Originally posted: Friday 29 October, 2010 – 09:06
It is nearly 10 months ago, yet it seems like a lifetime. I met my husband. I was just helping him with some paperwork, but we fell in love. I was impressed with his integrity, his love for his children and his fervent desire to just live a normal life after six years of wandering the world trying to find a safe haven. A small part of that history can be found at Seven Years Ago
. The last two years were spent here, in this land of plenty I still call home – for the moment. Perhaps not for much longer.
At the time, my husband was adamant that his visa was coming “soon” and due to his cultural values and beliefs, he could not enter into a formal relationship until, quote: “I get my visa, can get a job and feel like a man again. It is very important that I be able to provide.”
Unfortunately, I met him too late in this saga. unbeknownst to us, Australia was already planning his removal.
In what was just another bungle in two years of bureaucratic bungles, his legal representation did not turn up to what was, in hindsight, a vital meeting. My husband was snatched back into detention in preparation for “removal”.
My husband was blackmailed to undergo a medical in order to see me. The Manager of the Detention Centre was not going to allow the visit. I demanded to see the medical staff. She said I could not. I said I will sit down until you decide I can.
Eventually I was allowed a visit.
When my husband was placed back in detention, I felt like I am sure many girlfriends have felt in the past when war was declared and their soldier boyfriends were notified of being shipped out. Many of those couples got married before the soldier shipped out; had that option been available to us, we would have taken it. We weren’t given the time – my husband was gone in the blink of an eye.
Sent back to the country he fled in fear of his life. Back to where the scars on his body were inflicted. Back to where his father was murdered and his sisters are missing, presumed dead. Back to a life of hiding and fear and trying to stay alive.
Six weeks later I go to him and we marry. I am now the mother of four young children that I can’t kiss goodnight. I am the wife of a man I can’t touch, hug, kiss…….
Exactly one month after the wedding our partner visa application was lodged.
And so the waiting began………… with it the fight to slay Goliath: departmental red tape.
Correspondence goes unanswered. Phone calls are ignored. I am told my case is not as important as another case because in that case there has been an attempted suicide. Another office tells me too many letters of distress are received for that office to be able to deal with them.
My family’s safety is placed at risk by documents being made available to people who should NEVER have had access to the information in a country where information is a valuable commodity for sale to the highest bidder.
Procedural fairness is denied. The department advises me in a phone call (that I asked for on medical advice) that “new information has come in” making the case “complicated”. What is this new information, I ask? The caller doesn’t know. Has this information been made available to our lawyer? No, it has not. (Edit: It subsequently transpires that there is actually NO new information, the caller was it seems, confused.) (Yet later edit: There was indeed “new information” – just I was lied
to about it despite the fact it was the central theme of the Decision.)
The stress is debilitating. Partner visas are seen as a very “private” matter by the community at large, so trying to get support is difficult – there are no organisations fighting for the rights of people in love – it is a personal battle we must fight.