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Thursday, 18 August 2005
Page: 236


Mr Gibbons asked the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, in writing, on 24 May 2005:

(1)   Is the Minister aware that the 50 East Timorese who are being sent back to Timor have lived in Australia for 10 years and that some have children who were born here.

(2)   Would the Minister provide details of the serious character grounds that were given as the reason why the 50 East Timorese are being sent back to East Timor.

(3)   Will the Minister reconsider the decision to send the 50 East Timorese back to Timor and allow them to stay in Australia.


Mr John Cobb (Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs) —The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

(1)   Fifty East Timorese are not being sent back to Timor. I have asked 47 of the residual group of East Timorese to undertake relevant visa checks, so that I can progress my consideration of the possible grant of permanent visas to them. I have confirmed the decision to decline to intervene in relation only to six of the East Timorese. They have again been offered the Government’s reintegration package to assist them to return to East Timor. I am aware that three of those six people have lived in Australia for at least 10 years. The other three have been in Australia for eight and a half years. None of these six applicants have children born in Australia.

(2)   In considering whether to exercise Ministerial discretion in these cases, a range of factors were taken into account. I am under no obligation to provide any explanation for not using the intervention power in particular cases.

(3)   I have decided to reconsider the residual group of East Timorese cases on their individual merits. As set out in answer to (1), 47 people have been asked to undertake further checks so that I can progress my consideration of the possible grant of permanent visas to them. I have confirmed the decision to decline to intervene in relation to six people in the group. These people have again been offered the Government’s reintegration package to assist them to return to East Timor.