There will be a refugee rights contingent in the Labour Day march in Brisbane next Monday. All refugee supporters are welcome to join in. The Refugee Action Collective will be present, and we hope that the recently reconstituted Labor for Refugees group will also be there.
Where: Non-union groups such as us will be at the end of the march. We meet near the Sportsmans Hotel, 130 Leichhardt St, near the corner of Upper Edward St. RAC will have a stall in the vicinity from 9.30am.
When: Labour Day is Monday 7th May. The front of the march starts moving at 10am. Previous experience suggests that the end of the march will not start moving until about 10.40am. We in RAC want to leaflet the crowd regarding upcoming refugee campaign events. If you would like to help, turn up at 9.30am or any time after.
The RAC stall: It will start from 9.30am, and all are welcome to help out. The exact spot has not been decided yet, but look for us in Leichhardt St, between the corners of Upper Edward and Wharf Sts.
Further info: Paul, firstname.lastname@example.org , ph.3392 3843.
Why should refugee advocates march with the unions?
- It is an opportunity to try to engage the union movement with the refugee rights issue. The unions of Australia have a long tradition of supporting social justice issues which are not directly linked with wages and conditions. Support for Indonesian independence, opposition to the Vietnam War, oppostion to South African apartheid, and support for the Aboriginal Gurindji tribe’s walk-away from the station they were employed at, in support of their land rights claim, are four examples. We want the unions to support refugee rights in the current era.
- Most refugees are workers of one kind or another. Most of them who get permanent visas will become Australian workers. They are current and future union members.
- Many refugees are refugees precisely because of union involvement in countries where unions suffer repression from anti–worker dictatorships. They were forced to flee because of union involvement.
- Refugees in the workforce are often desperate to earn money. They have responsibilities to send money to their families back home. They may have debts to people smugglers. They will do anything an unscrupulous employer demands. They are very vulnerable to exploitation. Refugees need strong unions to defend them from such exploitation, but currently very few have them.
Other upcoming events:
20th anniversary of mandatory detention. (20 years too long).
2pm, Saturday 19th May, at Kurilpa Hall, 174 Boundary St, West End.
Speakers will include those who have worked with asylum seekers before and after mandatory detention, a mental health worker with detainees, and a former detainee.
World Refugee Day rally.
Protest against the government’s and opposition’s horrible policies and assert something better.
When: 1pm, Saturday, 16th June.
Where: The City. Precise location to be announced.