Wednesday February 23 2005 7:45am WST
For Immediate Release
"The deportation of a 104-year-old Chinese woman should be ample reason for an extension of the planned Cornelia Rau inquiry, and an inquiry into the workings, use and misuse of departmental regulations, and immediate sackings of those who authorise the workings of DIMIA", WA based refugee lobby group Project SafeCom said today.
"The news about the planned deportation of Mrs Cui Yu Hu was reported by the Melbourne Age this morning, and the plans follow expressions of outrage by fruit growers last week over the entry without notice, questions or police or court permission on their properties by compliance teams of DIMIA, unaccompanied by Federal police or without authorised search warrants, but where instead, when questioned by the property owner, DIMIA officers pulled out a notebook out of their pockets and proceeded to write out their own "home made" warrants on the spot."
"The Department of Immigration's Compliance Branch has become John Howard's own Mafia gang, and as the Cornelia Rau affair brought to light, its officers are at no stage scrutinized by the courts or seem to ask or need any outside authorisations about its operations, even if people are locked away in secret."
"When John Howard at the time of TAMPA unlawfully used the Defence Signals Directorate and its spy facilities to eavesdrop on communications of the Norwegian government and on lawyers acting for the TAMPA asylum seekers, he set a standard that includes corruption and a status of zero checks and authorisations by outsiders or arbiters. And since that time DIMIA has increasingly acted happily within the same realm of Gestapo-style self-authorisation."
"This is a government department that plays God with the lives of innocent people, and sackings should follow - starting with "Mr Teflon" Bill Farmer, who authorises these appalling forms of governance, that amount to methods that should only have a rightful place in a dictatorship, but that should never take place in a democracy."
For more information:
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]
Happy 104th birthday - now leave
By Andra Jackson, Sharon Gray
February 23, 2005
Cui Yu Hu's relatives cannot believe the Immigration Department would seriously consider deporting a 104-year old.
When Mrs Hu turned 104, on February 18, she received letters of congratulations from the Prime Minister John Howard, Premier Steve Bracks and Governor John Landy.
But after 10 years in Melbourne, she also received a letter refusing her an aged-parent visa.
The Immigration Department letter said she could appeal to the Migration Review Tribunal.
Until now, Mrs Hu has been on a bridging visa with no medical coverage while her case was considered.
"I have no status here," she said, shaking her head sadly, as her adopted daughter Motoko translated at their Narre Warren home yesterday.
Mrs Hu, a widow since 1973, no longer has a home in China and has outlived friends and family from Xinjiang province.
Her family and the Chinese community believed it was heartless not to grant her an aged-parent visa, family friend Chap Chow said.
Motoko and her two grandchildren, who brought her to Australia on a 12-month visitor's visa in 1995, are her only family. When she tried to return after a year, no airline would take her.
Her case comes as 15-year-old student Nak Assavatheptavee, who has spent half of his life in Melbourne, and his father Charoon are being forced to leave for Thailand on Friday.
Mrs Wu, married young to a man whose work required them to move, led a lonely life. That changed when, at 53, having moved to northern Manchuria, she adopted an abandoned Japanese baby, Motoko. After Mrs Hu's husband died in 1973, she went to live with Motoko and her husband Bing Sen Yang, who migrated to Australia in 1996.
Giving way to tears, Motoko said her feelings ran deep for the woman who took her in "and treated me like her own child" after the Japanese invasion of Manchuria followed by World War II, when many were left orphaned and anarchy was rife.
Mrs Hu, whose feet were once bound, walks with the aid of a stick, "eats everything" and attributes her longevity to "the heavens" looking after her.
But during the past year she has had two falls, resulting in steel implants.
Lei Sheng Tong, president of the Xinjiang Chinese Senior Citizens group, called on the Government of "this land of migrants" to show compassion. "The old lady is dependent on these two, who are pensioners, and this has put them under a lot of financial pressure and stress."
A spokesman for Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone said there was no age limit for visas but refused to comment further for "privacy" reasons.