BY LISA MACDONALD
ARMIDALE — A May 8 public meeting discussed how to galvanise public support for ending the federal government's brutal asylum-seeker policy. The 50-strong meeting was titled "Refugees: what is to be done".
Organised by the University of New England Community for Peace and Freedom, the meeting was addressed by Democrat senator Andrew Bartlett, Lisa Macdonald from the Free the Refugees Campaign and Debra O'Brien from Justice for Refugees (JFR).
Armidale JFR has been campaigning since March to make their town a "Welcome Town" for asylum seekers. The group points out that this scheme is a humane and practical alternative to mandatory detention. O'Brien told the meeting the growing community support for the proposal was greatly strengthened by the recent visit to Armidale of the Tigers 11 refugee soccer team.
The discussion was concluded with an announcement of plans to organise an action in Armidale during World Refugee Week in June. The UNE Community for Peace and Freedom's next public forum is titled "Is the war on terrorism?". For more information, contact Bea Bleile on (02) 6773 3572.
From Green Left Weekly, May 15, 2002.
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