24 May 2006

Australia denies visa to 43rd Papuan asylum seeker

8:07 pm on 24 May 2006

Australia has refused to grant a temporary visa to the last of a boatload of 43 asylum seekers from the Indonesian province of Papua.

The immigration minister, Amanda Vanstone, says the man's application has been refused because he was found to be eligible to live in another country.

She refused to identify the asylum seeker, or the country where she said he could reside.

However, the man is believed to be the 29-year-old son of a prominent pro-independence movement leader in Papua.

His mother is believed to be a Japanese citizen living in Jakarta.

Lawyers acting for the man claimed Australia was using the man as a pawn to improve its standing with Indonesia, which recalled its Canberra-based ambassador following the government's decision to grant asylum to the other 42 Papuans.