Avenues for ministerial intervention in case of Mr Duong misrepresented
Friday, 17 January 2014
The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon. Scott Morrison, has rejected media reports and other claims that he refused to intervene in the immigration case of the Vietnamese national, Mr Duong, who was subject to a brutal attack in Victoria and recently was denied re-entry to Australia.
'Like all Australians, I was sickened by the physical assault of Mr Duong,' Mr Morrison said. 'It was an appalling act of racial violence and I commend the Victorian authorities for their successful prosecution and incarceration of the offenders.
'I also applaud the efforts of those who have assisted Mr Duong recover from his horrific injuries sustained in this attack and understand their wish that Mr Duong be able to return to Australia.
'I also acknowledge their request via petition and through other public statements for me to intervene in this case.
'As advised to media reporters yesterday, I have no legal authority to intervene in Mr Duong's case. There is no application currently before my department from Mr Duong or any decision of the Migration Review Tribunal presented to me for intervention.
'I am disappointed that these facts were not included in media reports on this issue, in particular the ABC, creating the impression that I had refused to intervene and that I and the government were insensitive to both the horrific attack suffered by Mr Duong and the issues raised by his supporters.
'To maintain a fiction of possible intervention in this case, by omission or otherwise, cruelly raises false hopes for Mr Duong and those who have provided advocacy on his behalf.
'As minister I have to deal with the facts of any immigration case, not the sentiment.
'I do not have the discretionary powers implied through media reports on this issue. To suggest that I have chosen not to intervene is incorrect and misrepresents the situation.
'Departmental records indicate that Mr Duong's visa was valid until 15 March 2013. Correspondence between the department and clients are archived as a matter of practice and our records clearly show the date of visa expiry as 15 March 2013, not 2014 as claimed.
'We are not speculating as to how Mr Duong's email has a different time, and my department is taking further steps to investigate the discrepancy.
'Mr Duong departed Australia on January 8 as an unlawful non-citizen since his last student visa expired on 15 March 2013. He currently does not have a valid visa to return to Australia, nor does he have a pending application with the department either onshore or offshore.
'My department at our consulate in Ho Chi Minh City has been in contact with Mr Duong and is available to assist him in how best to put forward an application that could permit his return to Australia, subject to satisfying the requirements of the relevant visa.
'Individual immigration matters are often complex and their management must follow the procedures and requirements set out in the Migration Act and associated regulations and procedures.
'To misrepresent the management of such cases and the position of the government, or myself as Minister, is unhelpful both to the handling of the person's case and communication with the potential applicant.'
Last update: Friday, 17 January 2014 at 13:43 AEST