Senate debates

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Statements by Senators

Penuela, Mr Cesar

1:41 pm

Photo of Helen PolleyHelen Polley (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak about Cesar Penuela and his family. Cesar is a local resident of Launceston and recently faced deportation due to a visa issue he was facing. Unfortunately, the Colombian-born Invermay father of two was facing deportation back to Colombia. Mr Penuela's children have lived their whole lives in Australia, are well settled at school and have immersed themselves in the culture and values of our country. His 14-year-old daughter, Maria, is an avid soccer player with the Northern Rangers and has dreams of being the next Sam Kerr. It's been a long road for the family.

Cesar and Claudia have been seeking permanent residency for a long time, so the family was very shocked when they were told they were about to be deported. To secure permanent residency, Cesar needed his employer to submit the appropriate documentation as part of the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa. This did not occur, and time had passed. Unfortunately, the situation for Cesar was very stressful, as he was uncertain of his future.

He and his family were due to leave the country on 17 November. But what happened? We got elected. And what are we doing now? We are cleaning up the mess left behind by Scott Morrison and his government, which failed to act on behalf of this family. It has been left to the new minister for immigration, the Hon. Andrew Giles, who has been providing assistance to the family, and the good news is they've been able to return to Tasmania. They're on bridging visa E with a work waiver, and the next skills visa that they will apply for will include an assessment of Cesar's skills. The good news is there is a much better outlook for him and his family. But it was a terrible situation the previous government was unable to resolve for this family.