Thursday, April 19, 2007

Parental Dependence

Our son Martin falls into the category of parental dependence. Yesterday his visit to CentreLink to get back on the dole was stymied by the fact that he didn't produce a birth certificate. We thought this was a little strange as he has been a frequent benefactor of the welfare system. CentreLink told him that the system had changed and they needed to view his birth certificate.
Martin has a filing system for his documents akin to a rubbish bin. He couldn't find the birth certificate, so he visited us (to use our phone) to try and get a new extract. Problem!!

Martin was born in pre-independent Papua New Guinea and after searching local and national records there seemed to be no Martin Lock registered. As Papua New Guinea was a United Nations Trust Territory, Martin was not automatically an Australian citizen. Going on leave from PNG in 1973 we were all required to get a re-entry permit to return to PNG after annual leave and we had to declare Martin an Australian citizen. I believe we could have made him a citizen of any one of the countries in the U.N. but we chose Aus.

Soooo, to get an extract of his birth certificate I contacted the Papua New Guinea Consulate in Queensland only to be told that I should apply to the Papua New Guinea Births and Deaths Registrar in Port Moresby. I rang them and was told that for K22 (about A$ 10) I could get an extract posted to us. Pretty cheap as an Australian Birth Certificate costs $40! Trouble is that they will only accept a bank cheque in PNG Currency, the Kina and the Combank wants $20 to draw the cheque.

Martin was searching his trunk of junk for the original and found 12 pieces. He took it down to CentreLink and they then told him that they didn't really need to see his birth certificate. Well bugger me! Today's little exercise cost a lot of dollars.

We still don't know if there is any evidence that he is an Australian citizen.

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