, to find ways to assist a group of people living in our midst who need our everyday awareness, friendship and practical support. QRAR sees this as sowing seeds to grow neighbourly kindness, that can eventually bring a harvest of justice. We have all experienced restrictions in recent times. We think that experience is a good starting point for understanding what refugees have been experiencing long before the pandemic hit.

Sometimes, at a letter-box or front gate, we meet the person living there and so we can hand the leaflet to them. And I have experienced discussion and genuine interest. I have been thanked for doing this even though it is not that much. It is going for a walk, meeting people. It has brought about responses like: “Good! Something has to be done about this!” Another has said, “Thank you for helping to restore our country’s self-respect.” A young fellow, perhaps a labourer or apprentice, gladly took one, saying, “Absolutely! This needs fixing”.

Such responses, from informal, everyday “chat”, suggest to me that this issue is already on the hearts and minds of many. And so we are prompted to think of ways to develop this discussion further. Yes, the brochure addresses a very complex situation. It’s about Government policies. It’s about the details of foreign policy, migration and social welfare. It’s about looking after minors and respecting people’s health. It’s about how we understand politics and our recent history. And the “chat” may also turn to something that was headlined in last week’s news.

The designer of the QRAR handbill has helped us keep the conversation going, to emphasise friendly solidarity, as QRAR develops a strategy that will help change minds and the law governing our country’s receipt of refugees.

Bruce Wearne  24th May,2021