5:00 PM17:00

Newcastle Refugee Week Human Chain, King St from Darby to Auckland Sts.

Gadrc Newcastle  - For one night only, add your light to the line from Darby St to Auckland St as we celebrate World Refugee Week together. Civic Park, Newcastle. Lights will be available but you may want to bring your own, or wear an identifying t-shirt or bring a banner or a poster. Please share this information within your own networks. Looking forward to seeing you there. For more information contact Marion: gadrcnewcastlelakemac@gmail.com

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10:00 AM10:00

Central Coast Grandmothers & Friends 10am Coffee, Jimmy G's Riverside Park, 2/69 Central Coast Highway, West Gosford.

We'll hear from Margot - her journey in hosting asylum seekers and refugees and facilitating hosting through the organisation Home Among The Gum Trees.  We'll hear about the impact of hosting on guest, host, family/friends and community.  Please respectfully wear your purple t-shirts (if you have one).  Coordinator: Jo: justiceoncc@gmail.com

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4:30 PM16:30

Ritz Cinema Randwick, Screening of 'Border Politics'.

Ritz Cinema Randwick, Screening of 'Border Politics'. 'Border Politics' follows human rights barrister Julian Burnside as he traverses the globe examining the harsh treatment meted out to refugees in most Western countries.  There will be a Q & A session with Julian Burnside live on stage.    Some of our members have already booked for this session, so come along and join the group.  Seats are not allocated so we can sit together. To book:  https://bit.ly/2x7lV1V

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2:00 PM14:00

Cockatoo Island: Boats and Beyond: A frank talk about refugee policy and solutions

presented by the Biennale of Sydney
and UNSW’s Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law

Ai Weiwei’s Law of the Journey, 2017, an imposing installation featuring a 60-metre-long boat crowded with hundreds of anonymous refugee figures, provokes this frank discussion of Australia’s response to asylum seekers arriving by boat – and today’s approach to refugees globally.  


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10:15 AM10:15

Gadrc 264 Pitt Street Sydney Meeting with Guest Speaker George Newhouse,

The guest speaker will be George Newhouse.  George's talk will focus on refugees and the work of the National Justice Project. George Newhouse is an Australian  human rights lawyer and a former local councillor. He is the principal solicitor of the National Justice Project, a human rights and social justice legal service, and currently an Adjunct  Professor of Law at Macquarie University.  He was the Mayor of  Waverley in the eastern suburbs of  Sydney from 2006 to 2007, and the Labor candidate for the seat of  Wentworth at the 2007 federal election.  George is well known for fighting for justice for vulnerable Australians, including the mentally ill, LGBTI Australians, survivors of domestic violence, immigrants, prisoners, asylum seekers, youth detainees, and Aboriginal Australians.In 2006 he secured a legal victory for Vivian Solon, who was illegally deported from Australia to the Philippines and for Cornelia Rau who was wrongfully detained in an Australian detention centre for 10 months. As an advocate for Aboriginal rights, George has contested government and corporate actions against Aboriginal communities.  He is experienced in coronial legal practice and has appeared in many coronial inquests into Aboriginal and asylum seeker deaths in custody. George is committed to improving access to justice for the most vulnerable in Australia and in neighbouring countries. He is active in projects that make it easier for Aboriginal litigants to exercise their rights and that help stamp out racism. All welcome, bring your family, friends & neighbours.

The start is a little earlier than usual, it would be great if we are all ready for the start of the talk. Join us for lunch afterwards at Bonjour Cafe 257 Clarence St. We will be collecting donations toward the cost of the room hire, and for general ongoing costs of GADRC.

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11:30 AM11:30

Gadrc Vigil on Cockatoo Island at Ai Wei Wei's artwork "Law of the Journey"

On Tuesday 8 May we are planning to hold a vigil on Cockatoo Island at Ai Wei Wei's artwork "Law of the Journey". Ai has created an impressive 60 meter long boat filled with many anonymous refugee figures and it would be fitting to have a picture taken of the grandmothers in front of it. Entry to the Exhibition is free and you can use your opal card for the F8 ferry to Cockatoo Island. I suggest we meet at 11:30 in order to catch 11:45 ferry to the island.  it takes about 30 minutes to get there.  The online ferry timetable does not indicate the wharf to use at Circular Quay, only the following statement: "At Circular Quay, departure or arrival wharf may change at short notice. Please check indicator boards and listen for announcements" and look out for purple t-shirts! There is a bar/restaurant on the island.  Ferries back go every hour (eg 13:19 , 14:19 etc). There is a bar/restaurant on the island. Ingrid Zoebe  will be coordinating this vigil.   For more information: https://www.biennaleofsydney.art/artists/ai-weiwei/

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12:30 PM12:30

Monthly Sydney City Protest Vigil outside QVB



12.30 TUESDAY 1st May

QVB Sydney, in front of the Queen Victoria Statue.


Grandmothers will be joining the  Sydney lunchtime crowd 12.30 for our 55th QVB PROTEST VIGIL for REFUGEES. Grandmothers stand for FREEDOM for all the grandchildren still on #Nauru and all the grandsons still waiting on #Manus.  


Grandmothers will not stop protesting until every child held by or on behalf of the Australian Government, is removed from detention centres on the mainland and from the Offshore Processing Centres on Nauru. 


#EndChildDetention #SafetyForAll  #BringThemHere #RefugeesWelcome #wecarenauru #NoPrideInDetention

@gadrc @grandmothersadrc @OzRefugeeCounc @welcometoaustralia

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7:30 PM19:30

Rachel Collis Fundraiser Concert for Refugees, Pitt St Sydney

Rachel Collis & Pitt St Uniting Church presents:

TO THE LEAST OF THESE - A fundraiser concert for refugees, Pitt Street Uniting Church, 264 Pitt Street Sydney.  Tickets at the door - $25 adults or $20 concession

7:30-8pm – Martin Al Somery and Bashar Hanna: oud and keyboard
8-8:45 – Rachel Collis and band
8:45-9:05 - supper
9:05-9:15 – Welcome by Rev Dr Margaret Mayman and address by a representative of Refugee Action Coalition Sydney (RACs)(recipient of funds raised from the evening)
9:15-10pm – Rachel Collis and band
Martin Al Somery is an Australian-Iraqi singer & Oud player who arrived to Australia as a refuge in 2010 carrying his Oud and a hope for better life. Since then Martin has developed his musical skills and used it to promote peace and freedom. In 2016, Martin started a new career as a music educator who works with refugee children and help them to heal from trauma using music as a therapeutic tool. 
Bashar Hanna is an Australian-Mesopotamian musician and composer who utilise music and arts for social change. Bashar is also a music educator and art therapist who runs Arts & Community Development Center in Fairfield.
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6:00 PM18:00

Chauka Please Tell Us The Time: Newcastle Screening

Shot on his mobile phone from inside detention on Manus Island and sent to filmmaker Arash Kamali Sarvestani, this film by Kurdish-Iranian refugee and journalist Behrouz Boochani is a unique record of life inside detention. After 2 successful screenings its world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival, and a sold out screening in Newtown in December, this is its Newcastle premiere.

Negotiations underway for Boochani and producer Sarvestani to join us by Skype for a Q &A.


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12:00 PM12:00

Detention Harms Health - Medical Student March - Endorsed by GADRC NSW Hyde Park, Sydney.

Detention Harms Health -  Medical Student March - Endorsed by GADRC NSW Hyde Park, Sydney. Enter Hyde Park near St James Station, we'll be there with a banner. What to bring: banners, signs,t shirts. 

  (Updated information from the organisers)   We have asked some very reputable health and legal professionals to discuss the health and legal implications of this policy.

PROF. DAVID ISAACS Sydney consultant paediatrician  

GEORGE NEWHOUSE Human rights lawyer, National Justice Project

DR PETER YOUNG Psychiatrist & former director of mental health on Manus Island & Nauru

DR NADINE SHEMA Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development

DR BARRI PHATARFOD President of Doctors 4 Refugees

After the speeches the students, health care staff and members of the public  will walk around Hyde Park. We will then catch the ferry to Cockatoo Island to visit the Ai Wei-Wei installation of a boat full of refugees. Those present will have their photo taken holding their arms out in welcome to the Ai Wei-Wei refugees. The media have been invited to take photos and report on the event.  

Some of our members may only want to attend the rally & that's fine.  Coordinator for GADRC: Gaby; grandmothersrefsyd@gmail.com

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2:00 PM14:00

Palm Sunday 'Refugees are welcome here' Sydney Rally

 Belmore Park (opp. Central Station) march to Victoria park. This event endorsed by GADRC NSW. and will be attended by our group. Meet near the Eddy Ave entrance. 

There's a fair bit of despondency amongst members of refugee activist groups including a feeling that things are just not changing for refugees & asylum seekers.  Let's make the GADRC contingent at the Palm Sunday Rally the largest ever and demonstrate that we grandmothers will not give up.
Sunday 25th March 2pm.  
 Belmore Park (opp. Central Station) march to Victoria park.  Meet near the Eddy Ave entrance. Coordinator: Gaby. grandmothersrefsyd@gmail.com Bring your family and friends and join us. Don't worry if you don't have a t shirt. The important thing is being  there. (there will be a few t shirts available for purchase). Confirmed speakers: Acknowledgement of country: Uncle Dave Bell, Uniting Church moderator Rev Simon Hansford, Gem Romuld (peace speaker), Habiburahman, Rohingyan refugee, Mark Morey (union speaker) Not living near Sydney? For Palm Sunday Rallies near you:  http://bit.ly/2HOlytZ

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11:00 AM11:00

Rally. Hosted by Action on Human Rights at the time of the ASEAN Leaders Summit. Town Hall Sydney.

If any grandmothers are free, grab your t shirt and head for the Town Hall on Saturday.

This Saturday 11am at Sydney Town Hall, RAC will join Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laos, Burmese (including Rohingyan), Filippino & other Se Asian communities as they come together to speak against regimes that abuse human rights. 
We also have a multitude of reasons to protest against Australia's role in the region. 
The bipartisan policy of continuing to turn back asylum seekers who come by boat seeking our protection, and the Turnbull government's ban on resettling UNHCR-recogniised refugees from Indonesia are keeping refugees in limbo for years on end. 
Add to that Turnbull's dream of Australia becoming a major arms exporter in the region--fuelling conflicts which in turn create more refugees.

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5:30 PM17:30

Urgent Snap Action: Friday 16th March 5.30pm. Vigil in Solidarity with Priya. Near Central Station Sydney

Urgent Snap Action: Friday 16th March 5.30pm. Vigil in Solidarity with Priya. Dept. of Immigration & Citizenship 26 Lee St Sydney, very close to Central Station. Hosted by mums4refugees, Love Makes a Way & the Tamil Refugee Council. For more information about the family concerned & a petition to sign: http://bit.ly/2Gmdhh0

Latest news just in states that the family remain in Australia. See update below from Amnesty International. The vigil is going  ahead. Grandmothers grab your t shirts and head for Lee St on Friday, show your solidarity for this family.

YES!!!!!!!!! Nadesalingam and Priya, and their Australian-born daughters, nine-month-old Dharuniga and two-year-old Kopiga remain in Australia after a legal intervention saw them pulled off a plane bound for Sri Lanka just minutes before take-off. #RefugeeLiveMatter
See below under F.Y.I. letter writing campaign for  this family.

a.        Media release from the Tamil Refugee Council regarding a Tamil Family faced with deportation back to Sri Lanka.  Multiple international reports, including from the UN, continue to provide evidence that Tamils deported to Sri Lanka are at severe risk of serious harm.  The Tamil Refugee Council is calling on the Australian government to return Priya, Nadesalingam, Dharuniga and Kopiga to their home in Biloela, and to give Priya and Nadesalingam permanent protection so they can continue building their lives and raising their children in peace.
b.     Sample letter below   - Dr Vacy Vlazna

Dear Minister Dutton
I am calling on the Australian government to return Priya, Nadesalingam works at the meatworks, Dharuniga , 9 months, and Kopiga, 2, (born in Australia) to their home in Biloela, Central Queensland and to give Priya and Nadesalingam permanent protection so they can continue building their lives and raising their children in peace.

Their home was raided at 5 am on Monday 5 March by scores of police, Border Force officers and Serco guards. Priya and Nadesalingam were put into separate vans and driven to Gladstone Airport then detained  at Melbourne’s  Broadmeadows detention centre.. The children travelled with Priya but, despite their distress and their mother’s pleas, were not allowed to sit with her.

Once detained in Melbourne, Priya says Border Force officers told them that if they didn’t sign voluntary deportation documents, they would be denied access to a phone and she and her husband would be separated and deported to Sri Lanka a country in which they have a well-founded fear of persecution..

Amnesty International’s latest Annual Report, published on 22 February, noted of the situation in Sri Lanka:

“Reports of torture and other ill-treatment in detention continued … [T]he Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka said that it had continued to document widespread incidents of violence against detainees, including torture and other ill-treatment, which it described as ‘routine’ and practised throughout the country, mainly by police.”


Dr Vacy Vlazna

Collaroy 2097


Please contact the following politicians to:

  • express your deep concern for this family
  • call for a stop to the deportation- which may place the family in danger of persecution
  • ask that they be returned to their home in Biloelia and granted permanent visas to continue their lives here in Australia

  This is something that only takes a few minutes, and something that we all can do. 

Malcolm Turnbull PM
Ph:  (02) 6277 7700

Peter Dutton MP
Minister for Home Affairs
(02) 6277 7860

Bill Shorten
Opposition Leader
(02) 6277 4022

Shayne Neumann
Shadow Immigration Minister
(07) 3201 5300

Sarah Henderson MP
5243 1444 

Richard Marles MP
5221 3033


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11:00 AM11:00

Note 11am start: GADRC Monthly Meeting 264 Pitt Street Sydney

All Grandmothers welcome to join us at our monthly meeting in the Meeting Room of the Pitt St Uniting Church 264 Pitt St Sydney.   Guest Speaker: Chrissie Eilenberg from 'We Care Nauru'.  Chrissie is an ex-nurse who is in daily contact with the families on Nauru. Chrissie will be speaking by video link from Melbourne. This is a great opportunity to find out about the conditions on Nauru. See  'Notes from Nauru'.  We will talk to Chrissie in a Q & A style - please email your questions for Chrissie to Gaby at grandmothersrefsyd@gmail.com

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6:00 PM18:00

Register for Kaldor Centre Event: What’s so special about Canada? How ordinary Canadians successfully sponsor refugees

You are invited to a special Kaldor Centre evening
With Trudeau Fellow and University of Toronto Chair in Human Rights Law
Professor Audrey Macklin

12 March 2018
Time: 6-7pm
Venue: Allens, Level 28, Deutsche Bank Place
126 Phillip Street (Corner of Hunter & Phillip Streets) Sydney

More information
Thousands of Canadians – businesses, church and community groups – have decided to sponsor refugees in the past couple of years. Why? How does it work? And are there lessons for Australia and other countries in their experience?

Professor Audrey Macklin, Chair in Human Rights Law and Director of the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto, will explain Canada’s private sponsorship program, which enables ordinary citizens to take on the responsibilities of resettling a refugee.

Since the 1970s, private sponsors have committed to giving emotional and financial support to an individual refugee resettling in Canada through a program unique in the world. Sponsors are involved at every step in the process, from initial paperwork to screening to setting up house.

More than 280,000 people have resettled in Canada through this program.

A sponsor herself, Professor Macklin in 2017 won a prestigious Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellowship to conduct empirical research about the impacts of Canada’s private sponsorship program.

Australia is currently establishing the Community Support Program, enabling community sponsorship of humanitarian entrants. As this program gets under way, what can we learn from Canada?


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2:00 PM14:00

Hornsby Mall "Coffee & Chat", Shores Cafe Hornsby Mall

Berowra Electorate Group - coffee and chat session.  The aim is for locals who are interested in refugee issues and in Gadrc to come and find out more.  The event will be advertised locally.  Grandmothers from other Electorates welcome to come and support these local Grandmothers.  Contact Gael Walker.  For more information email grandmothersrefsyd@gmail.com

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