Mack fights a battle against Immigration to become an Aussie

BATTLE: Mackenza Thorp just wants Australian citizenship.
BATTLE: Mackenza Thorp just wants Australian citizenship. Trevor Veale

MACKENZA Thorp may have risked his life for Australia, but apparently that doesn't amount to much.

The Arrawarra resident is currently in a battle with the Department of Immigration who refuse to grant the 83-year-old citizenship despite having lived in the country for more than 50 years.

Mr Thorp, with the aid of his friend and neighbour Ron Strauch and now local veterans support person Paul McTernan, started the process of applying for citizenship in June.

"Mack asked if I could help him update his English passport as it had lapsed a couple of years ago and he was hoping to visit his sister in Canada next year, we completed all the paperwork and sent it off," Mr Strauch said.

"The new passport arrived about six weeks later, but Mack would have to get a visa 155 to re-enter Australia after his trip ... so I suggested he apply for Australian citizenship."

It seemed like a simple enough idea but what has ensued is nothing short of incredible and has included documents lost in transit, no email responses or phone call returns from numerous calls to numerous departments, including the Department of Immigration.

When Mr Thorp joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1958 in England, he sailed to Sydney on a cruise ship, was met by RAN personnel and taken directly to HMAS Cerberus therefore bypassing Immigration and didn't think about citizenship for 56 years.

"He now realises he should have done something about it before but as he had all the benefits of being Aussie, he didn't give it another thought. Mack must be on every Government data base except Immigration, having paid taxes, rates, utilities, etc. for more than half a century.

"The pathetic excuse for treating us (Mack & I) by ignoring us is that they don't have an address for him."

Mr McTernan said this is one of the most frustrating issues facing older ex-service men and women - public servants failing to properly help veterans and their families.

"He has served his country; he has been a loyal taxpaying citizen for decades whose only request is to pass away as an Australian citizen. His beloved wife sadly passed away two years ago," Mr McTernan said.

"He was there for Australia in both the Malayan and Vietnam conflicts. Surely someone in the Department of Immigration and Border Protection can be there now for him?"

The Department of Immigration had not returned comment.

Topics:  arrawarra australian citizenship department of immigration hmas cerberus royal australian navy

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