Australian children, foreign parents and the right to stay

3 Mar 2015

The Abbott government’s tough stance on border protection doesn’t only apply to asylum seekers arriving by boat

For almost five years, Solomon Islander Francesca Teua has been trying to convince the federal government to let her stay in Australia with her two Australian-citizen children, Kamoa, aged nine, and Alexandra, two. Teua’s hope is that the new immigration minister, Peter Dutton, will use his discretion to grant her a permanent visa, but she has already had similar requests knocked back twice. And there is no telling how long it will take the minister to consider his position.

It might come as a surprise that the mother of two children, both of whom are Australian citizens by birth, doesn’t also have an automatic right to live in Australia. At the very least, given the federal government’s professed focus on families, close parental relationships and the best interests of the child, it would seem safe to assume that Teua, in the absence of serious health or security concerns, would be able to traverse a fairly short and straightforward path to a permanent visa.

The opposite is the case…

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