Case to answer on refugees


– Chris Evans satisfies me that the Rudd government is strong on national border protection, spending hundreds of millions of dollars to do so (Letters, 3-4/10). But he fails to convince that its policy on treating asylum-seekers who are no real security threat and fleeing persecution is truly responsible, humane and in accord with international law. Much better than the Howard government, but still short on humanity. How many UNHCR-assessed and recognised refugees has the Rudd government resettled in Australia from Indonesia and Malaysia these past 22 months—a constructive policy which would make that perilous sea journey and dealing with criminals unnecessary? Why keep 42 refugee survivors of a tragic maritime accident last April, against whom Northern Territory police could lay no charges, in indefinite immigration detention in Perth and Brisbane? Why fund other governments not obligated by international refugee law without guaranteed access to assessment of their claims? I for one don’t need to be aggressively protected from asylum-seekers who have the courage and drive to seek peace and safety. I’d sooner find humane solutions for them and their families. Frederika Steen, Chapel Hill, Qld
– Chris Evans’ statistics miss the point that our “illegal” migrants tend to come from those countries affected by wars into which our politicians have sent our soldiers. Much of the immigrant traffic would drop if we refrained from getting involved in other people’s problems, especially when they involve corrupt regimes. Ben Morris; Wollongong, NSW
– Van Phuc Nguyen was illegally detained for three years at a time when the Howard government was actively referring to asylum-seekers who had legal rights to seek refugee status in Australia as “illegal immigrants”. They had no problems in swiftly changing immigration laws to exclude large areas of Australia from the normal immigration process, yet they were incapable of changing the law to allow a legal refugee to be released. Now it looks like Australian taxpayers will again pick up the considerable compensation payout for the inaction and inefficiency of the Department of Immigration. If the buck stops with the minister it would be nice to see John Howard, Philip Ruddock and Amanda Vanstone admit the mistakes made happened on their watch and that they are responsible. I am guessing it would be too much to ask for them to offer to put their hands in their own pockets to assist taxpayers with the inevitable compensation payout. Doug Steley, Cowwarr, Vic
See: theaustralian/comments/case_to_answer_on_refugees/

Immigration’s tangled red tape highlights all that is wrong
Letters: The Sydney Morning Herald; 5/10/09; No Internet Text;
The story on Van Phuc Nguyen’s unlawful detention for three years in Villawood is only the tip of the iceberg in the need for review of the whole immigration review system (“Bungle led to three years behind bars”, October 3-4).  My retired mother-in- law recently applied to visit Australia to spend time with her three grandchildren, as she had done before. People don’t know that the visa process is out- sourced in Hanoi. A locally employed officer rejected her visa on the grounds that she did not believe my mother-in-law’s purpose and that she might violate the terms of the visa.
Not prepared to be treated as a criminal as my mother-in- law’s sponsor, when she has never violated a visa term before, I took the opportunity for her to apply to the Immigration Review Tribunal, filled in the forms for her as applicant granting me right to act on her behalf and was faced with the further indignity of having to pay $1400.Next, a woman phoned me from the tribunal saying the applicant’s name had to be myself, not my mother-in-law, and I had to fax a changed form. Despite my arguments that this did not make sense, they insisted and I complied. The following day another woman phoned to say, no, it should not be me as applicant, but my wife.
I again argued that my wife had no part in the proceedings, but again complied. I received a letter saying the application had been rejected since my wife was not party to the proceedings.
And they posted a cheque back to my wife, not me.My next complaint with all the details was to the Minister for Immigration, who handed it back to the tribunal to answer. His response was that the application had been rejected since my wife could not be the applicant.
It is surprising that Van Phuc is not still rotting in Villawood. Peter Nelson, Pyrmont