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Andrew Giles to issue new visa directive as Anthony Albanese backs under siege minister

Dan Jervis-Bardy and Katina Curtis
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to dump Immigration Minister Andrew Giles.

Embattled Labor Minister Andrew Giles will issue a new directive to prevent child rapists and domestic abusers from winning back cancelled visas as the Federal Government scrambles to stem the fallout of the latest immigration crisis.

But a new spotfire has already emerged with revelations that convicted murderers and sex offenders released after last year’s High Court ruling are not being monitored with GPS trackers.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is standing by Mr Giles as the Coalition yet again demands the immigration minister’s sacking.

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The Government has been embroiled in a new immigration scandal after dozens of cases were brought to light in which people convicted of horrendous crimes including child rape had their visa cancellations overturned following challenges to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

The cases were linked to a direction Mr Giles signed in January last year, which instructed decision-makers to “generally afford a higher level of tolerance” to criminal conduct by foreigners who had spent most of their lives in Australia.

The so-called Direction 99 was intended to fix a long-running issue in the relationship with New Zealand that saw Kiwis being deported despite spending nearly their entire lives in Australia.

The Home Affairs department did not alert Mr Giles to the tribunal’s decisions – an oversight secretary Stephanie Foster admitted was a failure and the minister labelled “unacceptable”.

As the political pressure escalated on Wednesday, Mr Albanese announced in Parliament that Mr Giles would issue a new direction instructing decision-makers to consider the “protection of the community” ahead of all other factors.

Mr Giles said the tribunal was not following the intent of his original direction, resulting in decisions that were “very hard to reconcile with any sense of the expectations of the Australian community”.

Six visas had been re-cancelled as of Wednesday afternoon after Mr Giles committed to reviewing the old cases.

Mr Albanese attempted to turn the tables on Opposition Leader Peter Dutton during question time, digging up similar cases involving directions issued during his time as minister.

The Prime Minister highlighted a 2018 case in which the tribunal cited a direction Mr Dutton had issued, when it restored the visa of a Brazilian man convicted of robbery and assault and who was subject to an AVO from his girlfriend, and another involving an Iranian heroin dealer.

As the leaders traded barbs in the chamber, Home Affairs officials were being grilled in Senate estimates about the monitoring of the 153 detainees released into the community after last year’s High Court ruling. on indefinite detention

Under questioning from shadow home affairs minister James Paterson, officials revealed at least two murderers and 26 ex-immigration detainees charged with sex offences were not wearing GPS trackers.

Only 45 of 73 people previously charged with assault are subject to electronic monitoring.

It was also revealed that 29 non-citizens — roughly one-fifth of the cohort — have been charged with 69 State and Territory offences since November’s ruling on the NZYQ case.

Mr Giles on Wednesday confirmed that six applications to re-detain the most serious offenders had been referred for expert review, the final stage before a case is submitted to the courts.

A further 26 cases are in an “advanced stage of preparation”, he said.

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