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Baby Michael’s family declared refugees

PM Wrong - Baby Michael’s family declared refugees

Media Release: 6.45 am 31 May 2005

Yesterday, 15 of the Vietnamese asylum seekers who arrived in Australia at Port Headland in Western Australia, aboard the Hao Kiet in July 2003, were deemed to be refugee's by Australia including 3 children, after having spent nearly 2 years in Australia's costly remote detention processing centre on Christmas Island.

The parents of Baby Michael Andrew Tran, born in detention under guard in Perth (Monday 23 May 2005), father Minh Dat Tran, 39 and mother Hoai Thu Nguyen, 39 and 74 year old Grandmother Thi Tu Nguyen, were amongst those who received their good news today. One-week-old Michael will not be automatically entitled to refugee status along with his parents due to the Migration Act deficiencies which are coming under increasing question in Australia with a proposed members Bill by Liberal MP, Petro Giorgio.

Refugee Advocate Kaye Bernard said, "Failing intervention by the Immigration Minister to exercise her powers to grant Michael protection, the current Migration Act requires Michael to prove his case and stay in detention, possibly indefinitely." and Kaye Bernard added " to quote the Immigration Minister in her comments over Michael's situation last week, herein lies the absolute "ridiculous" and "insane" nature of a truly crazy law that needs changing right now."

The Hao Kiet group called themselves the 'Resistance Force' in communist Vietnam, and are pro democracy supporters, who, under Vietnam law could be subject to the death penalty for questioning the communist authorities if they were returned to Vietnam.

Prime Minister Howard jumped into the spotlight last week when he said that Michael Andrew Tran could stay in Perth in detention, contrary to the Immigration Minister and that his Government would not force Michael's family to return to detention on Christmas Island.

Prime Minister, John Howard said last week about Michael's family, "When their final status is determined, there is a question of whether the family returns to Vietnam," he said, adding that they could choose to go back there any time before that.

Baby Michael Tran left hospital yesterday with his mother and his currently held, despite the recent favourable refugee decision by the tribunal, under 24 hour guard by the Immigration Department in an undisclosed location with his parents and frail Grandmother somewhere in Perth.

There are currently 7 children born in detention still living under guard.
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