Canberra appeals court ruling that PNG-born man is Australian

Troyzone Lee ... he has fought with Australian Home Affairs for four years to retain his Australian citizenship. Image: SBS News

By Stefan Armbruster of SBS News

The federal government has lodged an appeal to overturn a Federal Court decision recognising the Australian citizenship of a man born in pre-independence Papua New Guinea.

Troyzone Zen Lee won a four-year battle with the federal government last month after being told in 2016 he was not an Australian citizen.

Lee, who has lived in Brisbane since the early 1980s, was born in May 1975 in Port Moresby in the Australian external territory of Papua – four months before PNG became an independent country.

In his April judgment, Federal Court judge Darryl Rangiah ruled that at the time PNG became independent, Lee fell within s65(4)(a) of the PNG Constitution “as a person who had the right to permanent residence in Australia and that therefore did not make him a PNG citizen”.

“I make the declaration that the applicant is an ‘Australian citizen’.”

Court documents filed on Friday show the Department of Home Affairs is appealing on the grounds that Justice Rangiah erred in finding Lee was not an “immigrant” under the then Australian Migration Act after PNG independence in September 1975.

Story partially republished by permission of SBS News.

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