Tuesday, 20 June 2017
Adelaide blind musician David Lee fights deportation to Malaysia
ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
A blind musician who has spent a decade in Adelaide is fighting moves to deport him to Malaysia.
David Lee arrived in Australia in 2007, studied music at the University of Adelaide, and lives independently despite having been blind since birth.
He said his direct appeal to the Immigration Minister for a residency visa after other avenues had been exhausted had failed to sway the Federal Government, which said it could not intervene.
“In November 2016, the Assistant Immigration Minister wrote a letter asking me to go for health checks, police checks and all the final checks,” he said.
“The police check came back … everything was fine, but in May this year a letter came back … saying it was not in the public interest to intervene.”
South Australian Dignity Party MP Kelly Vincent said people with disabilities were being unfairly prevented from making Australia their permanent home because of a naive assumption they were a burden on society.
Kelly Vincent said Mr Lee had been fighting since 2015 against moves to deport him when his skilled migration visa expired.
She said a Senate committee recognised back in 2010 that immigration policies were unfair to disabled people but, seven years on, people were still being adversely affected.
“This isn’t really about Mr Lee, this is about an inadequate, unfair policy that the Senate even recognises as being such,” she said.
“They only need to follow their own recommendations of their own committee to reverse the decision.”
Mr Lee ‘backbone’ of Adelaide workplace
Mr Lee has been working to help other people with disability, his supporters said, having been with the Australian Disability Sport organisation since 2011.
“David Lee is, without question, our most reliable and consistent fundraiser. He works five days each week and earns enough money to support himself,” it said in a statement.
“David Lee is the backbone of our Adelaide-based team.”
The 34-year-old performer is a member of four-piece band, The Craic, and also sings in a church choir.
“For the last 10 years, I haven’t been to Centrelink, I haven’t asked any government department for any handout,” Mr Lee said.
He said a fresh application submitted this week for a three-month bridging visa extension had been granted, giving him longer to fight against his deportation.
Mr Lee said his relatives lived in Western Australia and in places in Europe, so he did not have family support if forced back to Malaysia.
A comment has been sought from the Federal Government.