Federal Parliament - Migration

March 22, 2021

Dr ALYLike most offices, my electorate office in Cowan deals with a large number of inquiries about immigration and about visas. One case in particular that I'd like to highlight today really does highlight the cruelty of this government's refusal to include parents as immediate family for the purposes of granting visas. The rules currently define 'immediate family' as a spouse, de facto partner, a dependent child or a legal guardian, but they do not include parents.

SBS recently reported on the case of Rajshree Patel, who has not seen her son, Nevaan, since July 2019, and that was just before the toddler was taken to India with his grandparents while she completed her Bachelor of Nursing. She's a single mother with a chronic illness, and she's applied three times for a travel exemption for her mother and father to bring her son to Australia but was knocked back. On her most recent application, her mother was approved for travel to Australia but not her father, and, understandably, Ms Patel doesn't wish to have her parents separated.

It's a very similar case to a case that my office is currently dealing with in Cowan. It is the case of an Australian citizen who is a survivor of domestic violence. She fled a domestic violence partnership, and having done that myself I know how scary and how difficult it is to do that. She bravely left with a young toddler while pregnant. She works full-time for herself and her toddler and for her unborn child. She is due to give birth soon and desperately wants her parents to be able to come to Australia to support her through this very difficult time. The effect of needing someone to care for her toddler means that, with only one parent here in Australia, she will be forced to give birth alone, and I think many members here today can relate to just how daunting that would be for her. Her mother is able to come to Australia, but she has been pleading to have her father also be allowed to visit. Despite the best efforts of my office and that of Senator Keneally's office, she has again been knocked back for her request. It truly highlights how this government has left behind somebody who has had the courage to leave an abusive relationship and who is now being left to give birth in isolation without family or friends besides her. I know that the member for Curtin delivered a petition to this House calling for the government to reconsider the definition of 'immediate family' to include parents, and I urge the government to do the same.