Citizenship Case On Character

Issue: The pivotal question is whether the Tribunal is convinced of the Applicant’s good character as per section 21(2)(h) of the Act.

Background: The Applicant, claiming to be a 30-year-old Afghan citizen, arrived in Australia in May 2010 as an unauthorized maritime arrival. He was granted a permanent Protection (subclass 866) visa in April 2011.

Applicant’s Claim History: In October 2015, he applied for Australian citizenship by conferral. In his application, he stated his father’s name as Awaz Ali Wafaq. The Department of Home Affairs requested additional information in April 2019, including declarations and identity documents. The Applicant responded in August 2019, indicating on a Form 80 that his father was deceased. However, he did not disclose his brother Ahmad Ali Wafaq. The Department raised concerns about undisclosed family members, leading to a series of communications and submissions from the Applicant.

The matter was heard in Perth in March 2023. The Applicant was represented by Mr. Colin Soo, while the Respondent was represented by Ms. Daphne Jones-Bolla. The issue for review by the Tribunal was whether the Applicant demonstrated good character as of February 2, 2021.

The Applicant argued his good character, highlighting fluency in English, lack of criminal history, and community involvement. He attributed misinformation to youth, influence, and fear of adverse outcomes. The Respondent contended the Applicant knowingly provided false information over 11 years, failing to rectify it despite opportunities.

The Tribunal evaluated the Applicant’s arguments but found his conduct inconsistent with good character. Despite acknowledging mitigating circumstances, the Tribunal held that the Applicant’s behavior, spanning several years and applications, undermined his credibility. Character references provided limited insight, and the Applicant’s explanations were deemed insufficient to outweigh the evidence against him.

Decision: Consequently, the Reviewable Decision to reject the Applicant’s citizenship application was affirmed, as of January 5, 2022.

Wafaq and Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs (Citizenship) [2024] AATA 37 (19 January 2024) (

Written by Ross Ahmadzai

3 Feb, 2024

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