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A delegate of Immigration Minister Peter Dutton refused Paul Martin’s citizenship application last year.
Paul Martin, who came to Australia from United Kingdom in 1973, had an “appalling” driving record. He has committed 39 traffic offences which include speeding and drink-driving.
He applied for citizenship in January 2016 but his citizenship application was refused in June 2016 because he did not pass the good character test.
Martin challenged this decision in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
On July 14th, this decision of refusal of citizenship was overturned by AAT.
AAT heard that Martin had committed some 39 traffic offences since 1980, consisting of 29 speeding offences, 13 of which were for speeding in excess of 15km/h.
“The applicant’s other offences include disobeying traffic lights, driving unlicensed and driving a vehicle other than a bus in a bus lane. Significantly, the applicant continued to offend despite receiving 12 demerit point warning letters, and suspension and disqualification of his license.”
In her ruling AAT senior member Adria Poljak said that “while traffic offences are not ordinarily considered serious, the number and consistency of the applicant’s traffic offences are significant. The number of repeat offences indicates a pattern of offending and the disregard for the law”.
She also said the applicant failed to adequately disclose his drink-driving offences on the citizenship application form.
However, she said, “I am not convinced that the applicant was deliberately untruthful or lied in his citizenship application.”
“I accept that carelessness might reflect on the applicant’s character in some circumstances, but I am not persuaded this instance of inattention is strong evidence of an inability or unwillingness to obey the law.”
She pointed out that his last offence was more than a year ago.
“It is significant to note that the applicant’s last offence was in May 2016, over 12 months ago, and he confirmed at hearing that there have been no driving offences since.”
“I am satisfied that the applicant now understands the seriousness of his driving record,” she said.
She also considered character references given by Mr Phill Bates AM and former NSW gaming and racing minister Kevin Greene who said that “the Australian community should feel extremely honoured that the applicant wants to become an Australian citizen”.
Mr Martin’s volunteer work as patron for the St George Cancer Care Centre Foundation and the Prostate Cancer Institute was also taken into account.
“The applicant has been actively involved in charity work, to the benefit of the Australian community, for over approximately 40 years,” Ms Poljak said.
“(On the evidence, Mr Martin) is a man of integrity who has a good reputation and is successfully contributing to Australian society.”