Racist discrimination


By Sean Healy

Resistance recently had direct experience of Australia's discriminatory immigration laws.

We invited Farooq Sulheria, a leader of the Labour Party Pakistan (LPP), to our national conference in Melbourne earlier this month. Farooq applied for a visa at the Australian embassy in Islamabad in early June.

His first application was refused. The reason given by embassy officials was, "Pakistanis are a bad risk". They added, "This applicant has not been able to prove that he has a reason to return from Australia" — Farooq is not wealthy or married or employed by a prestigious company, and he does not have an extensive travel history.

Farooq's second application included letters vouching for him from many organisations, including Resistance, the Democratic Socialist Party, the National Union of Students (NSW) and the Griffith University Student Representative Council. Again he was refused. This time the embassy refused to acknowledge the existence of the LPP, the embassy's "Political Section" claiming to have no record of the party.

With the third application we submitted articles from the Pakistani press about the LPP, backed up by several angry phone calls to government departments in Canberra. The embassy decided to acknowledge that the LPP existed, but still refused to issue a visa ... Farooq was just too bad a risk. The embassy refuses to accept that the whole process was in any way racially or politically discriminatory.