• (L - R) Eddie Nolan, Teresa Nolan and James Nolan. (Torres News)Source: Torres News
PNG-born man Edward Nolan has been detained and threatened with deportation pertaining to the 501 Section of the Citizenship Act.
By
Aaron Smith

28 Jan 2019 - 12:37 PM  UPDATED 29 Jan 2019 - 2:43 PM

The Department of Home Affairs has again detained and threaten to deport another PNG-born Australian.

The father-of-three and grandfather-of-four, Edward Nolan, 46, has lived in Australia for the last 44 years.

He was taken from Woodford Prison to a detention centre in Brisbane last Tuesday and has not been given access to legal help.

Mr Nolan has been stripped of his residency rights a result of Minister of Home Affairs Peter Dutton's 2014 amendment to the 501 Section of the Citizenship Act where the right to live in Australia can be removed on grounds of character.

To date several Australians have been detained and even deported out of the country due to the 501 amendment, including registered Indigenous Traditional Owners of the Torres Strait.

Mr Nolan said: “They told me I had my visa cancelled because of 501, what 501?

“I didn't what know a 501 was. I didn’t even know I was on a visa – it's unbelievable.”

With no legal right to reside in Australia, these being people locked up in detention centres can remain there indefinitely with little to no legal rights of appeal, and with no citizenship to another country, they are made effectively stateless.

Mr Nolan, who was born in Madang in northern PNG prior to Independence to a PNG mother and Australian father, didn't even know he was not an Australian citizen until he got a letter last September from the Department of Home Affairs.

He now he faces possible deportation to PNG, a country where he does not speak the language or has been to since he left at the age of two, a situation that has spiraled him into depression.

“They are saying because I was born in Madang I wasn't born in an Australian territory.”

Mr Nolan said he was asked to fill out some paper work stating where he was born, but didn't understand it was about his citizenship at the time.

Mr Nolan, who was sent to jail late last year for breaching parole of drug possession charges, was taken from Woodford Prison on January 15 and put into Brisbane's detention centre.

He was only notified by the Department of Home Affairs the morning of his move on and the emotional stress it caused resulted him being admitted twice to hospital with life-threatening high blood pressure last week.

Mr Nolan said: “As far as I know I am an Australian citizen, my Dad was Australian, my Mum is a naturalised Australian and my brother and sisters are Australian.”

“I've never left, I don't know any other language, I've been here my whole life.”

“I'm devastated by this, I'm a proud Australian, I barrack for everything Australian, I'm a proud Aussie – When I'm asked to describe myself I say I'm Australian with PNG Heritage.

“I've not seen two of my grand kids who were born while I was in custody – it's heart-breaking.”

Mr Nolan claims he did not fully understand the letter sent to him by the Department of Home Affairs in September.

Mr Nolan is one of five siblings all born in PNG and grown up and lived in Australia their whole lives, all of whom had no idea they were not Australian citizens prior to Mr Nolan's letter late last year.

Mr Nolan's sister, Donna Lee said: “I'm nearly 50, we have mortgages, pay rates, pay taxes.”

“I've never been in trouble with the law in my life, always done the right thing, helping others, donating to things and for them to turn around to me and say I might not be an Australian citizen?”

“I've rung up to ask about myself and Home Affairs can't tell me, they said I have to apply, which is like $200 to check if I am an Australian citizen.

“I've said (to the Department of Home Affairs), there's a missing piece here and you're negligent.

“When the guys from Home Affairs dropped my brother off at the detention centre they made snarly comments saying he must be adopted if the rest of the family is Australian.

“Regardless of his criminal history, that has nothing to do with his citizenship.

“Eddie doesn't speak pigeon, he's never had any contact with people over there, he has no idea, Australia is all he knows.

“It shouldn't even be questioned, it's ridiculous, its not like he's flown here from another country.

“The Nolans are from Newcastle and the cemetery there is full of people related to us that have been there a hundred years.

“It's all cloak and daggers, they are keeping it behind a veil from us of what's going on, it's always we can't discuss this with you, where the previous week they were talking to me, but now I'm not an authorised person.

“They change it at their leisure of who can talk and what they can say, because really I think they know they are in the poo and that they are wrong but they don't want to acknowledge it.

Ms Lee said she has been staying with her Mum's since this happened.

“It's caused so much stress on her that's she's forgetting things, to turn off taps, turn off the stove.

“So I'm now having to live between two separate houses and I have a daughter with a disability, and I'm having to look after both of them.

“My mum is tormented by this, I really worried about her frame of mind, she's distraught, she's panicked-stricken – thinking what's going to happen with her son, this is not right.

“Its affecting each and every one of us.”

Rachael Nolan, wife of Mr Nolan's brother, James Nolan, said her husband is afraid he will be locked up as well.

“Their Dad served 20 years in the Australian Army, he registered all the children in Canberra, so it's frustrating, its not making any sense to anybody - its freaking everybody out.”

“New Guinea really helped us during the war, with the fuzzy wuzzys and this is how we're treating citizens who have lived here for 40 odd years?”

The Department of Home Affairs said they would not comment on Mr Nolan's case, but a spokesperson said that: “Non-citizens who do not hold a valid visa will be liable for detention and removal from Australia.”

This story has been written in partnership with regional Queensland newspaper Torres News.