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Thursday, 4 June 1987
Page: 4063

(Question No. 5281)

Mr Sinclair asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 28 April 1987:

(1) Is it a fact that Mr R. Kandasamy, a Malaysian-born Tamil, was sentenced to 5 months gaol in Melbourne Magistrates Court on February 1987 after pleading guilty to 3 counts each of imposition, making a false statement for the purpose of obtaining a passport, and entering Australia as a prohibited non-citizen.

(2) Is it a fact that the sentence was upheld on appeal to the County Court on 6 April 1987.

(3) Is it a fact that the court was told that Mr Kandasamy had obtained a passport by falsely representing himself to be an Australian named Ran Damieen, and that because Mr Kandasamy had posed as an Aboriginal, his Department issued a passport without requiring a birth certificate.

(4) Is it also a fact that the court was told that Mr Kandasamy had travelled overseas on the passport.

(5) How did Mr Kandasamy obtain the passport referred to in the County Court.

(6) What checks were undertaken.

(7) Were any references sought or representation received in relation to the application for the passport; if so, from whom were references or representations received.

(8) Has any action been taken to close this loophole in Australia's passport application procedures; if not, why not.

(9) Did Mr Kandasamy subsequently claim to have lost his Australian passport and apply for a replacement; if so what action was taken.

(10) What guarantee can he give that other persons not entitled to an Australian passport have received a passport using the same procedure as Mr Kandasamy.

Mr Hayden —In view of the content of the question, it was transferred to me for reply. The answer to the right honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) Yes.

(3) Yes.

(4) Yes.

(5) In 1979, Mr Kandasamy represented himself to the Passport Office to be a person of Aboriginal descent for whom no Birth Certificate had been issued.

(6) A letter from the Victorian Aboriginal Service Cooperative Ltd on 2 November 1977 in connection with a job application, certifying that Ran Damieen was of Aboriginal descent and was born in Darwin on 23 November 1955, was accepted at face value.

(7) As reported in (6) above.

(8) Yes: see (10) below.

(9) Yes. In 1984 applications in the name Ran Damieen at Sydney Passport Office, and at Melbourne Passport Office, were declined and the applicant was referred to the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs to clarify his citizenship status.

(10) Passport issuing procedures introduced in July 1983 following the Government's consideration of the recommendations of the Stewart Royal Commission require that applicants produce formal documentary evidence of Australian citizenship and proof of identity. Passports issued prior to July 1983 are no longer accepted as evidence of citizenship and identity for passport renewal and consequently, if there had been any similar case of a passport having been issued incorrectly, it would now be ineligible for renewal or expired.