End-of-Year Message from CRS President Doug Hynd

A Christmas note: On behalf of the Committee I want to thank all the members of CRS for their support and great generosity during 2017, whether in spending time with refugees and asylum seekers, keeping the committee running, organising and participating in fund raising events and giving generously. You are a wonderful group of people.

I note with sadness the recent death of Bevil Purnell OAM. Bev was active in support of refugees and asylum seekers over many decades in Canberra. While he was a driving force in the Refugee Resettlement committee at St John the Apostle Kippax, he was also a strong supporter of the CRS scholarship program, and was a regular attender at CRS events. I extend to his family and friends our deep condolences and affirm his gently offered contribution to making Canberra a welcome home for refugees.

As we draw a line under 2017, I can report that the number of asylum seekers and refugees receiving support from CRS has reached its highest level ever. CRS support teams are present as good neighbours with over twenty individuals and families. The personal contact and connection with the community that these teams provide brings a sense of being cared for to people who have been or are still going through profound experiences of displacement and loss. Financial assistance is often needed as well. This is particularly the case for asylum seekers who appeal to the courts over their claims. They are no longer eligible for any income, rental, or childcare support from the Federal Government. CRS in partnership with community groups and churches is currently providing support for three families in this situation. This is going to be an ongoing challenge in 2018.

While writing this report in the run up to Christmas I found myself thinking about the original Christmas story. A family fleeing from political violence, asylum seekers with a well-founded fear of persecution, spending years in a foreign country wondering when it might be safe to go home. Sadly many contemporary asylum seekers cannot go home. For those who find their way to Canberra CRS is about providing welcome and hospitality. Thanks to you all for helping us give those gifts.

Doug Hynd
CRS President

CRS Fundraising Gala Dinner – Thank you for your support!!

The big event this month was the CRS 2017 Fundraising Gala Dinner on 12 October 2017 at the Hellenic Club in Woden, from which a sum of approximately $13,500 was raised.

  • A very big thank you to all members (and friends of members) who supported this event! It is the major CRS fundraiser of the year, and your generosity and support for events such as this go a long way towards positioning CRS to meet the calls for assistance from our local asylum seeker and refugee community.
  • A huge thank you also to long-time CRS supporter Alex Sloan for her role as MC for the evening, and to the two inspirational speakers, local identity, academic and author Kim Huynh, and the CEO of Refugee Council of Australia (RCoA) Paul Power.
  • For the organisation of the event, particular thanks go to Morna Whiting for her overall coordination, and to Don McDonough for his work with the fundraising team to ensure the success of the raffle and auction.

A detailed report on the dinner and the speakers’ key messages is available at: https://actrefugee.org.au/events/

CRS Committee Meetings

Monthly CRS Committee meetings are held the first Wednesday of the month (except for school holidays) at 7.30pm in the Delphi Room of the Hellenic Club in Woden. CRS members are welcome to attend these meetings.

Please advise CRS Vice-President Brian Calder (calders2@bigpond.com) if you plan to attend.

CRS Orientation Sessions

CRS orientation sessions have several purposes. For people who are interested in possibly joining as members it provides an overview of what we do and how we do it. It’s a great way to help you make up your mind if you want to be involved. For members who have just joined it provides an opportunity to explore the different ways you can be involved in and contribute to CRS. You need to do this session before you become actively involved particularly in volunteering to be part of a support team. Orientation runs from 7 to 8.15pm. Sessions for 2018 is:

  • Monday 5 February
  • Monday 19 March
  • Monday 30 April
  • Monday 4 June
  • Monday 30 July
  • Monday 17 September
  • Monday 29 October
  • Monday 3 December

Please contact actrefugee@gmail.com to check the date, location and time if you’d like to attend, or if you would like further information.

News Flash, 19 October 2017: Multicultural Australia celebrates scrapping of proposed citizenship legislation

The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) has applauded the scrapping on 18 October 2017 of the Federal Government’s proposed new citizenship legislation.