5 May 2017: KAP Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter has responded to news that 73 year old Patton Eidson from Julatten in the Kennedy electorate, has had his visa cancelled and been detained by 15 police/Government officials on Wednesday for transport to immigration detention in Brisbane.
It is reported that 15 police/Government officials arrived on Patton’s property to forcibly detain him.
Patton, his late wife Sonja and their daughter Maya (who was a minor at the time) arrived in Australia from America in 1986 on an identity given to them voluntarily by a terminally ill American friend. The assumed identity names were Mike and Anita McGoldrick – they were known as Mike and Anita to everyone who met them.
The Eidson family bought a property in Julatten and in 1991 opened a wellness retreat, pioneering the industry for Far North Queensland. Patton and Sonja were approved as ‘Retiree Resident Visas’. While owning the business they employed over 40 people and trained over 65 people.
In 2012 Patton and Sonja were charged by Australian authorities for entering the country on a false identity. Patton was sentenced for two years but with 6 months to serve at Lotus Glen low security correctional facility. Sonja was charged, but with no time to serve.
At the time of sentencing in 2012, the Australian Government immediately cancelled visas for Sonja and Patton as they were not in their correct name. Patton and Sonja filed for ‘Aged Parenting Visas’ with their daughter Maya as sponsor (who is an Australian citizen).
In November 2015 daughter Maya Eidson was informed that her citizenship would be revoked (even though she was a minor when being brought out to Australia). This is currently in the legal process with an immigration hearing scheduled for August 2017.
In 2016 Sonja Eidson was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away in November 2016.
Wednesday’s cancellation of Patton’s visa and detention have come as a shock to the Eidson family and to Mr Katter’s office, as the immigration hearing for Maya is ongoing and Patton’s visa was sponsored by Maya.
The outpouring of community support and character references for the Eidson family have been overwhelming. The Eidson family pioneered an industry, they employed dozens of people, they sponsored community events, they hosted fundraisers – they are loved by the community they call home, Julatten.
Mr Katter commenting on the recent development s in the case said, “Patton has contributed – he built a business and has paid his taxes and we have made repeated representations on his behalf.
“The Eidsons have been a very contributing family. Patton and his late wife Sonja, they opened up their home and pioneered the wellness industry in Far North Queensland, creating jobs for people in an area that desperately needed jobs.
“Patton’s daughter, Maya, has one of the best restaurants in Mackay, where we’re desperately short of jobs and good high class restaurants for our tourists and our locals.
“Remember this is a bloke that came from America and his wife came from Europe. He just lost his wife of almost 50 years married, I mean the horrible insensitivity of what has occurred here is appalling and we will be saying so in formal questions with notice to the two ministers involved.
“Australia’s going to become a country where we’re scared silly of police over-kill. This poor 73 year old bloke who’s just lost his wife and was responsible for some alleged misdemeanour nearly half a century ago – to be detained by 15 police/Government officers, it’s just sickening.
“If you’re using Government resources to terrorise a well-loved, popular, respectable citizen you’d say it’s a waste of resources. Would one say these resources could be better used? Well quite frankly yes.
“I mean, a while ago, we had 23 police surround a bloke who made some stupid statements at a crocodile farm.
“Now they’re sending mass amounts of police/government officers around a bloke (Patton) that is so popular in his local community, the community plead his cause and stand by his side.
“When Patton had a little get together, I would have thought there were nearly 100 people – which would have been half of the town there, supporting him. This sort of thing that happened last night to Patton, it terrifies people.