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Immigration shambles continues

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Philip Ruddock MP


Federal Member for Dundas Shadow Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

Electorate Parliament House

Tel: (06) 277 4343 Fax: (06) 277 2062

Tel: (02) 858 1011 Fax: (02) 804 6739


It was always clear that the absence of reasonable discretion under the new Migration Act and Regulations would lead to many obvious cases of hardship.

The Opposition facilitated the passage of legislation and encouraged the establishment of the Migration Regulations Committee.

It has however, at all times said that the absence of Ministerial Discretion would lead to inflexibility and bring the Migration Program into disrepute. This is now occurring with frequent regularity.

The Opposition has given full support to the Government in its crack-down on illegals. It has pointed out vigorously the breakdown in administration through sham marriages and the flawed

business migration arrangements.

Regrettably, this tightening up of administration is compromised if the hard cases cannot be addressed in a timely fashion.

Cases which have recently come to notice include the threatened deportation of a young leukaemia sufferer and the required departure, before Christmas, of the husband of an Australian citizen who failed to lodge an application for change of status before becoming illegal.

The examples of long-standing Australian residents who belatedly become aware of a flaw in status and are then required to leave in order to reapply for migrant entry, if that is possible, abound.

For the officers involved in cases where such hardship is

patently obvious, the only approach to maintain sanity is to hide behind the letter of the law and this gives the impression of absence of compassion and sometimes hostility.

The Minister indicated that he would be reviewing the Migration Act and Regulations to achieve fairness and equity, to

reintroduce compassion and to produce simple and easily

understood guidelines.

This statement was in May. Where are the changes promised?

January 13 1991