Major update after refugees released

Australia’s highest court has delivered its reasons for ordering the release of hundreds of people being held indefinitely in immigration detention – some of them foreign criminals – after it found the scheme was “unlawful”.

The federal government suffered a humiliating setback after the High Court of Australia earlier this month overturned a decades-long precedent on the nation’s immigration detention scheme, calling it an “unprecedented” ruling.

In its landmark ruling, the High Court justices found a stateless man from Myanmar who had been in detention after serving time in jail for child sex offences had been unlawfully detained.

The man, given the pseudonym NZYQ, had been in detention since May this year.

Documents tabled in the Senate on November 16 reveal of the 92 people currently detained, 27 of them fall under the category of “very serious” violent offences.

The category includes “serious violent offences… (of) family/domestic violence, sexual or exploitative offences against women” and “very serious” crimes against children.

Of those detained, 47 had spent more than five years in detention.

One has spent up to 13 years in detention, the documents reveal.

Refugees from Afghanistan (18), Iran (17) and Sudan (10) make up the top three citizenships of current detainees.

9 are considered stateless, the department’s document states.

40 of the detainees are currently housed in NSW, 24 are in Victoria and 11 are in Queensland.

Eighty refugees were immediately released following the ruling, but there are hundreds more in “long-term detention” who could be released.

While the ruling has been hailed as historic by human rights advocates, the opposition has slammed the potential release of serious criminals into the community.

“The government argued against this but is required, by law, by the court, to release individuals who are affected, as any government would be required to do,” Immigration Minister Andrew Giles told reporters on November 18.

“The full implications of this unprecedented decision will not be clear until the High Court has handed down the reasons for its decision.

“The government is continually working to ensure that we have a legal framework in place that is effective. And we will consider future legislation, if required, including following these reasons, in order to keep the community safe.”

Mr Giles said the Rohingya man had since been released into the community on strict conditions.

The federal government this week hurriedly allocated $255m to “ensure the safety of the community” following the High Court’s decision.

Of the funding, $150m will go to the Australian Border Force (ABF) for more staff in investigations, removal and surveillance functions.

Federal police will get another $88m for regional response teams and staff to investigate visa breaches.

More to come.

Read related topics:Immigration


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.