In December 2014 Section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 was amended.
The changes have given the Immigration Minister and the government unprecedented powers to revoke visas for reasons far less than ever before to any non-citizen of Australia, regardless of considerable ties, family, length of time living in Australia, employment and no ties to the country of origin
eg Adam was born in 1985 and was brought to Australia as an infant that same year. His entire family live in Australia but he was deported recently to NZ where he has an aunty and an uncle whom he doesn't remember. Despite serving his sentence for petty crimes he was detained, suffered horrendous mistreatment including bashings, segregation, kidnapped from one detention centre to another, handcuffed with zip ties for at 13 hours at a time. Adam has been traumatised due to his experiences in detention of which he witnessed asylum seekers self harming themselves and he was present when one set himself on fire and died.
By virtue of free travel between Australia and New Zealand New Zealander's are likely to be the largest group of non citizens that have been living in Australia .
Twelve months ago New Zealanders weren't in the top 10 list of most deported nation from Australia. We are now ranked the second highest but numbers are set to continue to soar.
There are many concerning issues around the cancelled visas including the retrospective rule, processes associated and alleged mistreatment of people held in detention centres, particularly Christmas Island.
Sadly, the situation was highlighted when a young NZ male Junior Togatuki was found deceased in September 2015 in solitary confinement in Sydney's Goulburn Prison. Junior had been living in Australia from the age of 4yrs old. Julie Bishop, Foreign Affairs Minister ordered an inquiry into his mysterious death but the family are yet to be notified.
"Junior Togatuki should have been free. The 23-year-old had spent all of his adult life and much of his youth inside NSW prisons.
But more than a month after his sentence expired, he was still languishing in solitary confinement in Goulburn’s Supermax prison. His Australian visa had been revoked, and as his release date passed, his isolation cell transitioned seamlessly into defacto immigration detention. Battling schizophrenia and anxiety, his mental health deteriorated as he waited for a deportation date for New Zealand, which he'd left when he was four years old."
The criteria for cancelled visas ranges from being a hardened criminal to a failed character test. The two are a polar opposites and we have seen people have had their visas cancelled for mediocre charges such as driving offences, shoplifting and possession of marijuana.
A failed character test is completely up to the discretion of the minister and does not need to follow natural justice. Causes for a cancelled visa include but are not restricted to:
- A threat to national security
- 12 months imprisonment
- Accumulative imprisonment sentences
- Suspended sentences
- Periodic Detention
- Drug Rehabilitation
- Association with any known individual or group who are involved in criminal activity
Numerous reports have been made to the Australian Human Rights Commission and the NZ Consulate but their ability to intervene or investigate claims seems redundant and powerless.
To date we have dealt with well over 80 cases and none have been along the lines of murder or sexual offenders. Almost all are for very minor offences .
The following segment is from Minister Peter Dutton but we are yet to see evidence that anyone has appealed ...
Tuesday, 08 December 2015
No individual returned to New Zealand is denied the right to continue appeals processing already underway in relation to the cancellation of their visa.
Cases have already occurred where New Zealand citizens have returned to Australia after receiving an appeal decision in their favour while they were back in New Zealand.
Under Section 501CA(4) of the Migration Act the Minister may revoke the original cancellation decision if:
- The person makes representations in accordance with the invitation; and
- the Minister is satisfied:
- that the person passes the character test; or
- that there is another reason why the original decision should be revoked.
Applications to revoke a visa cancellation will continue to be processed after an individual has departed Australia.
Signing a form to support voluntary removal will have no impact on this obligation, and individuals who have done so should have no concerns.
Processing a revocation application would only cease, if an individual chooses to withdraw their application.
To remove any doubt, I have instructed the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to clarify the wording in all material provided to individuals seeking voluntary removal.
I have made a commitment that New Zealanders who are successful in their revocation application will not be liable for the costs of their voluntary removal and this commitment stands.
Last update: Tuesday, 08 December 2015
Raymond was born in NZ in 1965 to a NZ mother and Australian father. They moved to Australia when he was 3yrs old. He never left the country ever and was even made a ward of the state at age 8yrs old. His crimes were a theft. He also served several years in prison of which he was eventually completely acquitted. But upon applying through a lawyer for compensation he was then arrested and imprisoned for driving without a licence and possessing $300 worth of jewellery of which he could not provide proof of purchase. He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment and then immediately put into detention and eventually deported to NZ In October 2015. His 80+ year old parents still live in Australia along with his two young children, spouse and Australian born siblings. Watch story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vvo-G3_Xgqw&feature=youtu.be
War hero Ko Rutene has been detained without any convictions whatsoever.
Excerpt taken from NZ Labour MP Kelvin Davis:
"No one says these guys are angels.
Kopa: A 19-year-old detainee with burn scars over 85% of his body from a childhood accident. He has had ongoing health problems with the scars not growing. He cannot lift one arm above his shoulder. He should have been detained near a hospital that could help him.
While on parole Vena intervened in a domestic dispute in the street. He stopped a woman from being beaten by her partner after his daughter pleaded with him to do something. Instead of being praised for his actions, he was charged with assault and detained.
Jason: In Villawood detention centre in Sydney. His wife and children live on the Gold Coast. Over time his wife saved $4000 to fly down with the kids to Sydney to visit him for a few days. It was to be the first time the children had seen their family in almost a year. Villawood knew they were coming. On the day they were to arrive, Jason was sent to Christmas Island. His family never saw him.
Ronald: Born in Australia. He’s only ever known that country. If he has to be deported he wants to go to Bali because he knows more about that country than New Zealand.
Leon: (not his real name) has had to come to terms with a fair share of family tragedies which include witnessing family members being murdered, finding one who had committed suicide, being sexually abused and experiencing domestic violence. It took 18 years for him to heal. Seeing many of those same tragedies unfold in front of him on Christmas Island has set his recovery back.
Ricardo: Played for the Junior Kangaroos. He was a role model Aussie when he wore the green and gold jersey, with hand on heart he sang Advance Australia Fair and blew Junior Kiwis off the field. He has gone from being an exemplary Aussie to a Kiwi crim that doesn’t deserve to call Australia home."
Ra is currently in Villawood Detention Centre, Sydney for possession of marijuana and a driving offence. His Australian spouse is suffering terminal lung cancer and Ra has not been allowed to be released to care for her. They live alone. Please sign the petition and let the Immigration Minister Peter Dutton know this is an abominable rule that makes no sense nor allows one of his own citizens the dignity to be cared for in her final stages of her illness.
Carmel has lung cancer and her partner is being deported - don’t let her die without him!
Christmas Island Riot 2015 - Detainees were tipped over the edge when refugee Fazel Chegini died under suspicious circumstances: