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Monday, 2 June 2003
Page: 15575


Mr GRIFFIN (1:45 PM) —I wish to bring to the attention of the House two instances where, on behalf of my constituents, I sought the exercise of ministerial discretion under section 417 of the Migration Act. The summary of the first case is that my constituent arrived in Australia on 14 December 1995. He applied for a refugee visa on 14 March 1996 and then applied for an exercise of ministerial discretion on 29 January 1998. There are strong humanitarian reasons why this visa should be granted, as my constituent believes he was being harassed and targeted by government troops for suspicion of assisting the LTTE and was fearful for his and his family's safety. This case was supported by nine statutory declarations from his brother, nephews and cousins—all permanent residents or Australian citizens.

The summary of the second case is that my constituent arrived in Australia on 25 May 1997. He applied for a refugee visa on 17 May 1999 and then applied for an exercise of ministerial discretion on 6 November 2000. Again, there are strong humanitarian reasons why this visa should be granted, as my constituent was fearful for his safety due to his ethnicity and his belief that government troops and police were targeting people who were considered to be sympathetic to the LTTE. His case was supported by his two young sons, who provided affidavits to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. He had arrived in Australia to attend his wife's funeral. In light of recent events surrounding the minister's exercise of his discretionary power under section 417, it remains unclear to me why my constituents were unable to receive a favourable decision.