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Monday, 18 March 2013
Page: 2553


Mrs MARKUS (Macquarie) (21:16): I rise today to table a petition that was presented to me by a constituent in my electorate of Macquarie, Mr Daniel Wass. This petition represents the culmination of several years of hard work undertaken by a father separated from his child. Daniel presented this petition to me during the last sitting period and undertook a touching and memorable journey to this place. Along with extended family and friends of the Wass family, Daniel set off from Springwood in the Blue Mountains on Saturday, 2 February and cycled all the way to Canberra, collecting signatures for his petition along the way. Daniel and his crew of supporters arrived at Parliament House on the morning of Tuesday, 5 February, and I was delighted to be able to meet them at the steps of this place. The Wass family was warmly received by both me and the shadow minister for foreign affairs, and Daniel presented us both with the petition.

I first met Daniel several years ago, shortly after the abduction of Sean, and I was instantly struck and inspired by the determination of this father to find out what had happened to his son. Any parent will instantly be touched by the plight of Mr Wass and can readily sympathise not only with his grief but with his considerable anxiety to know that his child is safe and well. Daniel has not heard anything of his son since his removal in 2010, and one can readily imagine the tremendous toll this separation and uncertainty would have on any parent.

I rise therefore not only to table this petition but to congratulate all those involved in the search for Sean. At the beginning of this year and after many delays and countless representations made by me and my office, we were delighted to hear that Sean had been placed on the Interpol yellow watch list, a significant escalation of the fight to find him. Shortly before this, Daniel informed me of his plans for both this petition and his awareness-raising journey to this place, and I readily offered my support. We have therefore opened 2013 with some positivity, and, hopefully, reinvigorated spirits as the search for Sean continues.

Today marks the culmination and fruition of a small part of what has been, and will continue to be, an exhaustive and lengthy process. It is to be hoped that the great love, compassion and support that has been offered to the Wass family by the local Springwood and Blue Mountains community will continue to inspire and help to assist them through the next stages of the search Sean. I present the petition.

The petition read as follows—

To the Honourable The Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives

This Petition signed by concerned Australians and International Citizens draws the attention of the house to; an Australian Citizen abducted without notice and during family court proceedings to Japan by his Mother on the 10 May 2010. He has been missing and unaccounted for since his abduction with neither his father nor the Australian Authorities being able to make contact with his mother to confirm his safety, welfare or location.

His abduction to Japan and the concealment of his location, welfare and confirmed safety is a violation of his Human Rights and of serious concern. These rights have been formally recognised by the Australian Government not only through Australia's Family Law and the formation of the Australian Human Rights Commission, but also internationally with Australia's ratification of both the UN's 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child & The 1980 Hague Convention.

Request:

Both the Australian and Japanese Governments have a responsibility to ensure and maintain the rights and safety of all children no matter where in the world they may be. We therefore ask the House to refer the matter to the Australian Prime Minster and or the Foreign Minister insisting they take action to intervene and demand that the Japanese Government confirm the safety, welfare and location of my son.

from 4,556 citizens.

Petition received.