All detainees can’t be put back behind bars, says attorney-general

Save articles for later

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

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus says it is not possible to legislate to lock up all former immigration detainees released when the High Court overturned indefinite detention, as the government prepares to introduce new laws to give judges the power to return some of the worst offenders to custody.

In a statement tabled in the Senate this morning, he said the government was not able to consider a former detainee’s criminal history when they were released. It comes as a violent sex offender, who was freed after the landmark ruling, was charged with indecent assault on the weekend.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus says the government can’t legislate to redetain all people released by the High Court ruling.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

“Following the High Court decision and reasons in the NZYQ matter, it is not legally possible to legislate to require the detention of all of the NZYQ-affected individuals on community safety grounds,” Dreyfus said in the statement published this morning.

Afghan refugee Aliyawar Yawari, who attacked three elderly women between 2013 and 2014 – indecently assaulting one of his victims in her home and hitting her with a walking stick – was deemed a “danger to the Australian community” by a South Australian sentencing judge in 2016.

Less than a month after he was released from immigration detention and forced to wear an ankle bracelet under emergency legislation passed in November by the Albanese government, Yawari allegedly indecently assaulted a woman on Saturday night at an Adelaide hotel where he was staying.

He is one of two former detainees to have faced court following their release after another man, 45-year-old Mohammed Ali Nadari, was accused of drug possession when police allegedly found him with cannabis in western Sydney on Saturday afternoon.

Aliyawar Yawari was released from immigration detention under the High Court’s ruling and has allegedly offended again.Credit: ABC

Labor frontbenchers were this morning forced to defend their colleagues, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil and Immigration Minister Andrew Giles, after the Coalition called for their sacking over the alleged incidents.

Finance Minister Katy Gallagher told ABC News Breakfast the pair were “incredibly hardworking ministers who have been thrown … an incredibly complex and complicated situation”, saying she still had faith in them.

Opposition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan said the ministers “have failed their number-one duty of keeping the Australian people safe”.

“The time has come for the prime minister to do the right thing and ask for these ministers to resign and if they don’t, he should sack them.”

But when interviewed on Sky News, Tehan also did not say, when asked, whether the Coalition would support the government’s new preventative detention laws.

Coalition frontbenchers have questioned whether the government needed to release as many former detainees as it has – currently, about 150 people who were previously detained with little hope of deportation.

But Dreyfus said the government had no legal basis to delay releasing anyone, and insisted the Department of Home Affairs “undertakes expert assessment” before freeing each individual.

“Moreover, whether a person is required to be released turns solely on whether they fall within the limit identified by the High Court’s order in NZYQ – and not, for example, on their personal circumstances, including any criminal history they may have,” he said.

Dreyfus said the new laws – which will allow a judge to put a convicted violent or sexual offender behind bars for up to three years – were closely modelled on preventative detention laws designed to lock up terrorists. The High Court had previously upheld those anti-terror laws.

He said the government had also offered to show legal advice regarding the new preventative detention laws to the opposition. “This offer has been made on a confidential basis to preserve legal professional privilege,” he said.

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

Most Viewed in Politics

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article