About 200 people attended a lunch at Geelong Trades Hall on August 11 to raise money for the hundreds of refugees who have arrived in the community.
Many refugees are not allowed to work as a condition of their visa and are forced to live on less than the unemployment benefit.
This has left some families lacking basic necessities such as adequate clothing and food. A great deal of pressure has been placed on charities to take up the slack.
Many refugees attended the event, including Iranians, Tamils and Afghans. Community leaders including the Geelong Mayor Keith Fagg, representatives from Geelong Trades Hall, Socialist Alliance, local church leaders, and refugee rights organizations also attended.
“Thank you,” said one Tamil man. “Thank you so much for making us feel welcome”.
The large turnout demonstrates that despite the attempts by the Liberal and Labor parties to whip up fear, many Australians still welcome refugees with open arms.
The event was organised by the Combined Refugee Action Group (CRAG). More actions and events have been planned for the near future.
[CRAG will be taking part in the rally for refugees in Melbourne on August 24. To join the contingent, meet at Geelong train station at 10am. Call 5222 6900 for more details.]