This time, our application was accepted.
It proved to me that Australia was a fair country where "what you see is what you get". The rules are clear and reasonable, and are applied impartially. [After 15 years in the country, my views have only been reinforced.]
So we finally got our much-coveted "green card" before we travelled to Australia. This was in early 1998. Our arrival here was with a valid resident visa and therefore completely kosher. No people smugglers were involved and no boat journey was required. The plane ride was comfortable and our adjustment very smooth (with initial help from old friends from India now settled in Sydney).