Newcastle based group Hunter Asylum Seeker Advocacy (HASA) held a successful fundraiser for the asylum seekers who have been given so-called 'residency' on Nauru.
Earlier this year one of the asylum seekers had opened up a Pakistani restaurant in Nauru. HASA asked The Love Tree Cafe in Newcastle if they could host a solidarity dinner there, following the recipes of the Pakistani restaurant.
To their astonishment, The Love Tree not only agreed to do it, but did so gratis. Staff volunteered their time, and the venue and food were provided free to maximise the returns.
The event was titled "The Vast Supper". It was a culinary journey across vast distances, and in a night of sumptuous solidarity the dinner turned out to be a roaring success. People had to be turned away as the restaurant was full.
There was a deeply moving moment when we managed to contact the asylum seekers on the phone and heard them speak. People also wrote in a guest book which will be posted to Nauru. It shows that many people care deeply about asylum seekers locked up in offshore jails.
When the memorandum of understanding between Australia and Nauru was read out, the core phrase that Nauru would allow asylum seekers granted “residency”, the right to remain there “lawfully”, the disgust in the room was palpable. As they were leaving, people said it fuelled their determination to continue to campaign to free the refugees. Many were also interested in attending the Socialist Alliance event planned for Refugee Week, "Welcome ALL the boats".