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Ruddock must answer questions over visa.

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Shadow Minister For Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs


Media Release

28 May

M is ent today

conce • inister, along with the Members for Parramatta and Mitchell, attend a wper St,

• draiser, was $3000 donated to the Liberal Party on behalf of a person

• visa from

• that the person’s case had previously been rejected on four separate nal; and ber for

ssing system

is crucial. Under section 417 of the Migration Act, the Minister has the discretion to RRT have in many more ns since 1996.

s used and, although the cise of .

a standard

Minister Ruddock’s guidelines to Departmental officers from March 1999 clearly state mbit “reply ere there be extremely persuasive,

ter to order an investigation into Minister Ruddock’s use of his 1996 so that the Australian people can be reassured umanitarian processing system.

Attachment: Further information on section 417 of the Migration Act

For further information: Laurie Ferguson MP on 0418 601 716


Ruddock must answer questions over visa

in ter Ruddock must answer a number of serious questions raised in Parliam rning the use of his discretionary powers to award a visa. Did the M

Liberal Party fundraiser in October 2001 at Romeo’s Restaurant in Co Parramatta? At that fun

seeking the use of Ministerial discretion? Following the donation, did the person receive a permanent residency the Minister? Is it true

occasions, once by the Department, once by the Refugee Review Tribu twice by Minister Ruddock himself despite submissions from the Mem Parramatta?

The transparency and integrity of Australia’s refugee and humanitarian proce

award a visa to an applicant even if the Department of Immigration and the refused to award one. Minister Ruddock has used this power to intervene cases than have previous Labor Ministers - on more than 1200 occasio

There is currently no transparency about how this discretion i Minister is required to table in Parliament a document in relation to each exer discretion, the document gives no details which would enable a proper analysis Specifically, it does not detail the name or nationality of the asylum seeker and form of words is used in each one in relation the reasons for decision.

that an officer shall analyse repeat requests and where remaining outside the a on my behalf that I do not wish to consider exercising my power.” In a case wh were two prior rejections by the Minister, there would need to newly emerging, factors for a subsequent reversal.

I call on the Prime Minis section 417 discretionary power since about the integrity of the refugee and h



Under the Howard Government, an asylum seeker whose claim has been rejected may apply to the Minister for Immigration to be allowed to stay on the basis their case raises unique or exceptional circumstances.

Currently, there is no transparency about how Ministerial discretion is used and there have been allegations in the past of political bias in its exercise. Minister Ruddock has used his power under section 417 of the Act to intervene in individual cases many more times than have previous Labor Ministers.

There was public concern when the Minister used section 417 to allow into Australia 200 Lebanese people either associated with or members of the Israeli-backed South Lebanese Army, some of whose members had tortured and murdered Palestinians and non-Christian Lebanese since 1980. Minister Ruddock admitted in April 2001 that this decision risked bringing war criminals into the countryi.

Labor believes that a non-transparent process will always be a source of public concern because of the potential for it to be misused for political or even private advantage. Labor will make the process transparent and ensure independent expert advice is obtained. Labor will refer each claim to the Asylum Seeker Claims Processing Review Committee for advice and will publish the recommendations of the Committee that an asylum seeker’s case raises unique or exceptional circumstances.

i Clennell, A. ‘Outrage as Ruddock opens door to Lebanese outcasts’ Sydney Morning Herald; 2 April 2001.