17 November 2021
Ms TRISH DOYLE (Blue Mountains)—At its recent AGM the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group marked twenty years since its founding. I would like to pay tribute to this remarkable group of people, all volunteers, who remain united by the vision of a compassionate Australia where people seeking refuge and asylum are treated with justice and compassion. The group was founded at a public meeting in Lawson in late 2001. At the time, many people in the Blue Mountains community were outraged when the federal government ignored the international law of the sea and refused to take refugees rescued by the Norwegian freighter The Tampa. Community member Marie Standen's letters to The Gazette galvanised a group of people to action, with Peggy Goldsmith, the late Jim Tulip and the Mountains Wellspring group joining with Marie to organise that foundation meeting. The Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group has been working for justice and compassion for refugees ever since. It has no particular religious or political affiliation except a commitment to common decency. Congratulations to the fantastic and tireless Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group - particularly George and Jean Winston, and current chair Joy Connor - for two decades of steadfast commitment.