zondag 27 december 2015
What inspired you to start a writing career?
When the Australian Immigration Department refused me an Australian passport on the technicality of “Your Australian Citizenship papers do not state if you were born as a male or female, so you cannot have a passport”. It did not unduly worry me. It just meant that my wife had to travel to Britain on her own. With the money saved by me not going with her, I was able to install more solar electricity generating panels and tile the floor in the kitchen area and refurbish both bathrooms in the house.
So, my wife set off for Britain, and while she was there, I received a letter from Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), that they would now cancel my Australian Citizenship papers on the grounds that I had “Falsified a Legal Document” in that I had lied about my age when I joined the Australian Army in 1967.
This set off a period of despair, which was followed by a long period of extreme anger. Looking at my situation, it became apparent to me that many negative thoughts were present because of the whole fiasco with DIAC and I began to think that I had better do something about the situation because it was not legal to hold an Australian Driver’s Licence unless I also had either “Approved Residency Status or else Australian Citizenship” In my case, I now had neither of these. That night I obtained a case of Cooper’s Stout and proceeded to consume it.
My next act was to employ Engineering Problem Solving Techniques, by firstly Defining the problem, next listing all factors pertaining to the problem and then listing possible solutions. The list was then put into the desk drawer overnight. During the night, more solutions presented themselves. These resulted in my posting the entire problem onto the Veteran’s Net which resulted in suggestions of how to deal with the problem and an offer of help from a Defence writer of a major newspaper and that marked the beginning of the end for DIAC. It was during this time that I began approaching the whole mess as a military operation which had to be won. This meant that all correspondence had a distribution list at the bottom of all correspondence and that all people listed on this did in fact receive a copy of the communication. As well, everything was sent by registered mail, meaning that the recipients had to sign for the mail. All mail was followed up by email.
At a later date, after my wife had returned from Britain and things were finally resolved, we held a function at my home and quests were astounded by the story. They found it difficult to believe that an Australian Citizen could be stripped of his citizenship for the “Great Crime of Serving the Country During the Time of War” One of these guests said, “Mick, if I had not seen the documents from DIAC, I would not have believed this. It is almost totally unbelievable and I think you should put this story into a fictional novel and pull no punches when you write it. I think that this story has the potential to be a best seller.” As this person was an ex-newspaper man, I have done as he suggested, one thing about all of this has been the calming influence of writing about the then problem. All has been resolved and I am now again an Australian citizen complete with Australian passport and what happened is just a memory.
Author: Michael Kramer
Genre: Historical Fiction
In 2013, Carolyn and Michael Georg Kaspar Friedrich Lampman applied for passports at the Albury Post Office and while hers went through immediately, (she is Australian born), his application resulted in a phone call being made to Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) and that department refusing him a passport on the grounds that his Australian Naturalisation Certificate “Did not say if his gender was male or female.” It did however; state that “Michael Georg Kaspar Friedrich Lampman presented himself before me at the Millicent Council Chambers on …. To swear allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her Heirs and Successors. This makes one wonder if the clerks at DIAC are conversant enough in the English language to know that “Himself” can only mean a male.
Michael’s reason for wanting his passport was to return to Vietnam and to fulfil his promise to a Buddhist Monk to return as a qualified engineer to help to rebuild the country that he had helped to destroy as a young Australian soldier in the Vietnam War during 1968 and 1969.
At a later date, DIAC cancelled his citizenship and papers, (he was a naturalised Australian Citizen, originating from Germany) even threatening to send him to jail for two years, for “Falsifying an Official Document,” resulting in him then using “Engineering Problem Solving Techniques” to rectify the situation as he was now also driving illegally on the grounds that in NSW it is not legal for someone to hold a driver’s licence unless that person has either “Approved Residency Status” or Australian Citizenship.
This is the story of a man’s battle and final victory against rampant bureaucracy, racism and PTSD. It deals with the first symptoms of PTSD, its diagnosis and its treatment and self-help strategies.
In 1967, he volunteered for service with the Australian Army in the Vietnam War, and was told that seeing how he was only twenty years old, he would need the signatures of his parents in order to join the army. Yet, the Australian Government was calling up males aged twenty years for service in the war if they wanted to serve or not. This prompted him to simply alter the date of birth on his Australian Naturalisation Certificate from 01/03/1947 to 01/03/1946 and he was in the army and this action was something that would become a problem forty five years later.
He went on to serve in Vietnam with the First Battalion of Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR) and continued to serve until he received a medical discharge some ten years later. As a treatment strategy for diagnosed PTSD, he was instructed to undertake tertiary studies which resulted in his better management of PTSD and his becoming a much better person as a result. In time, he was to undertake studies and now holds the Advanced Diploma of Mechanical Engineering, and the Associate Degree of Civil Engineering. He operates his own architectural and engineering drafting service, providing a high level of competent drafting work.
In 2010, he applied for an Australian passport which was refused by Immigration on the grounds that his Naturalisation Certificate did not list his gender. At a later date, the Australian Department of Immigration cancelled his Australian Citizenship papers, which have since been re-issued to him as well as an Australian passport. At a function held at his home, it was suggested that he put the experiences into a novel and this is the result.
Author Website: http://mickkramer.com/