GROWING UP TO BE DEPORTED IN THE LAND OF THE GREEN & GOLD

Posted by SCA on  August 15, 2019 |
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6600 words – about a 30 minute read

An open letter to the Honourable David Coleman, MP

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs

“My wife and children are not willing participants in a victimless offence – they are pawns made invisible actors in a political play with a strong economic theme they should never have been made to perform – and against which I may die trying to rewrite, in service towards some state resembling equality.”

In reply to your letter of 6 August 2019, reference no MC19-009091, and in re the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream application, a permanent residency visa of primary applicant Scott Anderson, spouse and two children, inclusive as secondary applicants, and forming the applicant family; that the Minister attend formal ministerial direction (not discretion) to the Immigration Department, to permit said application find basic but effective existential submission by physical delivery, where such process dishonours no legislative prohibitions.  Under the exclusive application delivery vehicle that is the online immigration application portal, the sole and requisite delivery vehicle for submission of the visa application; a site administered via Home Affairs; where answers to the online-only-application questions do not comply with the analytics of the website, one simply cannot, literally, proceed forward towards completion of the 19 page online Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream application.

Our family fundamentally honour the spirit of this visa and we should be allowed to find review before the Minister, under his discretionary powers enshrined by legislation, where the clearly broader merits of our circumstances are in the public interest but can only be attended by his authority of broader merit review.  The analytical prejudice occurring via solely online submission practice, means even a literal and fundamental capacity to submit the application, even where it is ultimately denied approval at the department level; said denial of application at departmental level forming as it does, a statutory component of process, as part of comprehensive legislative procedure towards broader merit review before the Minister; makes the absence of broader merit review impossible and affects a denial of due process.

Where our own application for this visa has remained irrevocably stalled from even the basic act of submission from July 2018, as multiple letters to Andrew Wallace MP define and the existent application, itself, effectively marooned on the Home Affairs portal shall affirm, we also, respectfully, seek that these exigent considerations, in respect of process time already delayed, be brought to bear upon the application and said application be granted expedite in respect of that lost time.

 

Dear Minister Coleman,

When our family’s ancestors first settled in the lands around Melbourne the fastest transport you could find was a thoroughbred stallion, a functional lightbulb was almost a century from service, Flinders Street station (which opened in 1854) was not even a pencil sketch and if you wanted to speak to the world from our various family’s homes in Melbourne you had to use Morse code, because the only “net” or “line” available was produced by a confluence of fisherman working together draw a day’s earnings from the Yarra River.  Over the centuries our family have operated shops in service to the legions who came to seek their fortunes in the multiple Australian gold rushes, we have clothed this nation as garment makers, we have provided them accommodation and comfort as hoteliers, we have fed this nation as farmers and graziers and we have provided financial services to the emerging nation as bankers and financiers. All verifiable facts. We have in short, helped feed and develop the very nation that now leaves this house, and more pointedly, our children – abandoned.

Those abandoned children – our children, but collectively this nation’s children – Maya and Dylan, now aged 8 and 9, respectively and having resided continuously in Australia, from ages 1 and 2, are set to be ultimately and lawfully excluded from this nation – at some future, unspecified date yet to be determined, but likely to occur when they are adults, and after having known no other nation but Australia, as home.  Their removal orders will effectively come to follow after their final ongoing and cyclic “temporary” 461-visas fail to find capacity for renewal, tied as their ongoing 461-visas are to my 444-visa.  This outcome will be triggered by my death in our son Dylan’s case and not later that her 23rd year, in our daughter Maya’s case, where such event, or separate events, shall make application for their next “cyclic” and legally “temporary” five year 461-visa’s validity a legally impossible objective.  The perversity and punitive effect of such outcome should not be lost upon any reasonable member of the Australian community.

Our son Dylan, because he is disabled, will see him transition from a dependent child, at age 18, to a legal categorisation as a dependent adult; but his incapacity to fulfil the requirements of an ongoing or “newly defined” 461-visa, tied as those 461-visas are to my status as a 444-visa holder, will effectively expire with my death. At or about this time, Dylan, because his autism blocks normative expectation of finding our above noted permanent residency visa approved, and barring process of that same permanent residency visa, shall eventually find him afforded not even marginal protections of his “temporary” 461-visa.  At this, as yet undefined date, appended as it would otherwise be to my death, it shall come to pass that Dylan will ultimately be effectively dispatched to a world outside Australia, possibly alone, despite knowing no other home but Australia since age 2.

Where we are not granted the permanent residency visa, I live in horror, each day, contemplating this otherwise inevitable outcome and the Australian government’s role in its effectuation. Dylan will be removed from not less than four generations of Australian family – legally identified as Australians, many of whom were born and raised upon this continent of our ancestors, including grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and other greater Australian family.   He will effectively be left to die in some distant land, which will be lawfully allowable, and let to unfold, so long as such misery fulfils that axiomatic understanding that is “out of sight, out of mind” and that allied colloquialism, “not in my backyard” because no legislative inconvenience of such immoral outcome will be on display upon Australian soil – both axioms and legislative convenience affecting silent and quite tacit agreement to the horror of outcome that otherwise stand to lawfully be let to unfold in Dylan’s case, towards outcomes easily ignored where they are removed from the distress of one’s sight or contemplation.  I wish to stop such outcome or consideration be let to find such oxygen.  Let me be blunt, and with respect: this is Un-Australian and I attend such commentary with very sober and very serious statement.

Nuanced legislative policy should not be let too so traumatise a family, as it segregates a house; and then fatally disband that house, after decades of life lived within Australia; especially where broader merit review would find that family to reasonably, genuinely and authentically form a part of this nation. Where half of adult mental health consequences within Australia are affected by events before the age of 14, and where Minister Gregory Hunt, himself, only as early as this week, in public commentary, believes families should not be let to “fall between the gaps” the role of Australian immigration policy on this house should not be let to be so complicit in its inevitable mental health consequence upon that house and more distressingly still, the children of that house.

Where the story of our son Dylan is devastating, the outcome for his dear sister is no less grim, though her undoing will likely occur at a different “schedule”. As for our daughter, Maya, her effective receipt of a removal order will be marked, even more urgently, and may occur as early as her 18th birthday, but not later than her 23rd year (where she remains at study her 18th year won’t mark the beginning of the end – that existential marker moved, via legislative compliance, to her 23rd year).  Where such study is even affectual it shall be profoundly expensive, indexed as she will be as a “foreign” student paying tuition rates up to 400% higher than “Australian” students, in service to the export of “foreign students” that is now the third greatest contributory driver of the national economy.   Again, perhaps it was sound policy in its broader application – that is not my comment – but the effect and unintended consequences upon this house is neither sound, fair nor reasonable.

Maya’s 18th year is not currently set to mark a freshman experience in university, despite already being honoured, repeatedly, for her scholarship and citizenship (that word “citizenship” morbidly ironic within our house, when you grasp the fuller narrative of our tale).  Maya’s 18th year will similarly not herald a gap year or other milestone but shall, instead, be the earliest threshold at which she faces a most disgraceful outcome under current immigration policy of Australia as it has been weaponised in service to economy and pointed firmly at this house: the earliest year the clock towards her incapacity to find shelter in the nation of her home and ancestral homeland through the threadbare protections of her “temporary” 461-visa and it’s effective five-year life cycles.  No one would dispute the need of immigration’s role in the development of Australia but the cynical industrialisation of the visa into an industry with over 100 visa variants now sets to destroy the lives of children who are, by any rational and fair indexation Australian and very much Australia’s children.  We are an Australian family, as generations of our family are and ancestral clan have been before us.

I would like you to work with me towards finding a legislative remedy, via the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream, to affect a rational outcome to the nightmare we have been forced to live for seven long years now; that such an occurrence not be let to fold out over another decade towards an even more grim but inevitable consequence; and more so too, that not one year longer be made to be endured.  The otherwise inevitable outcome set to befall this house in nine years, and possibly sooner, should be repellant to any member of Government.  Where we have affected such misery with little of the normative protections of things like Medicare and other resources of both bona fide permanent residents, citizens and even casual holiday makers from any of 11 RHCA signatory nations having a punt at permanent residency, against our remit of shocking challenge, including a disabled child, finds, I think you will agree, this memorandum to be restrained and measured; articulated as this correspondence is against the forces brought to bear upon this house.

The Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand visa serves as a lawful mechanism that enshrines this family’s otherwise permanent place in Australia.  Where we honour the intendent definition of permanent before every residence and character level; and where our comportment as persons within this nation reflect only the best in exemplary lives, personal values, work and community participation our exclusion from permanent recognition against this visas metrics; where such metrics see us solely excluded under an analytics set at disqualifying our ability to affect a buy-in costing metric, for that is indisputably the only thing inhibiting our inclusion in the nation of our greater family upon the lands of our elders and ancestors.  The legislatively allowed segregation upon this house, and ultimate destruction of this family, should be gravely concerning to any fair minded member of the Australian nation.  We seek urgent review by the minister under his broader capacity to affect merit review, which we recognise as being in the public interest and in service to honouring not merely the policy metric of law but serve as a restorative of the law’s moral authority.

That children, like Maya and Dylan, having lived the entirety of their lives in Australia, as 8th generation descendants of this continent, shall ultimately and genuinely face such a deportation order, exemplifying as they do, the best of Australian values is, of itself, a matter that should concern anyone in leadership.  Such a legislative outcome brought to bear upon our children, will likely occur long after you cease to be the relevant Minister and potentially even after you’ve left Government.  It is my fervent hope however that this understanding shall neither impede nor be factored into our request for your assistance.

Somewhere, likely post, 2028, Maya and Dylan, having grown up surrounded by not less than four generations of modern Australian family and knowing no nation but Australia as home from ages 1 and 2, respectively, shall confront not only my loss as their father in death but the very real existential threat that is the hydra of immigration policy cast upon this house and set upon them with profoundly punitive consequence.  Such outcome should not be allowed the glare of legislative authority, no matter how twisted policy has been made to affect attendant compliance to the light of such legislative integrity.  This house needs to find inclusion in the process that results in the issuance of a Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream visa, it is the only rational, humane and legislatively allowable remedy to this crisis, unintended as such inevitable consequences upon us may have been, where such punitive effect shall be both undeserved and devastating.

This house works 5 and 6 day weeks in paid work, every week, every month, every year.  We work 7 day weeks in unpaid work caring for our disabled son, every day, every week, every month, every year.  We do not take holidays – ever.  I invite you to try finding value in a life like this, especially where it is set to hold no hope. We have no respite breaks and have affected such trying ritual for seven long years.  We are the very personification of lifters even as we are decimated by leaning weights borne of analytics affected in service of a broader economic narrative that we, quite paradoxically, only help.  We do this without even the basic dignity of Medicare, I alone in our house possessing that privilege.  I sacrifice my life in service to our son in unpaid, unvalued and unrecognised work that often encompasses many a sleepless night and my wife works full time in paid work and helps when she is home.  I think we are not just carrying our load as a family but exceeding expectation.

We should be found to satisfy the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream visa. Full stop.  Where nuanced exclusion is present that blocks that objective, let us work together to find nuanced legislatively allowable remedy. Let the application be submitted, fulfilling law, let it be rejected, fulfilling law, and let it find your reasonable review against our broader merit, which is surely in the public interest, fulfils law and the better expression of a nation we know as home, has been home to our elders; and a nation held up to the world as a leading liberal democracy whose values are reflected in both words and deeds. Such an outcome not only fulfils law but becomes contributory in defining the moral authority of law.  No one is above the law but no one should be so castigated by its consequences, even where unintended, as to see echoes of the Immigration Restriction Act 1901 and the White Australia policy it fuelled, be allowed to echo across the years upon a good, decent, hardworking and Australian family, descendant from centuries of similarly honourable and contributing family, upon this continent.

Our children will have known only marginalisation and segregation their entire Australian lives, but more so too, at or shortly after the year of my death, they shall dutifully comply with a most unfair – and profoundly costly – legal mandate to rebrand themselves as “temporary” visitors via a new 461-visa issuance with a five-year life.  At such time however, they will confront some future government department worker, in whatever designated agency shall at such time be tasked with the “delivery of immigration services”, tell them words to the affect, “You are not eligible for a 461-visa, I’m sorry but that’s the current policy,” or similarly “you’ll have to explore alternate visa opportunities” (even where none exist), as if such statement somehow excused the clearly and profoundly punitive statutory outcome visited upon them and made to be endured from the very nation that is, by any rational measure, the country reflecting their lives from the very beginning of those known lives.

I know this portentous outcome to be true because I have spent hours speaking to members of government, immigration lawyers and even the good people of Home Affairs, as well as various other agencies tasked with immigration matters, within government – many of whom have been very sympathetic and empathetic to our plight but are powerless to help us, that prerogative resting solely with you as the germane Minister for immigration matters.  This last point is critical because so many actors in the drama have affected tacit agreement to our misery, even as they’ve removed themselves from duty of care or concern by simply articulating they are legislatively powerless or suggesting we “seek professional advice” which, I can tell you now, we have also dutifully affected, ad nauseam.  The collective advice of all involved parties may be well intended but like the path to hell it leads nowhere good – and in many instances, has been let to become little more than a convenient dismissal.

The complete lack of any moral probity under such an outcome, like that looming in our future, and absent the change you and I can bring to bear today, is quite clear, or should be clear, to any reasonable member of Government.  I am determined to see this outcome changed and I, respectfully, invite you to help me recast this narrative into an outcome better deserved by this house and reflecting the fair ambitions of our shared ancestral lands.

Where systematic computational algorithms have replaced the once discretionary authority of government workers in Australia, grappling with an increasingly expanding class of visas; and where such immigration policy and protocols have been allowed to affect a broad mandate of monetised metrics over merit, I wish to note that death by analytic noose is not the better handiwork of leadership.  We can do better – we must do better – the very lives of children now rely upon such outcomes.

I am not being confrontational, just as I am not being glib, nor am I being hyperbolic.  I am respectfully prosecuting an urgent case for the right of our children to know the nation of their identity and history – to know the nation in which the totality of their very lives has been lived –  in a fair and meaningful way; and not have those real and genuine lives torn asunder by a benign and indifferent algorithm of affective human indifference.  Monetisation as a value metric is critical to any economy but the exclusion of all other merit in service to such narrow value distinction is not the stuff of democratic states.  Where our son was healthy and our very real work – both paid and unpaid – was factored we would have easily found conveyance to permanent residency and the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream visa, can still be used to honour the fair and broad merit of this house.

I will take on faith and evidence that you are a man who respects the law, but also holds such law against a mandate for moral authority.  I will also posit that where you personally began to further explore our predicament you will find the lawful segregation of this family within Australia to be decidedly immoral, even vulgar, despite such distortion finding perfectly legal causality under authority of policy protocols.  Where a perfectly legal but immoral outcome is the unintended consequence of legislation, as in our case, I believe a remedy respecting both the law, while restoring its moral authority does exist – even where such remedy sets to see us further marginalised for years forward during processing, as would be the case under a Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream application, where processing times are approximately 1 ½ years in department, exclusive appeals and other time mandates.  At least such ongoing process would have a rational end.

In 2019, our children, Maya and Dylan, exist as 8th generation descendants of people who’ve honourably existed within this continent – longer than the very name Australia or its federal government have even been defined.  Those two children, and the house in which they exist, should not remain legally segregated under nuanced contemporary immigration policies, where such policy holds power of exclusion and force that may be as strong in bond as any law from which those policies draw their oxygen but whose probity as it is shown to bear upon this house holds no reasonable, fair or moral authority.  The machinations of those recent immigration policies now append themselves as divided legislative cells to our family and work like a determined cancer, that unless I change such certainty, will see our children ultimately cut out from Australia, as if they themselves were a disease.  Where this house and those children only radiate virtue such an outcome is despicable.

I feel that transcendental sadness of a husband and parent forced to accept the profound loss of hope – but for the children, especially Maya, who is so acutely aware of things, I reflect quite earnestly upon the understanding that suffering without hope is the stuff of torture.

We pay our taxes assiduously each year, we form a greater Australian family and we are active in the community.  As a multicultural, multiracial, multinational family descendant from two centuries of Australian family we should be the very personification of modern Australia.  But where monetised analytics do not merely find priority but have profoundly subverted, even arrested broader merit, even where such merit is certainly in the public interest, we are instead reduced to a kind of segregation not known to convicted criminals within Australia, in terms of ultimate punitive outcomes to the rights of a life.  We are lawfully let to be left amongst the most legislatively disadvantaged and segregated houses in this nation and set to exist until such time, as in the case of our children, they shall not even be allowed to exist in segregation.  We have done no wrong and we do no wrong and I think the punitive effects of such legislation’s policy protocols upon this house need to be brought to an end.

The cyclic reissuance of a 461-visa to my wife and children, until such time I am no longer alive, as a 444-visa holder, (at which point they no longer affect compliance to avail their “temporary” 461-visa’s cyclic five-year shelf-life), especially but not only because New Zealand is not an option of egress for us, is an outcome lacking any modicum of integrity or moral authority.  We need a permanent residency visa and one exists.  We need entry to its review that Ministerial discretion may be exorcised and this family be allowed the clear air it so urgently needs and deserves.

Where our son, Dylan, cannot avail the exclusion to the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream because his autism diagnosis has been analytically monetised and deemed a threat, I wish to remind you of the reply from your office at 6 August 2019 informing me of a causality upon which Dylan’s exclusion was tethered, involving as such defence does, a favourable preference to Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents. To whit, the Australians whom you serve and in whose name are defended against Dylan, as an excluded costing threat, in service to, “safeguarding the access to Australian citizens and permanent residents to health care and community services in short supply”, again, as noted by your letter of 6 August 2019, include his grandparents, my own twin brother and his wife, that twin brother’s children, as well as the other members of four other living generations of Dylan’s very Australian family.  This paradox is a standard mutated into an outcome that becomes not just absurd, but verges on a kind of legislative obscenity where we are made to consume it whole as fair and reasonable – especially against the character virtues and work we have painstakingly affirmed in the face of such profound segregation.

Our son may have been found disabled, long after, it should be noted, we returned to the family clutch of Australia, but his material exclusion from even the modest cover of universal health protection that is Medicare, especially where his disability consumes no costly medicines, therapies or equipment, makes our profound segregation in this nation not exaggerated or even distorted when I call it out as a very real form of guest-worker-program, at best and a form of apartheid, in its darkest expression.  We do not expect a beneficial position for our efforts but I don’t think any fair person in Australia believes we should “cop a beating” for the sins of our sacrifice in service to doing the best the Commonwealth would ask of people and from any parents as they raise up a family in Australia, as anything other than equally recognised Australians or at a minimum as permanent persons.  We are not “temporary”.  We have no home in either shared experience or even physical form waiting elsewhere.  Our family and elders are in Australia.  Let us be home.

This is not hyperbolic nor is it a question of unwise word choices.  I have been writing to lawyers, MPs, departments and agencies for years in a quiet obedience and honour of process.  I am now writing directly to you sir, the Honourable David Coleman, MP as Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs.  I ask only that you do not seek the shelter of easy legislative cover and consider the human lives being buffeted about by policy protocols that are, at best, morally dubious, even where such moral dubiety was not the legislations intention – unintended consequences are as catastrophic as those set by design. I also ask you to consider my modest proposal that these children know the future in Australia they should most certainly be afforded by us all.

That previously mentioned letter of 6 August 2019, from your Ministerial office, (in reply to my letter of 3 May 2019) clearly indicates that you have no legislative authority to issue a ‘pre-emptive’ exemption to categories considerations forming the permanent visa we seek to enshrine our home within Australia, notably the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream; that you may only legislatively exorcise the authority of your ministerial discretion once an application has fulfilled the normal review process thorough department.

I accept this legislative outcome – even where changes to law have disproportionately devastated this branch of our otherwise largely Australian family, I respect, and shall always respect the rule of law and due process.  But where changes to application systems are now solely digitised and where that online application is governed by analytics, wherein the ensuing digitalisation  prohibits the literal submission of our application for the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream, we ask only that you affect a formal ministerial direction, (not discretion) to the Immigration Department, to permit the application to simply find existential submission by physical delivery – such process dishonouring no legislative authority.  As noted, under the online immigration application portal via Home Affairs, where answers do not comply with the analytics of the site, one simply cannot proceed forward towards completion of the 19 page online Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream application.   It is abundantly clear that I am trying to find a causeway of compliance to accord the marriage of both law and morality while honouring codes of ethical conduct.

As you will also surely know, migration agents suggest that where one fails to fulfil the “assessment” of a visa system that now dwarfs 100 variants, one is advised to simply continue seeking out a visa that will comply – as if this is all some game or gambit or bilateral proposition where egress to home or simply remaining at home, were an authentic and genuine option.  What happens when you’re an authentic and genuine Australian family under any reasonable system of merit but you fail the metrics of the industrialised visa system?  What happens when none of it is a game and “remaining home” or “returning “home” is not an option because you are finally, at long last, allowed to acknowledge your place of residence as home and hold hope that such may remain thus for your children?

There is no doubt that in our case, and any case of similar nature finding itself before you for merit review and potential exorcise of ministerial discretion, a child’s physical disability, like the presence of our son Dylan’s disability, incontrovertibly fouls the normative expectation of the application at department level; but where such process of application is now a requisite condition towards finding ultimate mercy before your attention, as lawfully allowed under the authority of your legislative discretion, we ask only the capacity to attend to due process. The broader merit of our circumstances, the public interest, the Migration Act 1958, Migration Regulations 1994 and due process, all find honour and recognition towards a resolve that affirms the values of Australia, as well as our genuine home within this nation and its place as a country reflecting our authentic ancestral lands.   We ask you only to allow our application to fulfil a processing directive, as a physical submission, that affirms both broader law and specific procedural order under law.  A formal ministerial direction, to the Immigration Department, to permit the application to be submitted by mail or other physical submission does not violate law while also enshrining a reasonable compliance mechanism by which the discretion we so urgently seek can be lawfully justified.  The recognition of this genuinely Australian family and the protection of the vulnerable children within that family are quite beyond dispute while also satisfying public interest doctrine. The ensuing result is no legislative breach has occurred, compliance and respect of process has been affirmed and moral authority to be legally recognised as permanent persons is restored upon a family who eschew every conceivable value of their Australian homeland.

Maya and Dylan Anderson are, like all within this house, as verifiable facts incontrovertibly bear out, descendant from family who have lived and died in Australia.  Descendants who’ve owned businesses in Melbourne, Port Philip, Ballarat, Echuca, Geelong, Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and other points upon the continent.  They acknowledge family lost to Black Thursday bushfires of 6 February 1851 and others lain to rest within this Commonwealth.  Much of our blood remains in the continent’s soil.  The Holmes White & Co building, owned by the Children’s 5x Great-Grandfather, Mathew Holmes, once stood proudly on William Street in Melbourne and the Holmes White & Co building still stands on Lydiard Street in Ballarat.   Today our greater family include members of the ADF, chefs in Sydney, builders in Perth, publican’s in Brisbane.  There is, in short, nothing incidental, opportunistic, sudden, confected or demeritorious about our familial claim to Australia.

These applicant children, and the house within which they live, are effectively treated worse than visitors from any of the 11 RHCA nations, those persons at least having Medicare and those same children are made disenfranchised in a way that will never be known to even future citizens of Australia who have never touched the soil nor known a single ancestry in these lands. More so too, having lived the entirety of their lives in Australia from ages 1 and 2, respectively, Maya and Dylan, will be effectively and quite literally deported as adults, no matter the nuance of policy in which that otherwise inevitable outcome is framed, the outcome shall be so bleak.  This is not Australian and no future government’s machination attending to their future distress before the policy distortion’s making that distress real should be sufficient cause of exclusion or acceptable to any member of today’s Government.  We are not ok.  This is not ok.

Where any error in my remedy exists, I ask you assist me in affirming one be found, though a simple act of submitting the Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream, visa, even where it is set to be stalled by process of time, remains the best option I can determine that also affect legislative compliance. While we may be the extraordinary exception that proves the rule of otherwise good policy, our misery and lawful segregation should be found intolerable to any fair and reasonable Australian – and should not be let to stand for one day longer than has been ethically tolerated or legislatively intoned.

That we are among a rare cohort of families that have not simply been present in one but both Tasman nations of New Zealand and Australia, and have honourably contributed to the the growth of both nations, makes the narrative of our children’s segregation that much more unreconcilable. Our family have aided in the development of what are today powerful economies and beacons of democracy that are the modern states of New Zealand and Australia.  We have honourably served and developed both nations only to see modern and highly nuanced policy now stand to see two Tasman lands similarly deny our children in ways framers of neither nation ever intended. Our family have existed in both Australia and New Zealand, attending a legal free movement fouled not be Federation but by John Howard’s legislative policy changes in ways that I believe John Howard, himself, would not posit were fair or reasonable, as they’ve been let to play out upon this house or the children therein, who are now rendered as vulnerable as any refugees. How do we reconcile the Howard Government changes where they do not affect my own mother and other family but incontrovertibly and fatally foul her own Australian resident descendants? The story of how my family came from such permanence of place to this precipice without hope is extraordinary, more so because it is all true, verifiable and borne out by the historical record.  The very substantive broader merit, that a highly narrow and analytic digitised immigration review system now fails to even acknowledge, means your discretion shall ultimately be essential in restoring fairness to our family.

Our son is vulnerable.  He finds himself disabled through no malfeasance, distortion or corruption on our part; and more curiously still, had we been present in country when my parents returned Down Under, over a quarter century ago, he would, in theory, be an Australian citizen today.  Had our son, in fact, been present during any time over two centuries my family have called Australia home, until nuanced changes of the Howard Government, our son would be legally home.  My parents are Kiwis but called Australia home far longer than that other Tasman nation and in times where such distinctions were not just incidental but legally inconsequential. My anomalous birth in Canada and the birth of my children and wife in the Philippines have incontrovertibly fouled our legal position within both sovereign Tasman states of the Crown, even where I am a New Zealand citizen, and leaves our children in a misery that verges on those deprivations and denials known by refugees – before they migrate to protective lands, like Australia. We are a proud Trans-Tasman family dating back across both nations for centuries but such fact holds no equity of law, at present, though a finite mechanism does exist in your hands through the exorcise of your ministerial discretion to honourably and reasonably resolve our jeopardy.  We find ourselves on the thick side of merit but pierced quite cleanly upon a most thin wedge of law.

After what we have endured in Australia we would be forgiven for wishing to “go-home-tomorrow”, but for the fact that only Australia is home and therein rests the sober fact that there is no other home to go home towards – my wife and I not even sharing a single national identity nor she or my children having ever even left the greater Australasian region in the entirety of their lives. The distinction between “home” and “legally home” are, of course, distinctions of profoundly critical importance – and deprivation – in our house. Our greater Australian family is now made divided by the fracture of our house while our literal house of four souls is further divided by my holding of a visa quite different to that of my own wife and children, under a confluence of immigration policy protocols that have intersected in a way I am quite certain the framers of the Migration Act 1958, nor even the Migration Regulations 1994, did not intent and would not endorse as fair or reasonable.

In closing, I simply wish to ask you to imagine what it must feel like, as a caring parent of two children, to endure such miseries – the loss of identity, the uncertain future placed upon them, and the deprivation of even the most basic services, even as such consequences are exacerbated within a legitimate place of home and country, in service to a child deemed disabled within Australia, without even the basic recognition by the Government, that he authentically forms a permanent part of this nation – a branded visitor, forever, and thus legally marked for lawful segregation and denial of the most basic services.

We may truly be the most segregated single home among 9,000,000 homes in this nation.  A consideration made even more distressing where we lead exemplary lives, do not let such segregation colour our moral duty and should reflect the best of Australia. We deserve to be recognised as descendants of good and honourable Australians, as permanent residency lawfully enshrines; but we are instead lawfully treated amongst the worst under a perfect storm that is the confluence of dispirit policies.

The destruction of our family is easy to ignore; you neither have to witness it nor find need of objection where perfectly legal policy (no matter how nuanced in its distortion) is allowed to justify our misery.  The ambitious and assuredly well-intentioned staffers in your office, whether they hail from ANU, Monash, UNSW, or the University of Sydney or of Melbourne, or some other fine institution of higher learning, will probabilistically skim our very personal (and truthful) narrative with concern but so too, with some fatigue.  It will be made more burdensome because of a length I concede was not my pragmatic design when I began this letter.  However, I implore you to imagine not the solicited moments it takes to read this letter but consider the pain filled minutes that make up every year within our Australia that we’ve spent protecting our family from deprivations no one should have to endure in Australia.  A few minutes of a staffers time are not so great an ask in service to an honourable request but I ask forgiveness against time consumed and acknowledge the efforts of the reader.

This preceding paragraph most certainly not a cynical supposition, only the acknowledgement of reality in the modern world and the pressures brought to bear upon us all with proportionally limited time. I wish to memorialise such uncomfortable probabilities here, too, with respect because a call to action, like empathy, needs no funding but may find neither.   No family within this nation should be gamed the way we have been let to suffer – not under legally allowable mechanisms and certainly not under illegal mechanisms – and yet, under the former perfectly legal mechanisms: here we are, suffering in ways clearly unimaginable to most people and confounding to most notions of constitutional fairness.  While we satisfy no legislative allowance as refugees, we are surely displaced people, which is the very essence of a refugee.  That such a displacement has been let to occur in our ancestral and familial home of Australia is a morbidity any rational actor should struggle to accept as reasonable.  We now search for a legal mechanism by which all sides can find peace and compliance and in which our children can hold a known future and identity.  Against our family remit this is a most modest proposal.

Australia should not be let to effectively represent, to our family, a metaphorical abattoir, where our children, as young calves, are fed by us, even as we progress to an inevitable and quite terminal exit gate – as all the while upon such a pathway, we are set free only within very narrow parameters to survive within the existence we know in Australia.  We watch our earnings drawn from us against the profound costings of life in Australia and we are set by a curious design to fuel the Australian economy, even in our small but quite meaningful monetised contribution’s way (for that is all our worth holds under such analytics); until that age at which government same immigration analytics determines the “invitation” to exist shall be withdrawn; the children’s ongoing eligibility for a visa that enshrined their terminal segregation, since ages 1 and 2, respectively, let to effectively be withdrawn (let’s call it what it is, in its spirit, if not letter of lawful expression, the refusal to find even punitive legal right to exist is a withdrawal of their life here) and they are queue up to be terminated – by any other verb the outcome remains quite the same.  No family should have to countenance their inevitable destruction, especially where they hold authentic right of abode in familial and ancestral lands. This kind of future, even where I have taken bold liberty in its metaphorical representation, is no life to live in a country like Australia.

The good law, that was the 1958 Migration Act should not be so fouled by complex and competing policy, that today sees a one volume act now require three bookshelves to display; immigration law rivaling only tax law for complexity in Australia.  We affected clear migration to a broadly defined Australian family within an historical familial association of descent within this nation, only to be fouled by nuances of policy the 1958 Act surely never intended and even the Migration Regulations 1994 could not have envisioned, in their unintended but no less punitive consequence upon this house.

The common law courts abhor the abuse of children, even where unintended.  The Commonwealth Government, in its establishment of the attendant legislation, even where that nuanced statutory authority did not intend, but no less affects, profound misery and mental ditress upon these children, must understand why I seek to speak truth – and reason – to such power.  There is something profoundly wrong with the way this family is being treated within Australia under the custodial authority of legislation protected by your Government and I ask for your urgent reply to a most modest proposal to let our Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream application find procedural pathway to your desk that such, even unintended errors of such legislative consequence, be allowed lawful remedy.

Malcolm Fraser once famously said, “Life wasn’t meant to be easy.” I agree with the fundamental sentiments of this statement – we are often made stronger and better by adversity – but life should not be so unfair as to be impossible. And in reply to the less quoted conclusion of Mr. Frasier’s statement, there is nothing delightful in our suffering – nor character building or prone to encourage miraculous resilience. I can only quote from my open letter of 8 July 2017 to 35 members of government in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, “How can my children – one forced to be so mature she is more six years going on sixty, and the other aged seven, so in need of the continued love and structure of family, be made to grow up in a nation that by any measure should be their home but told forever that they do not belong? We four souls – Scott, Marilyn, Dylan and Maya Anderson, are adrift on the Australian continent while unintended and ethically distressing policy consequences plague us and perpetuate a continued existence under conditions any fair member of government would find distressing. As for myself, I feel that transcendental sadness of a parent forced to accept the profound loss of hope – but for the children, especially Maya, who is so acutely aware of things, I reflect quite earnestly upon the understanding that suffering without hope is the stuff of torture. For many people life may be a struggle but it should never be an impossible struggle. Where many wake to battle the banal duties and onus of obligations that make up the day we only wish for such pedestrian pressures. For us, the unbearable confluence of existential burdens is crushing and ever present and frankly, unbearable – these pressures mark the first breath of the day before the pedestrian pressures we all share even present themselves. We four persons are by many a measure of the word, refugees – displaced people with no home to call by that name, save for the one place that will not have us.”

In a nation, so increasingly respectful of ancestry, where nearly 1 in 3 Australians was born overseas, where the nation now honours and affirms the spirit of inclusion, where half the population have no ties to country predating the second half of the 20th century, the dispossession of this house is both cynical and, where children are set to be ultimately abandoned by the state, profoundly immoral.  Today we have no shared future even as Australia is the only past our children have ever known.  Today our very permanence of place is denied even as our ancestry runs centuries deep within this nation.

Australia is home, in so many ways, except one – and the only one that seems to matter – under law. Grant us the dignity of seeing a modest application for permanent residency find it’s legislative inclusion to process that it may come before you after its weathered the currents of an inevitably crushing review.  Let our Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream application find procedural pathway to your desk through a simple motion of literal submission to department by physical delivery.

We have been too long denied the legal right to call Australia home or invoke any rights as Australians – and we did not come broken but have been made sick by law and by country.  We ask your help in restoring us to health, that we may continue to fulfil the legacy of our family and that Australian nation in which that family has so long prospered and in turn provided so much prosperity to Australia.

I await your reply,

Sincerely,

 

Scott Anderson

15 August 2019, Sippy Downs, Queensland, Australia

 

 

In a nation, so increasingly respectful of ancestry, where nearly 1 in 3 Australians was born overseas, where the nation now honours and affirms the spirit of inclusion, where half the population have no ties to country predating the second half of the 20th century, the dispossession of this house is both cynical and, where children are set to be ultimately abandoned by the state, profoundly immoral.  Today we have no shared future even as Australia is the only past our children have ever known.  Today our very permanence of place is denied even as our ancestry runs centuries deep within this nation.

Australia is home, in so many ways, except one – and the only one that seems to matter – under law. Grant us the dignity of seeing a modest application for permanent residency find it’s legislative inclusion to process that it may come before you after its weathered the currents of an inevitably crushing review.  Let our Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) New Zealand stream application find procedural pathway to your desk through a simple motion of literal submission to department by physical delivery.

We have been too long denied the legal right to call Australia home or invoke any rights as Australians – and we did not come broken but have been made sick by law and by country.  We ask your help in restoring us to health, that we may continue to fulfil the legacy of our family and that Australian nation in which that family has so long prospered and in turn provided so much prosperity to Australia.

I await your reply,

Sincerely,

Scott Anderson

Sippy Downs, Queensland

15 August 2019

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