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Thursday, 14 February 2008
Page: 433


Ms JACKSON (9:41 AM) —Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker—and I congratulate you on your election to the position of Deputy Speaker. I rise today to speak on behalf of a small group of people who reside in my electorate and also on behalf of a number of others who live throughout Australia. It is perhaps an unusual group of people to speak on behalf of because these individuals do not have the right to vote in Australia. Of course, I am talking about people who are residing in Australia on 410 or retirement visas. There are fewer than 5½ thousand people who reside in Australia on a 410 retirement visa.

I was first made aware of the issues confronting these people when I was doorknocking the electorate of Hasluck back in 2001. Dave and Marie Austin, who at the time lived in Helena Valley, were very active local members of my community. They had left the UK. They had sold up all their possessions and moved to Australia, fully having made the decision to spend the rest of their lives here. But at that time they were obliged under the terms of the 410 visa to make an application every two years to renew that visa. They explained to me the stress and anxiety that was caused by that process. They also explained the requirements for them to deal with the Foreign Investment Review Board as they were ‘temporary residents’. Even over the purchase and subsequent sale of their houses, they were obliged to liaise with, and meet the requirements of, the Foreign Investment Review Board. Holders of the 410 visa confront a lot of red tape and contradictions.

Many of these people have banded together through organisations like BERIA, British Expatriate Retirees in Australia; AIRS—the Association of Independent Retirees; and, more recently, Retirees WA. I am sure members are familiar with all these organisations. They have banded together to try to address some of their concerns. Since 2001 there have been some enhancements and improvements to the conditions associated with 410 visas. Indeed, visa holders are now only obliged to apply every four years for their visas rather than every two years. Nevertheless, they still confront a number of contradictions and concerns, whether that is access to credit cards, difficulties with housing purchases or the complexities of dealing with the Foreign Investment Review Board.

I am confident that shortly a number of 410 visa holders will meet with Senator the Hon. Chris Evans, the new Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, as I recently requested. I hope he is able to deal with and address some of their concerns and issues. I urge other members of the House to take the time to meet with 410 visa holders in their electorates and to listen to their concerns and see if we can address these issues on their behalf. (Time expired)