Springwood father Daniel Wass cycled from his Mountains home to Canberra’s Parliament House last week to raise awareness about his missing three-year-old son Sean.
When the Gazette tracked him down on Tuesday February 5, after four days on the road, he laughed loudly at suggestions he would make the return trip on his bike. “No way Jose!”.
Most people would find it surprising that Mr Wass still has any sense of humour at all, after spending the last two-and-a-half years battling red tape to try and find his son Sean who was abducted by his mother and is suspected of living in Japan.
Despite numerous court orders, including a Find and Recovery Publication Order from the Family Court of Australia, Mr Wass does not know the location or welfare of his son.
Daniel Wass’s situation has seemingly been put in the diplomatic ‘too hard basket’ as Japan is not a member of the Hague treaty which deals with abducted children.With a petition of 4500 names and a sign on his back saying “Stop and sign my petition” the Mountains salesman rode through Bowral, Goulburn and other Southern Highlands towns to hand the documents to the opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop and the Federal Member for Macquarie Louise Markus who has taken up his case.
Mr Wass rode part of the journey with Ken Thompson, another dad whose child was abducted but later recovered in Europe.
Mr Thompson is now helping the campaign to find Sean Wass by monitoring internet sites.
Riding into Canberra with about 15 friends and family members, who elected to cycle the last few kilometres by his side, Mr Wass didn’t really mind the two hour delay that occurred before he was able to talk to Ms Bishop.
“I’d ridden for more than three days and waited for two-and-a-half years so I wasn’t going anywhere.”
His petition calls on the Australian Government to “take a stance, strengthening domestic policies and developing a bilateral agreement with Japan that facilitates the return of children who have been abducted from Australia until such time as Japan becomes a signatory to the Hague Convention.”
“Hopefully someone else won’t have to wade through the courts the way I have had to.”
Sean Wass is now on the Interpol list. The petition is expected to be heard in Parliament in the next fortnight.
“If I can make changes in Australia . . . make the Prime Minister or the foreign minister say just one word about it... I’d like to think I will get some real answers.”
A spokeswoman from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has previously told the Gazette they were “aware of the case”.