Recently the Australia Enacts New Legislation Parliament approved legislation that could lead to migrants, with records facing up to five years in prison if they violate their visa terms. This action is in response to a High Court ruling that declared the detention of foreigners as unconstitutional overturning a ruling from 2004.
Following this decision 84 individuals, some of whom had been convicted of crimes like murder and rape have been released. The ruling also had an impact, on Australia Enacts New Legislation policies regarding asylum seekers arriving by boat and the deportation of criminals who had been living in the country for a time.
To ensure compliance, freed migrants are now required to wear electronic tracking bracelets and adhere to imposed curfews. Failing to follow these visa conditions could land them in prison for up to five years. This new legislation has sparked debates over human rights concerns, with lawyers arguing that the imposed measures could be seen as punitive and excessive.
David Manne, a lawyer representing several released migrants, emphasized the necessity for any new conditions to be reasonable, proportionate, and non-punitive. He added that granting the government sweeping powers to enforce severe restrictions without proper scrutiny is unsettling, given the urgency with which this legislation was introduced.
The Greens party has also come forward opposing what they believe are “draconian” laws that suppress refugee rights in Australia. Sen. Nick McKim, the Greens’ immigration spokesperson, noted that the party would not support laws that provide unprecedented powers to the minister.
While awaiting further reasoning from the High Court’s seven judges concerning their decision, Immigration Minister Andrew Giles revealed that additional legislation might be considered.
Focusing on those migrants who previously had their visas canceled or were denied visas due to criminal records or poor character assessments, indefinite detention orders were given as deportation options seemed unfeasible. Among those affected are Afghans whose deportation has been halted following the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan, as well as Iranians who will only be repatriated if they voluntarily return to their home country.
The case in focus revolves around a member of Myanmar’s oppressed Rohingya Muslim community, referred to as NZYQ, who faced conviction for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy in Sydney back in 2015. Subsequently, he received a five-year sentence for his crime. NZYQ arrived in Australia in 2012 through the assistance of a people smuggler and committed the assault just four months after being released from an initial period of detention for migrants. Following his time in prison, authorities placed him under indefinite detention.