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University of Melbourne                   -[go to HAIG REPORT home frames] 

Are International students unwise to study at Australian Universities?

To quote Megumi Ogawa in SMH: Ms Ogawa said outside the Federal Magistrate's Court on Friday 28th July, 2006, "[The] judge even says this decision is unjust. Every court considers it unjust, but every court will not do anything, so this is a strong message to international students, how dangerous it is to study in Australia."

International Students should be very cautious of studying in Australia.  As happened to Megumi Ogawa, if you think you will study in Australia, and if you have a dispute with the Australian University, the university, as did the University of Melbourne, can have you locked up at an immigration detention centre for over two months.   Do you want to risk that?  

The Melbourne newspaper "The Age" article on the 29th July, 2006 explains Megumi's case to that juncture very well.

As stated by the ABC am program on 29 July, 2006, "Ms Ogawa is suspicious that she was locked up on the 19th of May, days after a court agreed to hear a claim against the University."  It seemed as though the university and DIMIA [Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs] were working together as immediately after any directions hearing in the legal saga, [as the University tried to derail the legal action], DIMIA would send a letter.  I believe DIMIA and the University of Melbourne have done irreparable harm to Australia's prospects of attracting International Students to study in Australia.  According to ABC PM, on 27 June, 2006, Megumi stated that three days before DIMIA (Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs) had the Federal Police arrest her and incarcerate her [detain her at Villawood], the Federal Court ordered a trial date of her legal action against the University of Melbourne.   That detention was preparatory to having Megumi deported.  Only by applying for political asylum was Megumi able to avoid deportation.  Deportation would have meant that University of Melbourne prevailed.  Clearly they had tried this approach to "win".  Soon after Megumi's release from detention on a protection visa, University of Melbourne contacted a contact point for Megumi suggesting negotiation.  University of Melbourne is reputed  to be one of the better universities in Auatralia, so clearly, that has gone to the heads of the people at University of Melbourne, who think they can ride rough shod over students, especially international students.
Consider the case of Megumi Ogawa. She has a law degree from Waseda University and a Masters from the Yokohama National University.  Read these three articles from the media, SMH, ABC AM and ABC PM to see what you think.

I became aware of Megumi Ogawa's situation when I was informally consulted while in the Law Library of the University of Queensland when Megumi was initiating proceedings in the Federal Court as I was known to have had substantial experience of Federal Court proceedings. 

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