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Ruddock's step back a sign of things to come

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Ph (06) 277 2178 Fax (06) 277 8575

Office of The Hon. Duncan Kerr MR Shadow Minister for Immigration and Assistant to the Leader of the Opposition on Multicultural Affairs

Media release 4 September 1996 RUDDOCK’S STEP BACK A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME

Immigration Minister Phillip Ruddock’s press release today entitled “Minister Announces Further Details of 1996-97 Humanitarian Programme" marks the first of what should be a succession of backdowns following his ill-thought-out and unduly harsh new measures across his portfolio.

Today Mr Ruddock reversed the 3 July announcement that would have prevented the immediate families of refugees and humanitarian visa holders from coming to Australia.

The July 3 announcement said that from that date only Australian citizens (NOT permanent residents of Australia) would be entitled to apply to sponsor under the Family Reunion Program.

The absurdity of applying this rule to refugees who are desperately trying to locate spouses and children should have been obvious from the start.

The Opposition will continue to oppose the proposal that permanent residents lose their right to sponsor under the Family Reunion Program.

W e can expect further reversals, as Mr Ruddock now appears to be facing the reality of how his plans will impact on other Australian permanent residents who are being turned into second-rate Australians with second rate rights.

Media contact: George Haddad in Hobart on 0362 345 255; 0362 311 514.