‘Uncontactable’ former immigration detainee located following High Court release
A released immigration detainee that refused a mandatory electronic tracker has been located.
It is understood that on Wednesday afternoon, federal agencies found the ‘uncontactable’ former detainee, who is now complying with stringent visa conditions.
The former immigration detainee was one of 141 people who have been released from indefinite immigration detention since the High Court handed down its landmark NZYQ decision earlier this month.
The court found a stateless Rohingya man from Myanmar who raped a boy was being held unlawfully in continued detention.
All released detainees are now subject to laws that swiftly passed the parliament, including wearing electronic monitoring devices and abiding by curfews.
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However, five of those people have refused to wear the monitoring devices, with one unable to be traced by authorities.
The matter was referred to the Australian Federal Police by Border Force on Monday.
On Wednesday morning, the Coalition ramped up its attacks on Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil over the government’s response to the NZQY ruling.
In a panel appearance with Finance Minister Jane Hume on Wednesday morning, Ms O’Neil came under fire for putting Australians at risk and refusing to take responsibility.
“This is your incompetence. You put the Australian public at risk,” Senator Hume told Ms O’Neil.
“You could have been calling for preventive detention weeks ago, you could have had your eye on the ball. Quite frankly, you should be embarrassed that you have put the public at risk.
“You should either resign or at least apologise.”
Ms O’Neil said she was “disappointed” in Senator Hume.
“When the High Court gives an order to the government, you must follow that order,” she said.
“Any grade 6 student can tell you that.
“You may think it’s optional for politicians, but we follow the law.”
Earlier, Ms O’Neil had warned the parliament that members wouldn’t be going home for the summer at the end of next week unless tough preventive detention legislation was passed.
That leaves open the potential for the House of Representatives to sit late Wednesday and Thursday, and potentially carry on to Friday and/or Saturday in order to hash out the legislation.
Ms O’Neil pleaded for the Coalition to “work with us”.
“We are not going home until a preventive detention regime has been adopted by this parliament,” she said.
“I say to Peter Dutton today, stop slowing us down and work with us to make sure that we can pass these laws and keep the community safe.”
The Coalition’s home affairs spokesman James Paterson said the government should introduce legislation and brief the opposition immediately.
“We have heard absolutely nothing from the government at all. No briefings have been offered and no draft legislation has been shared,” he said.
“We are prepared to co-operate if the government introduces what we asked them to do, but we can’t do that until the government acts.”
He said the government also needed to answer questions about whether all 141 detainees should have been released, given the High Court had only ruled the NZQY plaintiff was included in the decision.
“We think it’s possible, maybe even probable, that some of these people who were released didn’t need to be,” he said.
Constitutional law expert Anne Twomey has warned the High Court decision, which outlines the potential for preventive detention for those detainees found to be an unacceptable risk of reoffending and therefore posing a threat to the community, cannot be treated as a blanket law.
“Certainly the opposition, and possibly the government, wants to do some kind of legislation that treats this entire category of people as people that you can just chuck back into detention on the basis that it’s a risk to the community – this judgment wouldn’t support that,” she told ABC Radio.
“What this judgment would support, however, is under a law if you have a process in which a person can go before a court and a judge can make some kind of a finding against them – saying that they’re satisfied that there’s reasonable grounds to believe that making an order of detention is in the public interest because of an unacceptable risk that they’ll commit a crime in the future – then that person as an individual can be detained.
“Trying to detain an entire group of people simply because they’re unlawful non-citizens is not going to work, so it’s going to have to be some kind of individualised process.”
Originally published as ‘Uncontactable’ former immigration detainee located following High Court release
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