Immigration Minister Scott Morrison Answers Pertinent Issues: Alleged Child-bride Case, Syrian Passport Cancellations and Torture Claims

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By Athena Yenko | February 13, 2014 2:20 PM EST

A 26-year-old man married a then 12-year-old girl in an unregistered Islamic ceremony in the backyard.

The Lebanese, as reported, was here on a student visa. He had sex with the child for 24 times and had been accused of being a paedophile. Authorities became aware of the case when the man tried to enroll his "wife" in school. In order to do so, he gets a spousal visa. The imam who married the pair is now being charged too.
 
According to Mr Morrison, the suspect does not get a sponsorship arrangement. He had a course, he was enrolled and met the requirements. Fortunately, although there would not be any issue against him on higher education visa, anyone who is on a visa is ultimately subject to the character test. Hence, the case and matter will have to go through the proper channels, and when it comes to finalty, there will be opportunities to take whatever action is necessary then.

Cases of young girls marrying older men had been widespread in the country, according to NSW Pru Goward in extreme observance of the migrants' Islamic faith. Mr Morrision was asked about the stand of the government about this.

Mr Morrison said that the government is in a strong opposition against the practice pending visas from high-risk countries in this area.

"It is our policy that no one under the age of 18 gets a marriage pending visa even if the marriage is intended to take place after the person is over 18. I think we have to be eternally vigilant on this sort of thing. We are very alive to it and I expect my department to be also and you know when people come to this country they have to abide by our values and our laws. It is that simple."

Syrian Passports Cancellations

As for the fight of Syrian migrants to dual passports - both Syrian passports and Australian passports - against cancellation, Mr Morrison was asked if the immigration department was responsible for the cancellation or was it sole discretion of the ASIO.

"No, passports sit both, well it will be advice from ASIO, but then there are decisions taken by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Foreign Minister and the Attorney General is also very involved. I mentioned on the program, I think last week Ray that the Attorney General is very focussed on this issue and we are working through a number of issues. We haven't got anything more to announce yet but I can tell you it is attracting a lot of his attention and mine because there are some important immigration issues that relate to this as well," Mr Morrison said.

Tortures at the Navy

Mr Morrison denied the claims as alleged by ABC.

"They have got to report the actual story which is no successful people smuggling venture to Australia in over 50 days and the government's policies are working. I mean last week Simon Benson who was up in Malaysia when I was there reported on the story that in one of the joint operations we did with Malaysia we actually intercepted a group of people coming back to Malaysia from Indonesia because the way to Australia had been shut by our government."

As for Senator Lisa Hanson-Young claims, Mr Morrison said that she should have an inquiry into whether Sea Patrol is fictional or real because she does seem to be a bit confused.

"I think people have formed their view on that performance but look the Senate, Labor and the Greens, will team up in the Senate and wherever else they can to try and undermine the policies that are working because the alternative to that is to actually acknowledge that for five years they got it hopelessly wrong, chaos, cost, and tragedy was the result and frankly they should be welcoming the fact these policies are working. I thought we all wanted to save lives at sea and stop the boats. That's what they certainly said when they were in government and supporting the government. That's what we are now doing so I don't know, I don't understand why they seem so intent on trying to drag down policies that are working," Mr Morrison ended.

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