KIMBERLEY CAINES: Immigration detainee blunders prove to be totally unending

Kimberley Caines
The West Australian
2 Min Read
It took Labor eight days to patch up legislation to ensure the 149 former detainees released after the court ruling were sticking to their curfews and were wearing ankle bracelets.
It took Labor eight days to patch up legislation to ensure the 149 former detainees released after the court ruling were sticking to their curfews and were wearing ankle bracelets. Credit: Paul Miller/AAP

The Albanese Government has been on the back foot ever since the High Court ruled it unlawful to keep foreign criminals locked up in immigration detention indefinitely.

It took Labor eight days to patch up legislation to ensure the 149 former detainees released after the court ruling were sticking to their curfews and were wearing ankle bracelets.

But the Australian Border Force was not prepared and it was more than another week until it acquired the GPS trackers and had them put on.

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A new preventative detention regime became law two weeks after that to put the worst offenders — including rapists and murderers — back behind bars.

Applications need to be filed to the Supreme Court to do that, with Immigration Minister Andrew Giles saying a “very high legal threshold (needs) to be met for a successful outcome”.

No applications have yet been lodged.

The Federal Government was last week forced to reissue visas for the cohort due to a technical glitch dating back to 2013.

Four months on after the debacle started, press gallery journalists were summoned to a rare briefing in Canberra on Friday with Giles, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil and ABF Commissioner Michael Outram.

This was their way of trying to get ahead of the situation, which we learnt was far from over.

Another High Court challenge next month will determine whether about 150 more people will be released from immigration detention.

O’Neil wanted to make it clear that the immigration detention mess was, in fact, the fault of the judges, not her Government.

“The High Court, through a series of major decisions, has drawn new boundaries around the powers of the executive and the Parliament,” she said.

“And there continues to be uncertainty about exactly where those boundaries will ultimately be drawn when it comes to key aspects of migration law.”

Either way, it is the responsibility of the Albanese Government to manage the former detainees to keep our community safe and to be prepared ahead of the next ruling because it now knows what to expect.

Stop with the excuses and pass the buck.

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