22 January 2011


The first of several identity cases (dissertation fodder) from the NSW Administrative Decision Tribunal (ADT) ...

Kalim v Universities Admissions Centre (NSW & ACT) Pty Ltd [2010] NSWADT 277 followed Kalim v Universities Admissions Centre (NSW & ACT) Pty Ltd [2008] NSWADT 135. In the 2008 case Kalim argued that the decision by the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) - the national clearing-house for university entrance - to refuse assessment of his claimed offshore qualifications without verification constituted discrimination on the ground of his race in breach of section 19 of the Antidiscrimination Act 1977 (NSW). UAC had refused to assess Kalim's transcripts for a Bachelor of Science Degree and a partially completed Bachelor of Medicine degree from Kabul University because it had evidence that those transcripts might not be authentic and because it was unable to obtain verification of their authenticity from Kabul University.

The ADT noted that a UAC representative had commented that -
tertiary admissions organisations around the world take a very cautious approach to assessing qualifications from certain countries including China, the United States, the Russian Federation, Afghanistan and Pakistan ... because a large percentage of documents purporting to be from tertiary institutions in those areas are false. If there are indications that a document may not be authentic steps are taken to obtain verification from the tertiary institution concerned. If verification cannot be obtained, the qualification is not included when the application is assessed.

UAC’s concerns about the authenticity of Mr Kalim’s documents were based on the following grounds:
(a) before receiving Mr Kalim’s application, QTAC (the equivalent of UAC in Queensland) had raised the possibility that Mr Kalim was a person using various identities to make applications for study around Australia;

(b) both QTAC and UAC had received applications from those other identities and at least some of the documents annexed to each application were found to be fraudulent;

(c) when UAC received Mr Kalim’s application concerns were raised because those qualifications recorded very high marks and recorded that studies had been undertaken concurrently in Pakistan and Afghanistan;

(d) Mr Kalim’s application to QTAC and his first UAC application relate to people with identical birth dates and names, but a slightly different father’s name; and

(e) The relevant documents provided by Mr Kalim in subsequent applications to UAC were slightly different from the qualifications he had previously submitted.
UAC staff attempted to verify the validity of the academic transcripts with Kabul University by letter, facsimile, email and telephone but none of those attempts were successful. Mr Stanton became aware in January 2008, that the Federal Police were of the view that Mr Kalim had used other identities for the purpose of making applications to study at universities in Australia. Mr Stanton also noted that in two separate documents provided by Mr Kalim to the Anti-Discrimination Board, he purports to have studied Medicine at the University of Sindh in Pakistan from 2002 to 2005 and to have studied Medicine at the University of Kabul between 2003 and 2005. ... Mr Kalim provided no explanation for this discrepancy.
Kalim was reported by the ADT as indicating that -
Kalim alleged that Mr Stanton [ie for UAC] had falsified the documents showing discrepancies in his qualifications that were allegedly sent to QTAC. He says that he did not send those documents and they are "bogus". Mr Kalim says that he has applied directly to several universities and has been offered places in courses without the need for his qualifications to be authenticated. He also says that Kabul University does not recognise the authority of Mr Stanton, it only recognises the authority of the universities themselves. According to Mr Kalim that is why the Kabul University has not verified with Mr Stanton that his qualifications are genuine.
In 2008 the ADT found that UAC had not breached the discrimination statute. Last year's decision by the ADT concerned whether Kalim should pay some or all of UAC's costs as respondent.

The ADT stated that
Kalim is originally from Afghanistan. He arrived in Australia in June 2005. Since 2006 he has made numerous applications to the Universities Admissions Centre (NSW & ACT) Pty Ltd (UAC) for admission to study at various universities. UAC rejected those applications because of questions about the authenticity of the transcripts. The Chancellor of Kabul University has since advised UAC that the qualifications on which Mr Kalim relied are ‘fake’. Mr Kalim says that this assertion is all ‘lies and fabrication’.

3 Mr Kalim has made several complaints of race discrimination and victimisation against UAC under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (AD Act). These proceedings concern three of those complaints, two of race discrimination and one of victimisation. Mr Kalim lives in Perth and participated in all case conferences and hearings by phone. On 4 June 2010, the Tribunal dismissed all three complaints for ‘want of prosecution’: ADT Act, s 73(5)(g)(iv). UAC has applied for costs. Mr Kalim considers that UAC’s application amounts to ‘blackmail’.
The ADT held in favour of UAC, being "satisfied that it is fair for Mr Kalim to pay UAC’s costs having regard to the fact that he has: a) prolonging unreasonably the time taken to complete the proceedings; and b) vexatiously conducted the proceedings".