By Eden Hynninen

AN IRISH family from Seymour are at risk of being deported after their three-year-old son was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and considered a ‘burden’ on the health system.

Christine and Tony Hyde came to Australia in 2009 on a Working Holiday Visa and have since spent a decade working and raising a family in Seymour, Victoria.

Mrs Hyde is an acting principal at Broadford Primary School and her husband works for Skybus while volunteering for the State Emergency Service in Seymour.

In 2015, the couple put in an expression of interest form for permanent residency and received a first round invitation to apply on August 3, 2015.

“During this time I was heavily pregnant with my first child. Part of our application was that you need to sit a medical assessment – we couldn’t do this until six weeks after my caesarean with Darragh,” Mrs Hyde said.

“We then had to add him to our application and they asked for a letter from our GP to state his health. Eight weeks after are a heel prick, it was confirmed that Darragh had Cystic Fibrosis.”

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic condition that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in various organs that can impact the lungs and digestive system – there are many mutations of the condition.The couple then sent a letter from their GP to a medical officer who asked for more information on Darragh’s case.

“We sent another letter from a paediatrician and received a reply that Darragh has a severe case of cystic fibrosis,” she said.

“The Home Affairs department responded saying Darragh would need to rely heavily on the health system to have access to an organ donation. They said he would be a ‘burden to the state’ and rejected our application.

“I remember that day at work when I read the email, I crumbled and someone had to drive me home.”

From that point on, the Hydes hired a lawyer who advised them to appeal – a process that’s still underway.

During the appeal process, Darragh started taking a medication called Kalydeco – a drug covered under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme – that helps improve hydration and mucus clearance.

“CF is different for every patient. Luckily Darragh had two gene mutations missing which made him eligible to the drug at aged two,” Ms Hyde said.

“It has changed his life in the last 18 months, there is less mucus in his lungs, which makes him less prone to infections and has had no hospital admissions.

“He goes to childcare twice a week. He’s just like every other child.”

The family are ready to appeal their final case to the Administrative Review Tribunal on April 30.

They also started a petition, that has attracted more than 13,000 signatures, in the hope of drawing community support to help the family avoid deportation.

Federal Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell said the government needed to recognise the contribution Christine and her family made to the community.

“The refusal of the visa would further disadvantage some of our most vulnerable children,” Mr Mitchell said.

“As someone with a Masters in Special Education from La Trobe University, Christine is a specialist qualified teacher working with students with particular learning difficulties in primary, middle and secondary schools.

“Special Education Teachers are on the medium and long-term Strategic Skills List of the Combined List of Eligible Skilled Occupations 2019. These are jobs in which we have a shortage here in Australia, and we are in need of skilled practitioners to address this shortfall.

“Teachers like Christine are among the most valuable members of the Australian community, charged with huge responsibility.

“I believe Christine’s abilities and talents in supporting the Australian children with special needs far outweigh the possible cost of care to Australia for her young son.”

The North Central Review tried to contact the Home Affairs office for comment, but they did not respond.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Hardworking and reliable people should be given citizenship even though the child has an illness. We can always look for a cure to help them. But not people who are ruining the country and there is justice for them and they too get all the benefits which they should not by using our tax money. I think the Morrison government should get up from their slumber.

  2. This family deserves better,Shes a Spescialist teacher who we need here,and her hubby is a hard working dad who volunteers with the SES, they both obviously pay their taxes and have done so for many years,These are the sort of people we need here,so what their child has an Illness,we should be Supporting them not Deporting them,Let Them Stay,Typical Government, Let the Shit Stay and kick out the People we need and that make the greatest contribution,If only these government officials that make these decisions could be put in these peoples position then lets see the decision that would be made,quite a different one im sure

  3. I would have thought the child had dual nationality. Australian by birth, Irish by parentage. Surely we have a responsibility to this child as his country of birth.

  4. The child was born in Australia so is an Australian as far as I’m concerned. Let them stay. I pay more tax than I would like to but am happy when it is spent on genuine things like helping this family. They sound like the type of Australians we need.

  5. Funny they work hard raise a family and could get deported but if they were illegally or from 3rd world country our government gives residents to them they don’t work and call us racists let them stay

  6. That child needs to be here in Australia, they are not a burden the the system as CF gets no help from the government .

  7. Morrison Government this family deserves better and needs to be granted residency. Special Ed teacher’s are ‘gold’ we need more of them, not less!

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