Batemans Bay grandfather to be deported on Thursday

Ian Campbell 21 April 2018 81
David Degning and his daughters Rachael and Sharon. Photo: Sharon Degning.

David Degning and his daughters Rachael and Sharon. Photo: Sharon Degning.

A Batemans Bay grandfather is in Villawood Detention Centre awaiting deportation back to the United Kingdom on Thursday.

Family, friends, and supporters say David Degning was bundled out of his home in handcuffs at dawn three months ago by 16 Border Force officers.

Jody Warren has known Mr Degning for 30 years and says he is scared, confused, and feels out of place in the Sydney detention centre.

“Dave says most of the people in there have come from jail, serious offenders – murder, armed assault,” she says.

“And those people coming out of jail are telling Dave conditions in jail are much better than in the detention centre.”

Mr Degning came to Australia with his family in 1968 at the age of seven, his father also settled in Batemans Bay, where Mr Degning has raised two daughters and runs his own house painting business, while his wife works at the hospital.

“He hasn’t had the easiest life, its been one bad hand after another,” Ms Warren says.

“Dave’s son was killed tragically in an accident when he was two and his daughter’s husband has recently died, so this is just too much for them.”

Supporters have launched a petition calling on the Immigration Department to “keep David Degning with his family” which includes his three grandchildren and two sisters and a brother in Sydney.

Moruya Anglican Minister, Rev Linda Chapman has been offering pastoral care and support to Mr Degning and his family. “It beggars’ belief that this is happening in our country. He is due to be deported to the UK, where he knows no-one, this coming Thursday,” she says.

“All Australians should be aware of the processes that Immigration and Border Force are now enacting in this country,” Rev Chapman says.

In looking for an explanation, some sort of bad character judgment seems to have been made by the Immigration Department.

“Dave is one of those people that everyone knows, but he has gotten into trouble with the law over the years,” Ms Warren explains.

“When he was about 21 he was arrested for theft and spent a few months in jail, since then he has had a number of DUI (Driving Under the Influence) convictions but hasn’t been sent to jail.”

Ms Warren believes deportation for historical crimes where a punishment has been served is unjust and out of proportion and doesn’t take into account the fullness of Mr Degning’s life.

When it comes to Mr Degning’s citizenship status and legal right to be here, it seems Mr Degning, along with his father, brother and sisters thought they were “adsorbed citizens” when they arrived in Australia 50 years ago.

In circumstances that sound similar to those of the recent citizenship saga in Federal Parliament, Mr Degning thought he was a citizen and entitled to live in Batemans Bay with his Australian born wife, children, and grandchildren.

Mr Degning did receive notification in 2017 that his place in Australia was being questioned by the Immigration Department. Ms Warren says paperwork arrived out of the blue that asked her 50-something-year-old friend to explain why he shouldn’t be deported.

Ms Warren says the Degning’s were a little concerned but thought it was just a procedural matter that would be worked through sensibly and fairly.

“And then on the 25th of January at 5 am in the morning 16 Border Force people burst into their home, handcuffed him, put him in a car and took him to Villawood Detention Centre and he has been there ever since,” she says.

“The whole street was in shock, it’s taken a while for people to digest it.

“His family are in a dreadful state, they feel like they will never see him again,” Ms Warren says.

The petition set up to advocate for Mr Degning has reached 773 signatures and with his deportation looming in just a handful of days a number of people in the Eurobodalla community, including the Refugee Action Collective have started lobbying the Immigration Minister.

“The authoritarian powers of the Minister concerned, Peter Dutton, seem to be beyond normal judicial processes,” Rev Champman says.

“Quite frankly it sends shivers down my spine that we are seeing this kind of Orwellian behaviour by our government.

“Dave is an ordinary man who is now being torn away from his whole family, his business, his life by a Government Minister and Department whose powers have quietly and stealthily been on the rise over the last few years,” Rev Chapman says.

It’s hoped action in the High Court this week might buy some time or bring clarity.

“Meanwhile Dave waits at Villawood to be deported,” Rev Chapman says.

Batemans Bay MP, Member for Gilmore, Ann Sudmalis was approached for comment. Her office says its a matter for the Immigration Department. A spokesperson for the Immigration Department says a response is being considered.

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81 Responses to Batemans Bay grandfather to be deported on Thursday
Spiral Spiral 12:24 pm 12 May 18

So someone mentions there is probably more to the story and then Mr Degning’s daughter states there isn’t, only to later be proven wrong by the media.

It seems like there is indeed a continued lack of honesty with Mr Degning and his family.

Their continued attempts at deceiving the public does not set a good example and instead seems to suggest that Mr Degning has not changed his ways.

Malcolm Lucas Malcolm Lucas 3:16 pm 11 May 18

totally agree Nick Frans abd they put overseas drugs smuggles in our kails and we pay for them why dont they get depoted

MERC600 MERC600 10:00 am 11 May 18

From a ABC site. “Court documents that were previously the subject of a suppression order have revealed he was convicted of indecently assaulting a person with a disability in 2013.

He was given a 17-month suspended sentence at Bega District Court for having sexual intercourse with a person with cognitive impairment and aggravated indecent assault of a victim with a disability””

Michael Robert Michael Robert 8:44 pm 25 Apr 18

I came from England in 1953 and have never requested citizenship. However I obey the law and if I broke it I should be deported....same as every single foreigner who breaks any law. I trust mr degning will enjoy life in a council flat in brixton.

Marko Lehikoinen Marko Lehikoinen 6:11 am 23 Apr 18

50 years old and hasn't got citizenship papers, never voted obviously and is wondering why he is being deported? It doesn't require a genious to work out who is at fault here. How did they get an Australian driver's license without an Aussie birth certificate or citizenship papers in the first place?

    Kerry Apted Kerry Apted 7:32 am 23 Apr 18

    Read some others comments. In his circumstances he didnt need to be a citizen to vote. I voted legally for years without being a citizen. And uou dont meed an Australian birth certificate to get a drivers licence! !

    Marko Lehikoinen Marko Lehikoinen 6:03 am 24 Apr 18

    Seems the laws have changed somewhat if you can get an Australian D/L (primary proof of ID) without an Aussie birth certificate.

    Kerry Apted Kerry Apted 9:29 pm 25 Apr 18

    Marko Lehikoinen are you kidding .... the laws have not changed!!! There is a huge percentage of the population who don't have Australian birth certificates ... you think they don't all drive??!!

Rob Chalmers Rob Chalmers 8:27 pm 22 Apr 18

This is wrong. The Turnbull Government is becoming fascist….that’s no exaggeration.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:09 pm 22 Apr 18

    Surely Donald Trump is behind this too.

    Blen_Carmichael Blen_Carmichael 3:08 pm 23 Apr 18

    No, of course it’s no exaggeration, which is why you had to say it.

Ray Rice Ray Rice 4:07 pm 22 Apr 18

Meanwhile, Federal politicians who don't know their citizen status (and should have) still got paid for the period they were in Parliament.

Helen Kvalheim Stephenson Helen Kvalheim Stephenson 3:18 pm 22 Apr 18


Dave You Can't Leave This Empty Dave You Can't Leave This Empty 1:36 pm 22 Apr 18

If he was brown it would have been 61. Maybe he should say he is a white South African farmer, that is to Dutton’s liking!

Beth Mansfield Beth Mansfield 1:34 pm 22 Apr 18

WHAT have we allowed ourselves to become?!

    Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 11:28 pm 22 Apr 18

    John what's that go to do with this article?

Jody Maree Harrison Jody Maree Harrison 12:32 pm 22 Apr 18

Wow this is crazy I hope eventhing works out

There are way worse people out there that should be taken away .

Judy Russell Judy Russell 11:55 am 22 Apr 18

It's a total disgrace. There is a lot of other people in Australia, they should be deporting rather than this man.

Boweavil Kat Boweavil Kat 11:43 am 22 Apr 18

Let’s see, been here for 50 years, never became a citizen and been in jail. What are people upset about him being deported

    Kerry Apted Kerry Apted 7:40 am 23 Apr 18

    You can live he4e without being a citizen in his circumstances (and probably lots of other circumstances ).

Steve Arundel Steve Arundel 10:51 am 22 Apr 18

Look at it as a holiday back to your birth place, get another visa (the right one) and then come back to Australia

Roz Porter Roz Porter 10:48 am 22 Apr 18

Can't he take citizenship out now if he does not want to go back?

    Liz Hampton Liz Hampton 3:54 pm 22 Apr 18

    Only politicians can do that

    Janice Miller Janice Miller 8:50 pm 22 Apr 18

    It's unlikely he'd meet the good character requirement for citizenship. There's got to be more to his criminal record than the "few DUIs". It's unfortunate that he chose not to become an Australian citizen during his many years of residence.

Anthony O'Connor Anthony O'Connor 9:35 am 22 Apr 18

Do the wrong thing get deported. He is not being "kicked" out of Australia for no reason... he could have taken steps over the last 50 years to insure he could stay in our great country indefinitely. He didn't and ignorance is no excuse. Anybody who immigrates to Australia and does not follow the rules or our laws should be deported no questions asked.

    Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 11:30 pm 22 Apr 18

    This goes for any country not just Australia.

    Kerry Apted Kerry Apted 7:42 am 23 Apr 18

    In his circumstances he didnt have to take out citizenship. Does anyone 'have ' to take out citizenship?

    Anthony O'Connor Anthony O'Connor 8:12 am 23 Apr 18

    Kerry Apted in his case he obviously did, or he would not be getting deported...

    Kerry Apted Kerry Apted 9:31 pm 25 Apr 18

    Anthony O'Connor but that doesn't mean you are obliged to take out citizenship.

    Anthony O'Connor Anthony O'Connor 5:42 am 26 Apr 18

    Kerry Apted either that or be a law abiding citizen

Di Shorland Di Shorland 9:35 am 22 Apr 18

Well if he's a repeated dui then best he's off the road. Far too many innocent deaths from these people.

The Riotact The Riotact 9:29 am 22 Apr 18

This is the response from Dept of Home Affairs:

· The Australian Government takes seriously its responsibility to protect the community from the risk of harm arising from non-citizens who choose to engage in criminal activity or other serious conduct of concern.

· There are strong provisions under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 (the Act) that allow the Minister or a delegate to refuse or cancel a visa if the person is considered to not be of good character. A person can fail the character test for a number of reasons, including but not limited to where a non-citizen has a substantial criminal record.

· Foreign nationals who do not hold a valid visa will be subject to detention.

· The Department does not comment on individual cases.

· Further information on the character requirement is available on the Department’s website:

More to come


Blen_Carmichael Blen_Carmichael 7:39 am 22 Apr 18

Hello, reading the comments here I think it would be very silly to express outrage and reach a conclusion based on one article. I’ll wait to see what comes out in the wash rather than make my mind up based on a few ‘For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow’ renditions. I suggest you do too. In the meantime many of you might want to read up on section 501 of the Migration Act.

Clive Kidston Clive Kidston 5:41 am 22 Apr 18

This is just crazy ! WTF

No common sense wasted tax dollars to send 16 border officers down here.for what unbelievable madness

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