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Found 2 results

  1. Jeffster

    Complaining to the Ombudsman

    Just got a call from the Ombudsmans office. The man who spoke to me started by trying to pass the buck and saying the issues were not under the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman and I should contact the “Minister of Immigration, and his name is Chris Evans…” and that is when I told him to stop talking and gave him a verbal diatribe on the fact that I and the other complainants are perfectly well aware of who the Minister is and that I would be very surprised if the Minister didn’t know by now that there are serious issues since hundreds, if not thousands, of people and organisations have told him and a Senate Inquiry had been setup to investigate a Bill he was trying to introduce. I went on to say we were not going to accept being fobbed off or hoisted onto someone else, canned responses or sending our problems to another Department etc. and that the Ombudsman must address the issues because things have got way out of hand. There was a short silence. The rest of the conversation went a little better. We established that the Ombudsman could only deal with administrative issues within DIAC and not legislation (Bills / Acts of Parliament). So from the complaint the following are out of the Ombudsman jurisdiction: · VAC fees – although I might disagree with this as I believe the relevant Bill states a charge can be raised but not the actual amounts (which is what we are disputing) · Policies / policy changes The Ombudsman can deal with the following: · Delays in the time taken to process an application · Refusal of DIAC to refund a VAC · Any other administrative functions performed by DIAC The Ombudsman can only deal with a complaint AFTER the issue has been raised with DIAC Global Feedback Unit (GFU). Fortunately, MARA saw this coming and forwarded the complaint to the GFU. The GFU are due to respond to our complaint by tomorrow so if we don’t like what they tell us (which we probably won’t) we can refer back to the Ombudsman (which we will). It looks like we can do a few things from here: A) Anyone wanting to withdraw an application and get a refund; i.) Contact GFU and demand a refund because the expected waiting time was 3-6 months and it has taken 12, 18, 24 etc. months. ii.) GFU will likely respond with a no iii.) Take complaint and copy of GFU response to Ombudsman Eventually, when enough people demand refunds the Ombudsman and / or GFU will get so annoyed that policy will change. B) Anyone wanting to complain about delays in processing i.) Contact GFU, complain about delay ii.) Get standard response from GFU iii.) Take complaint and copy of GFU response to Ombudsman Again, the Ombudsman will get annoyed and start telling DIAC to get its act together. As far as joint complaints go, we can do these but each person has to make a written and signed declaration which have to be mailed and / or faxed. I have a case number that can be referred to which I can post here or PM me if you want it. From now I will wait on the GFU response and see what they say (like we don’t already know) Also, if there are any lawyers / agents who know about what constitutes legislation and what constitutes rules & regulations in the case of VAC and whether it falls under the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman to investigate or someone else (Auditor General?), I think this is a grey area that needs clarification and any advice is appreciated. I’m also expecting a call from Senator Xenaphon’s office as he promised he would contact me once the outcome of the election was known. In a nutshell I think this was the Ombudsmans office responding in the hope we will go away, so let’s totally disappoint them! Now we know exactly what has to be done. DIAC GFU contact details: http://www.immi.gov.au/contacts/forms/services/ Ombudsman contact details: http://www.ombudsman.gov.au/pages/making-a-complaint/ Can we pin this topic for a while as it would be useful for people to know the details?