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Monday, 2 June 2003
Page: 15576


Mrs IRWIN (1:50 PM) —I wish to bring to the attention of the House an instance where, on behalf of my constituent, I sought an exercise of ministerial discretion under section 417 of the Migration Act. My constituent arrived in Australia in 1990 and applied for a refugee visa in 1994. She applied for an exercise of ministerial discretion on 21 February 2000. There are strong humanitarian reasons why this visa should have been granted.

As an outspoken opponent of female genital mutilation in Ghana, she was subjected to death threats and physical attacks which caused her to flee Ghana. She feared for her safety and that of her two daughters should she return to Ghana. This case was supported by Elder David Syme, Executive Director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, and Pastor Israel Nana-Tuffour, President of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, South Central Ghana. In light of recent events surrounding the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs's exercise of his discretionary power under section 417, it remains unclear to me why my constituent was unable to receive a favourable decision. Shame, Minister, shame.