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Wednesday, 26 May 2004
Page: 29288

Ms Plibersek asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, upon notice, on 19 February 2004:

(1) What was the cost of the incarceration of Dr Khurassani, an Afghan national, who has been held in immigration detention for the past two and a half years.

(2) Can the Minister confirm that checks such as medical, penal and character checks remain uncompleted over four months after the Refugee Review Tribunal ruled that Dr Khurassani was “a person to whom Australia has protection obligations under the Refugee Convention”; if so, why were these checks not completed during the two and a half years he was held in detention.

(3) When will the checks be completed and Dr Khurassani released.

Mr Hardgrave (Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister) —The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

Due to privacy considerations, details of individual cases cannot be discussed.

The following general information can, however, be provided.

(1) Total detention costs for a period of detention such as this would be in the order of $190,000.

(2) Some checks for applicants in these circumstances would be carried out during the early stages of the application process. Where a matter is remitted by the Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) must also be satisfied that character issues do not prevent the individual concerned from being granted a visa. It is sometimes the case that such checks and character considerations are conducted after an RRT decision. This ensures their currency at the time of visa decision and also enables any further relevant information, which might emerge during RRT processes, to be taken into account. This process can take varying periods of time, but it is essential that such matters be thoroughly explored to ensure that visas are not granted to persons of adverse character. DIMIA has robust arrangements in place to regularly monitor and manage finalisation of all protection visa applications from persons in detention and strives to finalise all such cases as quickly as possible, consistent with maintaining the integrity of the decisions.

(3) All checks on this case have been completed and the case has been finalised.