WA border policy questioned after Perth man denied entry while Vietnamese wife allowed in


A WA man refused an exemption to return to Perth while his Vietnamese wife was initially granted one says he is “gutted” he can’t move his young family home to take up a job and be closer to his sick mother.

Beauden Gellard, 32, has been living in New Zealand with his wife Giang Nguyen and the couple, along with their infant son, had applied to come home as soon as they could on medical, compassionate and work grounds.

On Monday Dr Nguyen was told she had been granted an exemption known as a G2G to come to WA, but Mr Gellard, who was born and raised in WA and had applied using the same documentation as Dr Nguyen, had not.

However, after inquiries by the ABC, Dr Nguyen received an email from WA Police [WAPOL] saying her G2G had been granted in error and had been rescinded.

He said the rejection was based on “circumstances outside my control” — the fact that the family would have to fly home via New South Wales — and was extremely upsetting.

Visa wait forced move to New Zealand

The couple had initially been forced to leave Australia in 2017 while they waited for Dr Nguyen’s Australian partner visa application to be approved.

They met while they were students at the University of Western Australia — Hanoi-born Dr Nguyen was on a student visa at the time, completing her doctorate in economics.

They married in June 2017 but Dr Nguyen was required to leave Australia while her partner visa application was processed, so they moved to Wellington after securing jobs there.

Dillon Gellard was born in New Zealand last year but has Australian citizenship.(Supplied: Beauden Gellard)

Their son Dillon was born in New Zealand last year, and although they wanted to move home as soon as possible, they were unable to expedite the visa approval process and had to wait it out.

Dr Nguyen’s Australian visa was eventually granted in May this year, and they immediately began trying to return home.

They booked flights to Sydney, applied for G2G exemptions, quit their jobs and gave their landlord notice.

Mr Gellard also obtained a data analyst job in Perth which is due to begin on August 21 — but the family’s G2G applications were rejected twice.

WA entry granted then cancelled

Finally, the family was told on Monday that Dr Nguyen’s application had been approved, but Mr Gellard’s — submitted at the same time, and using the same grounds — had been rejected.

Yesterday they were told Dr Nyugen’s G2G had been cancelled.

“Whilst your application was approved, it is noted that you are transiting through Sydney,” Dr Nguyen was told by WA Police via email.

“Entry into WA will not be approved if you have been in NSW or Victoria for 14 days prior to entering WA.

“You will need to amend your itinerary to fly either directly into WA or via another state (not Vic or NSW).”

Mr Gellard said the only flight back to Australia the family had been able to book before late September was a flight to Sydney departing this Friday, and last week they were told by Air New Zealand they would not be able to get on the flight because of Australia’s new limits on international arrivals.

“There was no way to appeal that decision, but luckily they changed their minds,” he said.

On Monday the airline contacted them to say a cancellation meant there was room for them on the flight after all.

However, now the family have been refused entry to WA, they are not sure what to do.

A man and woman stand in a family tableau holding a baby.
Beauden Gellard, Giang Nyugen and baby Dillon have been stranded in New Zealand unable to get home to Perth thanks to coronavirus.(Supplied: Beauden Gellard)

‘[I feel] gutted, there is no possible way for me to get back to Perth as they suggest,” Mr Gellard said.

“We were lucky to scrape this flight back into Australia at all.

“The only possible place I could get coronavirus is in Sydney airport. NZ is covid-free.”

A police spokesman said WAPOL could not comment on individual cases.

He said those trying to enter WA from NSW and Victoria were subject to an additionally stringent set of exemptions, and limited to a handful of categories including certain government and military officials and freight and logistics staff.

Compassionate exemptions limited

The WA Government’s coronavirus information page states that in addition to the above, “in very limited circumstances, you may be granted approval to travel on compassionate grounds if you provide adequate supporting evidence”.

Mr Gellard said he had provided a multitude of documents to support his G2G application on compassionate grounds relating to his own medical condition which he did not want to disclose publicly, as well his mother’s heart condition — documents sighted by the ABC.

“But in short, how is being stranded in the eastern states, with no family support, and plane luggage, with a one-year-old not compassionate enough circumstances?” he said.

“That’s as well as the medical certificates in both applications.”

Mr Gellard said he said he was particularly upset by Premier Mark McGowan’s hardline stance on borders.

“I was born in Western Australia, my father was born in Western Australia, both sets of grandparents were born in Western Australia .. and I can’t believe that a non-West Australian born Premier is telling me that I can’t come home to my own state,” he said.

“I’m a 100 per cent Labor voter … but I just can’t get over the fact that someone who’s not from Western Australia now dictates that a West Australian can’t live in Western Australia.”

A woman in a hat carrying a hot dog poses next to an election banner featuring Mark McGowan.
Giang Nguyen was initially granted permission to come to WA but then told it had been rescinded.(Supplied: Beauden Gellard)

He said he was very supportive of Queensland mining billionaire Clive Palmer’s High Court challenge to the WA border closure.

“I’m following that court case very closely and for the first time in my life, I hope Clive wins,” he said.

A spokesman for Mr McGowan did not want to comment on the case and referred it to WAPOL.



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