Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Minister to rule on Jovicic deportation -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

Minister to rule on Jovicic deportation

AM - Saturday, 3 February , 2007 08:14:00

Reporter: Alison Caldwell

ELIZABETH JACKSON: The new Immigration Minister, Kevin Andrews has a tough decision to make this
weekend, whether or not to again detain and deport stateless man, Robert Jovicic back to Serbia.

Robert Jovicic's special visa expires at midnight tomorrow and he's fully expecting to be sent back
to Villawood, pending possible deportation.

In a case which has attracted the special interest of the Prime Minister, convicted criminal and
former heroin addict, Robert Jovicic, was deported to Serbia in 2004, but he returned on
compassionate grounds last March after declaring himself destitute and stateless on the streets of
Belgrade.

Alison Caldwell reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: Robert Jovicic says his bags are packed.

ROBERT JOVICIC: They are, sadly. I have to look at the reality of my situation. The last letter has
been quite clear from the department's stance as to if I don't abide by signing for a Serbian
citizenship they've made their intentions quite clear.

ALISON CALDWELL: Those intentions include detaining him at Villawood and possibly returning him to
Serbia all over again.

Robert Jovicic's special visa expires at midnight tomorrow, making him an unlawful non-citizen.

The Howard Government wants him to apply for Serbian citizenship as a sign of good faith, something
Robert Jovicic doesn't want to do.

ROBERT JOVICIC: Isn't it a pointless exercise and I just don't understand what this question is of
good faith. If that's the case then why do they really want me to do that?

ALISON CALDWELL: It's unclear whether the Serbian Government would even grant Robert Jovicic
citizenship.

A spokesman for the Immigration Department said a successful claim for Serbian citizenship would
act as an insurance policy for the Howard Government, were Robert Jovicic to return to his old
ways.

For his part, Robert Jovicic says that's unlikely, given what he's done with his life since he
returned to Australia in March last year.

ROBERT JOVICIC: I just want to put some closure on the matter, you know, and have this resolved and
to be able to get on with my life just like everybody else.

ALISON CALDWELL: Now living in Sydney, Robert Jovicic works for a company installing garage doors.
He pays his taxes, along with his weekly rent, and he's made good friends both at work and outside.

ROBERT JOVICIC: They've been extremely supportive. I had a comment the other day that they were
saying that they were prepared to tie themselves to trees, which was really funny.

ALISON CALDWELL: Robert Jovicic gave up heroin when he left jail in 2000 and he says it'll stay
that way.

ROBERT JOVICIC: That's a place that, you know, I certainly would not ever wish to visit. Am I
tempted in the situations that I face in my daily life with all the stresses going on? No, it
couldn't be further from my mind.

ALISON CALDWELL: He's hoping the new Immigration Minister, Kevin Andrews, will renew his special
purpose visa and eventually grant him permanent residency.

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle agrees Robert Jovicic deserves another chance.

KERRY NETTLE: Well I think Kevin Andrews has a real opportunity here to set some things right in
the way in which the Department of Immigration has been operating, to show some compassion, to show
some commonsense.

This guy's Australian. This is where he should be.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: That's the Greens Senator Kerry Nettle, ending Alison Caldwell's report.

And a spokesman for Kevin Andrews said the minister wouldn't comment, the matter was still under
consideration.