Unable to obtain Australian Citizenship based on traffic offences?

Kuron and Minister for Home Affairs (Citizenship) [2019] AATA 747 (17 April 2019)

The delegate decides that:

I am satisfied that the offences you are found guilty of would ordinarily be considered to be non-serious. However they are a concerning matter and they are part of an ongoing pattern of behaviour - repeatedly in breach of traffic rules and laws - which would suggest that you are not of good character... I am satisfied that these offences are part of an ongoing pattern of behaviour which would suggest that you are not of good character. This weighs against you being a good character. I give this factor considerable weight my assessment of whether you are of good character.

Although traffic offences are generally considered not serious. It was the ongoing breaches of traffic rules and laws that suggested the applicant was not a person of good character. As a result, his application for Australian Citizenship by Conferral was refused.

Nevertheless, Kuron was successful when he appealed his case to the Tribunal.

WHAT IS ‘GOOD CHARACTER’?

A requirement under s 21(2)(h) of the Citizenship Act requires the Applicant to be a person of good character. Even if conferred, the approval may be cancelled by the minister under s 25 of the Citizenship Act if found that prior to the approval the person was not a person of good character (that is, subsequent information about contraventions of the law are discovered).

The term “good character” is not defined by the Act.

Reference is made to the definition of “good character” given by Lee J in Irving v Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs [1996] FCA 663; (1996) 68 FCR 422 (at 431-432):

the words ‘good character’ should be taken to be used in their ordinary sense, namely, a reference to the enduring moral qualities of a person, and not to the good standing, fame or repute of that person in the community. The former is an objective assessment apt to be proved as a fact whilst the latter is a review of subjective public opinion...A person who has been convicted of a serious crime and thereafter held in contempt in the community, nonetheless may show that he or she has reformed and is of good character...Conversely, a person of good repute may be shown by objective assessment to be a person of bad character.

WHAT WAS KURON CONVICTED OF?

Surprisingly, his convictions were not within the serious range of criminal convictions such as murder, manslaughter or even theft, shoplifting etc.

His convictions occurred over time from 2013 to 2015 involving:

·         Speeding

·         Driving during disqualification period

·         Driving whilst suspended

 

His convictions largely resulted in disqualification and fines. There was never a custodial sentence imposed.

So, was he person of good character?

The Tribunal considered his full traffic record involving about 10 offences from 2013 to 2015 and police reports about his behavior.

The Tribunal concurred that his offences were serious in the sense that it puts the safety of the community at risk, and his pattern of behavior of ignoring the laws of Australia by continually breaching driving regulations is serious.

However, this was outweighed by evidence that:

·         He accepts responsibility for his offences;

·         He argued he was young at the time and in a bad place;

·         He provided evidence of rehabilitation through current character references from friends, family and employer;

·         The offences occurred some three years ago; and

·         Tribunal accepted that he had established a pattern of good behavior since

SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

If you have a series of traffic offences, do not dismiss this lightly. It can affect any of your visa or citizenship applications. Seek professional advice if this is you so you can obtain advice how you can win your case like Kuron.

HOW CAN WE HELP YOU

Because representation matters for migration matter.

If you nee assistance with your Australian visa matter you can contact us by calling (02)-7200 2700 or email us to book in a time at info@ahclawyers.com.

Adele WanComment