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Monday, 2 June 2003
Page: 15578

Ms PLIBERSEK (1:56 PM) —I wish to bring to the attention of the House an instance where, on behalf of a constituent, I asked the minister for immigration to exercise his discretion under section 417 of the Migration Act. My constituent arrived in Australia in 1996 and applied for a refugee visa in that year. He applied for an exercise of ministerial discretion on 12 July 1999. There are strong humanitarian reasons why this visa should have been granted, including, firstly, an arrest order issued by Syria to its Tripoli intelligence centre in Lebanon seeking my constituent's arrest; and, secondly, clear evidence that my constituent was wanted by Syrian authorities and, if forced to return to Lebanon, would be immediately arrested and handed over to Syrian military intelligence—most likely to face persecutory treatment during his interrogation and an uncertain fate. This case was supported by a petition signed by family, friends and members of the Lebanese community in Australia. In light of recent events surrounding the minister's exercise of his discretionary power under section 417, it remains unclear to me why my constituent was unable to receive a favourable decision.