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Tuesday, 20 September 1983
Page: 1035

Mr BURR(10.49) —This evening I want to start what will be a continuing saga about the case of Mr John Griffin, an applicant for permanent residency in Australia. This case started back in early 1982 when Mr Griffin first arrived in Australia on a visitor's visa. The story was that Mr Griffin came to Australia to join his parents as he knows them. Mr Griffin was born in England. His mother deserted him when he was two years old and since that age he was brought up by his real mother's sister, whom he knew as his own mother. Her family, the Rossiter family, raised John Griffin as part of the family and from the age of two years onwards he knew no one else but the Rossiter family as his true parents. Unfortunately, the Rossiters did not officially and formally adopt John as their son. He continued to live with them in England as part of the family.

The Rossiters immigrated to Australia as permanent residents in 1970. At that stage, John was 21 years of age. He decided to stay behind in order to complete his apprenticeship training. Also at that time he was engaged to be married. He made his own choice to remain in England. The other members of the family subsequently immigrated to Australia and established their life in Tasmania. In 1980, John's marriage broke down and he was subsequently divorced. At that time he was advised by his priest to immigrate to Australia because he has had psychological difficulties. He applied to Australia House in London for permanent resident status in Australia, but was refused on the basis that he was not directly related to the Rossiter family. As a result, John decided to come to Australia on a visitor's visa.

He arrived in Australia on 2 January 1982. That was the only mechanism that he had available to him to be reunited with the people whom he knew as his direct family relations. At that stage, all of the other family members, including his grandparents, were permanently resident in Tasmania. When John arrived in Tasmania to be reunited with his family, he again applied for permanent residence in Australia as he wished to live permanently in this country with the other members of his family. That application was supported by the now Premier of Tasmania, Mr Gray, who wrote to the then Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, Mr Macphee, supporting the application that Mr Griffin had made and requesting that he be allowed to remain in Australia permanently. That application and the letter from Mr Gray were never responded to by the then Minister or the Department. The application itself, for some reason or other, was not handled by the officers of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs.

Mr Griffin's visa for temporary entry into Australia expired on 2 June 1982. At that stage he had not heard anything from the Department about the processing of his application for entry to Australia, either by way of the represenations made on his behalf by Mr Gray or any other officer of the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. He continued to believe that he would receive some correspondence from the Department, but none was forthcoming. In the meantime, Mr Griffin, in an effort to show how dedicated he was to make a permanent life in Australia, had joined the Australian Reserve Army, but refused to accept any pay for the service that he was giving to what he hoped would be his new country . When his temporary entry visa expired, he still had heard nothing from the Department. In August 1982, Mr Griffin was in camp with the Army Reserve at Brighton in Tasmania. Without having received any other correspondence from the Department, he was picked up by police and taken to gaol.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.