1 Aug 2006

Papuan asylum seeker turnaround a lesson for Australian parliament, says Senator

8:08 pm on 1 August 2006

An Australian Senator says a decision by the Refugee Tribunal to overturn a government decision to deny a Papuan asylum seeker refugee status sends a message about the country's Immigration laws.

The tribunal has ruled that David Wainggai, who has been detained on Christmas island since January, is owed protection by Australia under terms of the refugee convention.

Mr Wainggai was among 43 Papuan asylum seekers who landed in Queensland in January, having fled Indonesia, claiming persecution by the authorities.

The other 42 were granted temporary protection visas in March.

Greens senator Kerry Nettle says that had the new migration laws due to come before the Senate been passed earlier then Mr Wainggai's case would have been different...

"He may never have been found to be a refugee even though now it's showing that he is a refugee and the first decision was wrong. Somebody in his circumstances may well have been returned to where they face persecution. To me it shows a lesson that I hope other members of Australia's parliament will listen to if they're being asked to vote on legislation that takles away people's right to appeal."