The Australian government is attempting to deport another Indigenous man to New Zealand, despite him having no ties to the country where he was born while his parents were visiting the country more than 30 years ago.
Tim Galvin’s mother and three brothers are Australian-born citizens, and his father is a UK-born citizen. His mother has signed a statutory declaration stating she is of Aboriginal descent. Galvin’s wife is a Noongar woman and they have four children together.
Last week Galvin was about to be released on parole after serving most of a two-and-a-half year prison sentence at Acacia Prison for burglary.
“Then the day before I was getting out on parole … they told me they were coming to take me to the detention centre,” Galvin told Guardian Australia from the Yongah Hill facility, outside of Perth.
Galvin learned he was a New Zealand citizen when his Australian visa was cancelled in 2016. He appealed and said his lawyers had pushed for a resolution before his release but 17 months later, there was none and he received a notice of deportation.
“They want to kick me out of my own country,” he said. “I came here when I was two.”
“My mum is Aboriginal – she’s from South Australia. All my kids are Aboriginal, my missus is Aboriginal, and they’re trying to send me to a foreign country.”
He said he was handcuffed for the transfer, which came unexpectedly.
“I had job with my brother, I’ve got my missus and kids to look after,” he said.
“I was going home to them and work. I was on parole to finish up and be with my family.”
Galvin is appealing the deportation but with increasing numbers of visa cancellations on character grounds, the wait is upwards of a year, during which Galvin will remain in detention.
In 2014, the federal government changed immigration laws to trigger mandatory deportations for anyone sentenced to a jail term of 12 months or more. The government is now seeking to expand those powers.