High Court publishes reasons for indefinite detention decision

Save articles for later

Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.

The High Court’s reasons for its landmark ruling that indefinite immigration detention is illegal have been handed down, potentially accelerating more laws as the federal government grapples with border protection policy.

In a joint statement, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil and Immigration Minister Andrew Giles acknowledged the publication of the legal reasons for the November 8 decision, which overturned 20 years of legal precedent and triggered the release of 138 former detainees, including convicted murderers and rapists.

The High Court of Australia has delivered its reasons in the NZYQ case.Credit: Andrew Meares

“Community safety remains the utmost priority of the government, which will continue to work with authorities to carefully consider the implications of these reasons and finalise rigorous and robust legislation,” the statement reads.

In a summary of the reasons, the court found the government contravened the Constitution on the basis that detention was punitive “in circumstances where there was no real prospect of the removal of the plaintiff from Australia becoming practicable in the reasonably foreseeable future”.

The successful legal challenge to indefinite detention by a stateless Rohingya man – a child sex offender given the pseudonym NZYQ – has unleashed a political storm on the government, forcing it to urgently introduce legislation for mandatory electronic monitoring and curfews on freed detainees.

The government has foreshadowed creating more laws if needed, with O’Neil telling journalists last week said she was seeking advice on measures similar to counter-terror laws that would allow the worst offenders to be locked back up if deemed a risk to the community.

On Sunday, the government announced Australian Border Force and Home Affairs staff numbers would be increased as part of a $255 million injection designed to bolster community safety.

On Monday, ABF commissioner Michael Outram revealed 132 of the 138 people released had been fitted with monitors, two were “complex cases” and four had been referred to the Australian Federal Police for refusing to comply with their conditions.

Outram said one of the released detainees was unable to be located. An AFP spokesperson refused to comment when asked for details about the investigation.

Giles introduced more legislation on Monday that clarified the powers of ABF officers to monitor the released detainees, and created criminal penalties for disobeying certain conditions.

“We are making strict laws stricter, tough laws tougher,” he said.

But after the delivery of the High Court’s reasons was accelerated from February to Tuesday, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton refused to back those amendments, calling on the government to wait until the reasons were released.

More to come

Cut through the noise of federal politics with news, views and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up to our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here.

Most Viewed in Politics

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article