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Tuesday, 19 November 2002
Page: 6738

Senator CROSSIN (Northern Territory) (3.52 p.m.)—On behalf of Senators Bartlett, Brown and Nettle, I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) more than 1 500 asylum seekers from East Timor have had the processing of their refugee claims put on hold for many years and that many of these applicants were, and still are, suffering the effects of torture and trauma, and

(ii) the Australian Government sought to avoid offering protection for these asylum seekers and deliberately delayed processing, causing great hardship to those involved due to the ties they have formed in Australia;

(b) acknowledges the persecution and suffering that these people endured before leaving East Timor and that many of these people have lived in our community for up to 10 years, and have formed close links with their community;

(c) recognises that two organisations of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference, Caritas Australia and the Australia Catholic Social Justice Council, and the Australian East Timor Association have also renewed calls to grant residency to the East Timorese asylum seekers who are facing deportation; and

(d) calls on the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (Mr Ruddock) to acknowledge the commitment and contribution this group of asylum seekers is making to the Australian community, and the enormous uncertainty and trauma they have endured, by granting these people permanent residency in Australia on humanitarian grounds by means of a special visa.

Question agreed to.