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Minster has the power to allow family visa, but needs the heart

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Monday, 16 June, 2014

Minster has the power to allow family visa, but needs the heart

The Greens have introduced a motion to be voted on this Tuesday calling on the Minster for Immigration to grant a visa to the family of deceased Tamil asylum seeker Leo Seemanpillai so they can attend his funeral.

"This young man took his own life after living in limbo with the constant fear of being deported back to Sri Lanka while waiting for his refugee claim to be processed.

"He died in the most horrific way after setting himself on fire. As a nation we failed to protect this young man, he came to Australia for help and in the end gave up hope that he would get it.

"The least our Government could do is allow his grieving family who are in a refugee camp in India to be able to travel to Australia to say goodbye.

"While the Minister has the power to grant visas to the family for the purpose of attending the funeral he is refusing to do so.

"Leo's brother is in Sri Lanka and has a passport, yet the Minster has refused to give him a chance to say goodbye and pay his respects.

"There are times in our nations life where our willingness to offer compassion shows more about of strength of character than denying to a helping hand.

"Let's not get caught up in bureaucratic tape, the ability to give this family a chance to grieve is doable and all it needs is the goodness of heart.

"We appeal to the Minster to grant a visa in these special circumstances.

"He could use his power under the Migration Act to offer either a short term Safe Haven Visa or a Special Purpose Visa.

"The Senate will vote tomorrow, but the Minster could make the right decision himself tonight.

Media contact: Ali Neyle 0427 604 760