"Lawyers have called on the Australian government to “stop playing with
people’s lives” as it moves to re-detain dozens of people who were released
from immigration detention over Christmas.
About 160 people had been released from detention due to a full federal court
case ruling that aggregate sentences do not count for the purposes of the
Migration Act’s automatic visa-cancellation provisions.
An aggregate sentence refers to when a person is given a single sentence for
more than one offence.
Rather than appeal, the Albanese government pushed legislation through
parliament restoring its original interpretation. It passed the Senate with the
Coalition’s support on Monday despite outcry from refugee and asylum seeker
groups about its retrospective provisions.
Dozens of people whose visas were affected by the bill are now being told they
will be re-detained. Crossbench MPs and lawyers have raised concerns about the
impact on individuals with a series of low-level offences.
“These are some of the hardest conversations I’ve ever had with clients,” said
Rachel Saravanamuthu, a senior solicitor at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
“People have just begun to rebuild their lives – reunite with family, start new
jobs and have hope for their future. All of their dreams have been ripped away
so suddenly and they are devastated.”
Saravanamuthu said people had “already endured a traumatic visa cancellation
process and protracted time in detention, and now have to experience this all
over again which is particularly cruel”.
“The government must stop playing with people’s lives.”"
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics