On the face of it most of the public would see the existence of the PIC 4020 law as a good thing. Would Australians have much sympathy for people who lie and cheat in their residency applications? Not really.
I wish it were as simple as that.
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" was Lord Actin dictum back in the late 19th Century.
How true these words echo on today.
Corruption is not just about public servants taking money as bribes to ensure certain outcomes are obtained, its also about the misuse of a law to achieve outcomes.
We have seen DIAC refuse 30 applicants at time just because they suspect there are too many references being issued at one restaurant.
The PIC 4020 was power used to refuse them, not on the basis DIAC had any evidence that these references were false, simply on a suspicion.
When a law is used to justify refusals based upon suspicion, the system has been corrupted by those who use the PIC 4020 as a means to an end.
The end of course is to refuse as many applicants as possible DIAC thinks have lied in their applications.
An honourable intention perhaps, but it must not be achieved at the expense of fairness and an unbiased assessment.
DIAC's mentality is if they think applicants maybe dodgy, then just use PIC 4020 to refuse them. Even when evidence is presented to the applicants credibility, DIAC tends to ignore it and refuses anyway.
These cases then end up at the MRT and to be honest, it is a mix bag depending upon the Tribunal Member you end up with.
Some will look at all afresh and make up their own minds based upon the evidence presented. Some have already made up their minds before you begin.
The problem is that PIC 4020 can be misused by those are achieving their set objects and also by those who believe their subjective assessment has a right over the facts.
Now if it were based upon "burden of proof" then perhaps such abuse of the PIC 4020 would be held in check.
In this case DIAC would be forced to conduct intelligent investigations where real evidence is gathered and presented.
Not too much to ask, is it?