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Tribunal: Senior Member C Puplick 

The AAT decided to set aside the decision and remitted the matter for considerations after considering the applicant’s ‘good character’ and other relevant factors and behaviours during the time the applicant lived in Australia.

The applicant arrived in Australia in 2013 and opened an Indian restaurant in Katoomba, just outside of Sydney.

In 2019, the applicant’s wife and children became Australian citizens. However, the applicant was denied citizenship on the basis that the delegate, acting for the Minister, was not satisfied the applicant was a person of good character.

What it means to be of ‘good character’ is not defined in the Australian Citizenship Act 2007. The Australian Citizenship Policy provides some guidance on the characteristics of what a good character might be. Still, it is up to the delegate to decide if an applicant’s moral qualities meet the requirement.

In reviewing this case, the AAT considered the applicant’s circumstances and considered how he dealt with financial stress from running his own business.

During the review, the applicant said he had struggled to manage the business and meet his financial obligations, which came to a head in 2015 in two separate incidents that resulted in the applicant being found guilty of two counts of common assault (domestic violence).

The two incidents involved altercations with his wife over mobile phones. The first incident resulted in the applicant seizing the phone from his wife and injuring her finger. A subsequent argument resulted in a tussle between the applicant, his wife and his mother in the restaurant where all three people ended up on the floor.

The court magistrate remarked that, while guilty, the assaults were ‘at the very low end of the spectrum, in terms of severity’ and imposed an 18-month good behaviour bond on the applicant.

Since the time of the assaults, the applicant has closed his business and maintained a steady job as a yard man at a transport company. He had undertaken anger management courses and volunteered with the Salvation Army. The applicant had no further interactions with the law and was able to provide references from his employer, doctor and a solicitor who was familiar with the family and the applicant’s sentencing.

The applicant and his wife have also remained married throughout and reconciled – having a second child in 2018.

Read the full decision