The Demise of the White Australia Policy - section five

The Nancy Prasad Case

Mr Shiri Prasad first came to Australia from Fiji in September 1961 on a three month holiday; he stayed with one of his sons (two of whom were resident in Australia) and while here took a job. He tried to have his visa extended, but this was not granted. In April 1962 Prasad returned, using a three month tourist visa, he then tried to obtain permanent residence, which was refused, but his visa was extended to April 1963. In that time he brought two houses in a Sydney suburb, which he then used as an argument to let him remain in the country (he also applied for permanent residence for his family). He was granted a further visa extension - til September 1963. Prasad persisted in his efforts; and, not until a deportation order was issued, did he leave voluntarily in November 1963 to return to Fiji.(22)

Prasad left two daughters behind: Sandra (twenty years old) who had been in Australia on a visitors permit since 1961, had married an Australian and was attempting to remain here; and Nancy (five years old), who was in hospital with a throat infection (Prasad had asked unsuccessfully to stay until she was well). Nancy's visa was extended, during which time her brother tried to get her an allowance to stay permanently. When Nancy recovered, her brother refused to send her back to Fiji, so a deportation order was issued, but then Nancy was "sent into hiding". Various legal manoeuvring commenced - including an attempted adoption by her sister, an injunction, and several appeals - all of which took some months. When Nancy eventually arrived at the airport, her sympathisers "kidnapped" her. This sparked off a frenzy of media publicity - which, quite obviously, was the intended result. The "kidnappers" returned her later that night.(23)

Nancy was finally returned to her parents (in Fiji) on the 8th August, 1965. However, the enormous amount of media publicity given to her on-going case, and to the publicity-seeking staged "kidnapping", made the case a "hot" political issue both in Australia and overseas. The media used the case to heavily attack the White Australian Policy. Indeed, some observers have attributed the March 1966 liberalisation of the Policy as being partially enabled by the Prasad case and as an attempt to avoid "bad press" over immigration related cases in the local and foreign media.(24)

The Demise of the White Australia Policy

Australian Nationalism Information Database -