Immigration Minister Andrew Giles safe despite revelations Direction 99 overturned rapists’ deportations

Sarah Blake, Dan Jervis-Bardy and Katina Curtis
The Nightly
3 Min Read
The PM’s support for his factional ally came as the visa crisis hitting the Federal Government continued to spiral on Wednesday, with revelations of unmonitored murderers in the community.
The PM’s support for his factional ally came as the visa crisis hitting the Federal Government continued to spiral on Wednesday, with revelations of unmonitored murderers in the community. Credit: LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

The Albanese Government has been forced into a humiliating visa law back down amid growing community outrage over a decision by Immigration Minister Andrew Giles that overturned the deportations of dozens of serious criminals, including child sex offenders and rapists.

But while Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday announced the Government would revise the contentious Direction 99 that has led to as many as 60 serious overseas-born criminals being allowed to continue living in Australia, he also stood by his under-fire minister.

Despite widespread and growing calls for Mr Giles to either stand down or be sacked, the PM expressed support for his factional ally and close friend.

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It came as the visa crisis hitting the Federal Government continued to spiral on Wednesday, with new revelations that two murderers released after a High Court ruling banning indefinite detention were not wearing ankle monitors despite assurances from the Government that the freed cohort’s whereabouts would be tracked.

Shadow home affairs minister James Paterson asked in a fiery Senate Estimates hearing how many of the seven convicted murderers listed among the group of 153 offenders released after the NZYQ ruling were being electronically monitored.

Australian Border Force officials replied that it was less than five.

“So there are at least two murderers who are not being electronically monitored? That’s extraordinary,” Senator Paterson said.

Police have charged 29 of the non-citizens released from immigration detention with at least 69 State and Territory offences.

Almost half the charges laid are for theft or assault, Home Affairs officials revealed on Wednesday.

At the time of the alleged offences, 25 were subject to curfews and 26 were being monitored by ankle trackers.

One former detainee, Majid Jamshidi Doukoshkan, 43, made national headlines when it was revealed he was allegedly involved in a violent home invasion and robbery of elderly couple Ninette Simons, 73, and her husband Philip, 76, in their Perth home in April.

Since the start of April, the AFP has publicly reported 15 times they have charged people from the NZYQ cohort with alleged visa breaches, including breaking curfew, failing to report in or not correctly charging their ankle monitoring bracelets.

Australian Immigration Minister Andrew Giles reacts during Question Time at Parliament House in Canberra, Monday, March 25, 2024. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING
Despite widespread and growing calls for Mr Giles to either stand down or be sacked, the PM expressed support for his factional ally and close friend. Credit: LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

The Opposition on Wednesday sharpened its attacks on Mr Giles after dozens of cases were brought to light where people convicted of crimes — including child rape — had visa cancellations overturned when they took their claims to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

“Andrew Giles should be sacked,” said Senator Paterson.

“He’s been shown to have no judgement when it comes to community protection. He puts everything before community protection.

“And the results are plain for people to see. At least three, possibly four child sex offenders who are allowed to stay in Australia as a result of this direction.”

The AAT overturned the deportations under Direction 99, signed by Mr Giles in January 2023, which said that decisions to cancel visas “will generally afford a higher level of tolerance of criminal or other serious conduct by non-citizens who have lived in the Australian community for most of their life or from a very young age”.

The direction was intended to fix a long-running issue in the relationship with New Zealand that saw Kiwis who had spent nearly their entire lives in Australia being deported.

But the true scope of its flaws has been exposed this week in a series of revelations, including that British serial rapist Charles William Davidson was allowed to remain in Australia despite being convicted of 26 sexual assaults on women and a child and that a Sudanese-born criminal who self-identified as Indigenous was allowed to stay.

After days of escalating pressure that has distracted from the Government’s bedding down of the May Budget and attempts to reset ahead of a Federal Election within the next year, Mr Albanese said he was revising the direction.

“The new directive will ensure that the protection of the community outweighs any other consideration.”

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