Subject: ABC: E Timor welcomes permanent residency moves

Also: Democrats criticise Ruddock's methods for E Timorese residency

ABC

Wednesday, June 4, 2003. 12:31pm (AEST) E Timor welcomes permanent residency moves

The East Timorese Government has welcomed Australia's decision to grant permanent residency to nearly 400 East Timorese asylum seekers.

The Federal Government is also considering the cases of 200 others.

Consul General, Abel Guterres, says he will be briefing President Xanana Gusmao and Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta about the decision later today.

Mr Guterres says the move is a very important gesture for a future relationship between the two countries.

"I mean it's a sign of humanity and friendship between the two countries," he said.

"It's very good, very good for East Timor, very good for Australia and these are the people that will play a strong bridging role between two countries for many more years to come."

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ABC Last Update: Wednesday, June 4, 2003. 10:22am (AEST)

Many East Timorese left in limbo: Bishop

Human rights advocate Bishop Hilton Deacon is urging the Federal Government to remove the uncertainty many East Timorese refugees still face.

Federal Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock has announced he will use his discretion to award residency to nearly 400 East Timorese and consider the cases of 200 others.

There are another 1,400 East Timorese living in Australia.

Bishop Deacon says many in the community will be celebrating the decision

"Many of them would be delighted and thankful and I must say deeply relieved because they are living in shadowland," he said.

"In fact, it's been almost cruel in the way which they have had to live on tenterhooks, wondering whether they are going to stay here or go back to East Timor."

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ABC:

Tuesday, June 3, 2003. 11:24pm (AEST) Democrats criticise Ruddock's methods for E Timorese residency

The Australian Democrats have welcomed the Immigration Minister's move to allow hundreds of East Timorese asylum seekers to stay in Australia.

Philip Ruddock says he will use his discretion to give permanent residency to nearly 400 East Timorese and he is considering another 200 cases.

But the Democrats leader, Andrew Bartlett, says there is another 1,400 East Timorese pursuing residency claims.

And he says it would have been better to create a special class of visa for the East Timorese, who have been living in Australia for up to a decade.

"It would have been much less stress for the people involved, it would have been immensely cheaper for the taxpayer and it would have reflected proper justice," he said.

"All of the people who had very consistent situation across every single case and the fact is that virtually all of the ones he's considered to date he has allowed to stay."


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