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Fijian woman deported after 15 years in Australia

Published: Mon 8 Nov 2004 09:33 AM
Fijian woman deported after 15 years in Australia, kids to stay
A Fijian woman who has lived in Australia since 1989 will be deported this weekend after losing her fight to stay in Australia.
Sereana Naikelekele was served with a deportation order last week, which included 2 of her 5 children – Lomani (4) and Mereani (6) – who are not recognised as citizens because they are under 10 years of age.
Three of the children are Australian citizens and two are deemed stateless despite all being born in Australia. Their younger brother Glen, 3, is a citizen because his father is an Australian national.
In 1986 laws changed deeming that children born in Australia to foreign national parents must reside in Australia for 10 years before they can be declared Australian citizens.
Plans to deport Lomani and Mereani were overturned yesterday when the court granted an injunction pending the outcome of a citizenship case when they make a request from the Federal Court tomorrow (Friday 5th November) that as they have lived in Australia all their life and are not citizens of any other country they should be granted Australian citizenship.
Ms Naikelekele and 3 of her children (Lomani, Mereani and Glen) have been living at the Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney for the past 2 years and were joined this year by her two older children Sally, 12 and Jope, 10 (Australian citizens) who had been attending the Macarthur Adventist School in Sydney for the past 3 years. Sally and Jope have now been prevented from attending this school despite repeated appeals by school principal Jill Pearce.
Ms Naikelekele will leave behind her children this Saturday, rather than risk losing their rights to claim Australian citizenship.
With a three year re-entry ban and a debt for her detention of between $60,000 and $80,000, there will be little chance for her to return to Australia.

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