How many times can we do this? I have almost lost count of the times we have done this in the last few years but here we go again. Kai Tippett and his family migrated to Australia about 5 years ago. At that time his daughter Sienna was 10 months old. Several months later Kai detected what he has described as a “bit of a wobbly walk”. And then commenced a series of doctors’ appointments and specialist consultations for Sienna. But all these years later there is still no diagnosis of her condition.
Kai and his wife decided, as is quite customary for a number of temporary resident visa holders, to apply for a permanent residency visa. Again as is now becoming customary, Immigration approved the residency applications for Kai and his wife. And again as is customary, they rejected Sienna’s application. The Tippett’s now fall into that category of applicants that I have written about in recent times. These cases are here:
Case 1: Dr Bernhard Moeller:
Case 2: Dr Siyat Abdi Hillow:
Case 3: Dr Cesar Sofocado:
Case 4: Enamul Kabir:
Case 5: Dr Nora Aziz:
Case 11: Deb Winspear:
And as I have written before this is what will need to happen now and into the next few months for us to get the Minister to overturn the sheer bastardry of the Immigration department:
“Is this what we have become? A nation that assesses the “value” of a potential entrant into this country in terms of a cost? Have we become a nation that is so economically rational that human beings are reduced to a number?
Even if we wanted to examine the cost to us as taxpayers (and I will state categorically that I am opposed to the very concept of that) the very least we could do is assess the productive capacity of this young girl and the value she may bring us in the future.
There is every possibility that this decision will be overturned by the Minister after the AAT decision. But the cost to the family so far of running this to its current stage is well over $10,000. Can the Minister intervene before the AAT hearing? No, the Minister can only intervene after all avenues of appeal have been exhausted. So the process has to be run as shown hereunder. And in all of the cases above we have had to play this out in the fashion listed.
- Primary application to the DIBP who WILL reject it.
- Appeal to the AAT (formerly MRT) who WILL ALSO reject it
- Appeal to the minister for ministerial intervention
- Concurrent to the above appeal to the Minister we need to run the Change.org petitions etc to influence the Minister.”
Again, as I have written before about these cases here:
“If I personally had been an applicant for residency status in Australia in early 2012 I would have been denied the right to gain this. A number of you would know of my health challenges of recent years. Those of you wishing to hear more can access an interview I did with Geoff Hutchison on ABC Radio here in Perth back then on this webpage here:
In brief, a heart attack, a quadruple bypass and the discovery of a cancer, followed by a Gastroectomy (Removal of my stomach) and long sessions of Chemo and radio therapy would have meant that I would have been considered a “burden to the taxpayer” and at a level above $40,000 of taxpayer expenditure.
A review recently by the Australian Parliament of the health requirements of the Migration Act summarised the issues herein as follows:
“Historically, permanent migrants and temporary visitors have been subject to some form of Health Requirement since the Immigration (Restriction) Act 1901 (Cth). Essentially this prohibited the migration of persons with certain types of infectious or contagious diseases. It was repealed with the introduction of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) (the Act), which is in force to the current day, although with significant amendments to the original statute. The Act, like its predecessor, contained a list of prescribed diseases which would exclude persons from migration. In addition to the Act, Migration Regulations were introduced in 1989 which prescribed new health criteria and removed all reference to prescribed diseases, with the exception of tuberculosis.
The Migration Regulations were updated in 1994 and introduced three Public Interest Criteria (PICs), as outlined in Chapter 2 to regulate Australia’s Health Requirement.
3.3 The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) suggests that there are a number of reasons behind the need for a Health Requirement. These are to:
- protect the Australian community from public health and safety risks;
- contain public expenditure on health care and community services; and enabling Australia
- To safeguard the access of Australian citizens to health care and community services that are in short supply.
- So, as a nation we are a signatory to the United Nations convention on the Rights of Person with disabilities. Articles 3-5 of that convention state the following:
- 3.4 An applicant for a visa will be deemed ‘not to meet’ the Health Requirement if they are considered a threat to public health in Australia (such as for having active tuberculosis) or where their disease or condition would result in significant cost to the Australian community or prejudice the access to health care by Australian citizens or permanent residents.”
“Article 3 – General principles
The principles of the present Convention shall be:
- Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons;
- Full and effective participation and inclusion in society;
- Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity;
- Equality of opportunity;
- Equality between men and women;
- Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.
Article 4 – General obligations
- States Parties undertake to ensure and promote the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons with disabilities without discrimination of any kind on the basis of disability. To this end, States Parties undertake:
- To adopt all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention;
- To take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices that constitute discrimination against persons with disabilities;
- To take into account the protection and promotion of the human rights of persons with disabilities in all policies and programmes;
- To refrain from engaging in any act or practice that is inconsistent with the present Convention and to ensure that public authorities and institutions act in conformity with the present Convention;
- To take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability by any person, organization or private enterprise;
- To undertake or promote research and development of universally designed goods, services, equipment and facilities, as defined in article 2 of the present Convention, which should require the minimum possible adaptation and the least cost to meet the specific needs of a person with disabilities, to promote their availability and use, and to promote universal design in the development of standards and guidelines;
- To undertake or promote research and development of, and to promote the availability and use of new technologies, including information and communications technologies, mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies, suitable for persons with disabilities, giving priority to technologies at an affordable cost;
- To provide accessible information to persons with disabilities about mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies, including new technologies, as well as other forms of assistance, support services and facilities;
- To promote the training of professionals and staff working with persons with disabilities in the rights recognized in this Convention so as to better provide the assistance and services guaranteed by those rights.
- With regard to economic, social and cultural rights, each State Party undertakes to take measures to the maximum of its available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international cooperation, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of these rights, without prejudice to those obligations contained in the present Convention that are immediately applicable according to international law.
- In the development and implementation of legislation and policies to implement the present Convention, and in other decision-making processes concerning issues relating to persons with disabilities, States Parties shall closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities, through their representative organizations.
- Nothing in the present Convention shall affect any provisions which are more conducive to the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities and which may be contained in the law of a State Party or international law in force for that State. There shall be no restriction upon or derogation from any of the human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized or existing in any State Party to the present Convention pursuant to law, conventions, regulation or custom on the pretext that the present Convention does not recognize such rights or freedoms or that it recognizes them to a lesser extent.
- The provisions of the present Convention shall extend to all parts of federal states without any limitations or exceptions.
Article 5 – Equality and non-discrimination
- States Parties recognize that all persons are equal before and under the law and are entitled without any discrimination to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law.
- States Parties shall prohibit all discrimination on the basis of disability and guarantee to persons with disabilities equal and effective legal protection against discrimination on all grounds.
- In order to promote equality and eliminate discrimination, States Parties shall take all appropriate steps to ensure that reasonable accommodation is provided.
- Specific measures which are necessary to accelerate or achieve de facto equality of persons with disabilities shall not be considered discrimination under the terms of the present Convention.”
There is little doubt that we are in complete breach of these articles of the convention. We have a Migration Act that is NOT subject to the Disability Discrimination Act and also specifically excludes the application of the principles of natural justice to the decisions of the Minister. What other measure can there be of the draconian nature of the Immigration system in this country?
For now we can demonstrate our abhorrence of these decisions of the Immigration department by signing the petition that has been established to assist the family. The petition is linked below. But on a longer term basis can I recommend that you take the opportunity to email or send your local MP a copy of this article with a clear principle of condemnation of the actions of our government. Let me emphasise that this is a party political issue. Both major parties remain guilty of the abrogation of human rights issues over the last many years. Take this opportunity to advise them that this decision is not in your name.