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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 1280 ..

MR PRATT (continuing):

circumstances to be raised. Our country is quite vulnerable to people movements, legal and illegal. We have a special relationship with Timor, and that is another good reason why the federal government might determine in these people's favour. We are taking East Timor under our wing, and that is a very important role for Australia to play. Against that background I think this case needs to be determined favourably.

The Chief Minister raises the interesting situation of Kosovars, and he raises some very good points. It can be argued that there are Kosovars whose cases ought to be determined as one-offs, and these one-off cases could be determined without creating precedence.

I know a Kosovar family who fall into the category of being entitled to settlement in this country. They come from the small town of Vranje, which sits on the Serbian side of the Kosovo border. I used to drive through that town all the time once upon a time, shall I say, driving back between Belgrade and Pristina. Vranje is a vicious little town, and how Kosovar Albanians can exist there is beyond my comprehension.

I think that is a case where the federal government's system needs to be flexible enough to take those one-off cases into consideration. I will see what I can do, too, to represent that particular family. Perhaps we have too many letters flying back and forth on behalf of one family, but I suppose the more the merrier, Chief Minister. I can perhaps add to their cause by describing what I know about that part of the Balkans and why their case is fairly much beyond reproach.

The Chief Minister raised the interesting point of two different determinations occurring within one family. It is not surprising to see different circumstances applying to different people in the same family. It depends on myriad factors, including backgrounds. Let's hope that consistency is being applied in the determination of those cases. The Chief Minister's point is taken there.

I finish by saying that, while I hover on the side of supporting the settlement of this particular case, it must be taken into consideration that the factor of precedence is firewalled and the government must be allowed to exercise that consideration. We need to be patient and understanding. There are 20 million refugees in the world. There are genuine refugees, and other people, on the move in massive numbers, and this is creating difficulties in many places around the world.

Australia is vulnerable to that movement, and I believe we have to understand and accept that. So, a good refugee management program must take that into consideration, and we must be patient and understand why the government has to consider all of the factors. However, these refugees are clearly deserving of settlement, and I will watch where this goes from here with great interest.

MRS DUNNE (5.42): I rise to speak on this motion today with a little trepidation, not out of anything but goodwill towards the East Timorese people who live in Australia but out of fear that this will become another opportunity for bashing the federal government over its immigration policy. So far, there has been a general spirit of goodwill here, and I think we should keep in mind that this is a very sensitive issue.

I think we need to put on record the proud record of the present federal government in their dealings with East Timor. Between 1975 and 1999, Australia had a very sad record

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