I am relieved to hear that George Lombard responded to you promptly.
I think it is appalling that the DIAC website does not do enough to warn people like you in advance that you are likely to have problems if a disabled member of the family tries to migrate to Australia. Unfortunately, though, the only way that the situation will improve is if the Australian Government decides to follow the recommendations made by the JSCM in their Enabling Australia Report. That Report was tabled in Parliament on 21st June 2010 but so far there has been no formal Response from the Government.
In the long term, I think the Australian Government will be forced to buckle down and accept what the JSCM have said. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was ratified by Australia in 2008, I beleive. This Convention is known as "the CRPD." It says that somebody like your brother is entitled to the same free movement between countries as you are - his disability should not be allowed to stand in the way of his rights, as described in the CRPD.
The Australian Government believes that the problem is that if they allow the CRPD to apply fully, including to disabled people who wish to migrate to Australia (or, if there is intellectual impairment, someone else wishes this on behalf of a disabled person) that it will result in a huge increase in social care costs.
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians say that it won't.
The RACP Submission is #80. They said that the majority of disabled people who need help with personal care get that help from members of their families, not from Social Services. The RACP's members are all doctors so it is very unlikely that they do not know what they are talking about with this issue.
Undoubtedly, though, whilst it wouldn't require a massive increase in the work needed from Social Services, what it would do is to increase the Social Security bill massively. That would be inevitable and the only way to fund a dramatic increase in the Social Security bill is to get the money from the Australian tax-payers. That said, Australia prides itself on being an enlightened, civilised country. The CRPD says, in effect, that this means the Australian tax-payer will just have to pay more towards the cost of Social Security.
A minority Government such as the Gillard Government is not going to risk annoying the Voters (many of whom are also tax-payers) about something like this CRPD issue ahead of the General Election that must be held in 2013. However, whoever wins the next General Election, I think that the Government is going to get some serious lobbying about the issue as soon as the next Election is out of the way. Australia cannot sit on her hands forever about this issue.
I think Australia is going to have to bite the bullet on this, like it or not. For instance, an Australian with Down Syndrome would not be prevented from migrating to the UK. If the British Government believes that it it is reasonable to lumber the British taxpayer with a huge increase in the Social Security bill then the Australian Government will be between a rock and a hard place if it tries to maintain a different stance, it seems to me.
Also, in the worst case, you and your sister might decide to sell up in Australia and return to Malaysia (which is a much nicer country anyway, in my opinion.) If you returned to Malaysia, how would that help the Australian economy? It wouldn't, so I think the Australian Government is going to have to give in about this but I do think that it could take at least another 5-10 years before they do.
I can't say that I remember Johor Bahru well but I have driven through Johor, and JB, a few times during the 1970s when we were on our way to Singapore by car. My late father was a keen Freemason. He never told us anything much about it but he had been the District Grand Chaplain of the Eastern Archipelago, I discovered when I was sorting out his documents etc after his death. This District Grand Chaplain thing seemed to be one of the Orders of Freemasonry or whatever they are called.
Anyhow, Dad used to have to go to Singapore quite a lot for Lodge meetings. Mum always thought that this was a good excuse for her to go shopping in Singapore, so she insisted on going as well, which meant that my sister and I were taken along, too. So - we all piled into Dad's car with Dad and Halil, our driver, in the front and Mum, myself and my sister in the back! I think it was about 400 miles from Ipoh to Singapore in those days because it was before the Federal Highway was built. I remember that it used to take all day. Dad used to drive for the first 200 miles and then Halil would drive the rest of the way.
Halil deserved a sainthood. He used to put up with my mother (who has never been able to drive.) He used to find out from her in advance which shops etc Mum wanted to visit and then Halil told her, "Right, Ma'am. We will do it in YZX order." Good for him because otherwise she'd have been doubling back all over Ipoh. KL, Singapore or wherever and these shopping trips (which were always very boring for everyone except Mum) would have taken forever. So the rest of us cheered silently whenever Halil put his foot down with Mum about the order of attack! Traipsing round in the order that Halil had decided was always much quicker instead of being hopelessly inefficient and slow - which they would have been if Mum had been allowed to have her own way!
Round Ipoh and in Perak generally, the scenery was all either rubber estates or tin mines. In Johor, the scenery was pineapple plantations, I remember. I remember that distinctly because the scenery in Malaysia does vary a lot between one State and the next. The pineapple groves (or whatever they are called) always looked lovely. Are they still there? Up in Perak, most of the rubber estates have been replaced with palm oil plantations and most of the tin mines have been filled in and housing estates built on top of them. but the world still eats pineapples, so are those still grown in Johor or has Johor moved on to palm oil as well?
Also, we used to know a British family called Aziz who divided their time between Johor and the UK. Apparently there was a long-standing tradition amongst the Sultans of Johor that each successive Sultan would have four wives and the fourth wife would always be British. That tradition had gone on for more than 200 years according to Mum.
The Aziz family were related to the Sultan of Johor but I think it was a case of the Aziz family being descended from one of the British fourth wife of an earlier Sultan or something. The Aziz family were never going to inherit the Sultanate or anything but they were related to the current Sultan in some way, I was told.