Under the Migration Amendment Bill 2014 in Australia, it is mandatory to send people back to their birth country when sentenced to a total of 12 months or more. In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Committee condemned Australia for violating the human rights of permanent residents.
Angela Russell is a 40-year-old kiwi living in Queensland who was notified after three months into her nine-month sentence that she faced deportation. She has lived in Australia for 37 years but due to “character” grounds, Angela has been waiting for her internal review at Darwin’s Wickham Point detention center since April 17.
There are 12 Kiwis at the same detention center as Angela who are facing deportation. Despite Australia being a multicultural nation, its mentality doesn’t show it to be accepting of this.
Australian Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton said the new law allows for the cancellation of visas for criminals and deportation of offenders who have accumulated many minor convictions. This is like Angela Russell’s case where a number of minor offenses since 2008 were included in the term of her sentence.
Northern Territory criminal lawyer, Lyma Nguyen told VICE, “I’ve been appalled at the way the department has handled this particular case and I’m sure this is not the first or the only case that it’s handling in this way… The punitive effect is that people end up being detained in administrative detention, deprived of their liberty, and separated from their family, for the original offense they committed, which they’ve already served a sentence in prison for.”
Since the new amendments, cancellations of visas have increased exponentially. The Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection showed that there were 580 cancellations in 2014 to 2015 and there were 76 in 2013 to 2014. This is a 660% increase in deportations.
166 New Zealanders were in immigration detention centres at the end of July this year as opposed to the 52 deported in the whole of 2014. Although most of these offenders are deported for minor crimes, the top four offenses that warrant deportation is assault, violent offenses, drug-related crimes and child sex offenses. By throwing these criminals out of their country means that New Zealand needs to take them back.
A spokesperson for the NZ Ministry of Justice told VICE that they have “put in place systems to manage those offenders once they are in NZ.” There are programs the government can provide which will register deported offenders and provide legislative supervision.
In light of this let us not forget the quote by Muldoon, ‘New Zealanders who leave for Australia raise the IQ of both countries’.