A brief look at the harm Australia’s 501 policy has caused & More Trending News


The current killing of a dairy proprietor in Auckland has as soon as once more introduced Australia’s migration legal guidelines to the fore. Don Rowe appears to be like again on the controversial 501 policy.

The man accused of murdering Auckland dairy employee Janak Patel final week is reported to have been deported from Australia earlier this yr beneath that nation’s harsh migration legal guidelines. Around 2,000 “501s” have arrived in New Zealand since 2014, a lot of them full strangers to the nation and Australian in each respect bar one – as residents. 

Police stated virtually half of deportees have reoffended since arriving in Aotearoa, alleging the policy has fueled a speedy improve in gang violence and organised crime. It warned that subtle felony networks at the moment are working in Aotearoa New Zealand, and decried what it calls a lack of awareness about who’s being deported and why.  

What is a 501?

Section 501 of Australia’s Migration Act 1958 was amended in 2014 to offer for the cancellation or refusal of the visa of any migrant who fails a nebulous “good character” check. This covers issues like phrases of imprisonment and felony exercise – but in addition stretches so far as social associations which are deemed undesirable. 

blue sky blue/teal building two police cars and people milling on the road
Protesters asking for a change of legal guidelines to guard these working in dairies (Image: Stewart Sowman-Lund)

While many 501s have felony information, it’s not a precondition for deportation from Australia. In 2016, Ko Rutene, a former soldier and bodyguard to John Key, was deported beneath the 501 policy on character grounds regardless of his clear felony file. Advocates have reported the deportation of the aged, and of at least one disabled teenager. 

Migrants travelling on a New Zealand passport arrive in Australia on a Special Category Visa (SCV) which permits them to stay, examine and work in the nation indefinitely. Because most of the perks of citizenship are granted beneath an SCV, many migrants go no additional, spending a long time constructing their lives in Australia on the identical visa. But the SCV remains to be legally short-term, subsequently it may be – and is – revoked by the state at their discretion.

Having moved to Australia as younger as two or three years previous, many migrants don’t have any connection to Aotearoa, and arrive depending on distant family and a welfare system they don’t have any expertise navigating. Few assets can be found for rehabilitation or triage. The man alleged to have killed Janak Patel has reportedly been residing in emergency housing in South Auckland since his return. Little else is publicly recognized. 

Some deportees depart behind spouses and kids. Some find yourself recidivist criminals. Some find yourself useless – both enroute or quickly after arrival. 

In 2015, Junior Togutaki, a 23-year-old New Zealand citizen who had lived in Australia since the age of 4 was discovered useless in his cell in Sydney’s Supermax jail the place he had been awaiting deportation. After calling for assist following a self-harm incident, Togatuki flooded his cell in a final try to draw the guards’ consideration. Investigators later reported that pleas for assist had been written on the partitions in blood. 

In 2016, New Zealand citizen Robert Peihopa died after a struggle at Villawood Detention Centre’s Blaxland compound. In 2017, current deportee Matthew Taylor was discovered useless in a Porirua playground.

Earlier this yr, graphic footage emerged of detainees on Christmas Island bleeding from wounds to the head and physique, zip-tied to furnishings, after reportedly being crushed with batons and metal pipes by the facility’s Emergency Response Team. Advocate Filipa Payne advised Māori Television that detainees needing medical care have been positioned in isolation and stated a few of the incarcerated – who’ve been on the island for so long as eight years – have been suicidal.

Professor Gillian Trigg, president of the Australian Human Rights Commission from 2012-2017, has described the circumstances in Australia’s detention centres – the place many Kiwis languish – as in breach of the United Nations Convention towards Torture.

The policy has proved controversial throughout successive Australian governments. Last yr, outgoing minister for house affairs Peter Dutton referred to deportees as “trash”. Dutton, who was the face of Australia’s hardline immigration policy, was quoted in a 9 News piece which included clips of journalist Jordan Fabris goading 501s boarding a flight again to New Zealand, asking them “how does it feel to be kicked out of Australia?”

In 2018, then-justice minister Andrew Little advised The Spinoff the deportation regime constituted “extraordinary abuse”. 

“You have a situation where somebody has done all their growing up in Australia, then offended criminally or associated with others or otherwise not met the various tests under Australian law – then to uproot someone from their community, from their household, and to put them in a country that is for all intents and purposes a foreign country to them, that is an extraordinary punishment.”

Earlier this yr, police minister Chris Hipkins cited the arrival of 501s as contributing to an escalation in gang exercise, saying there had been an “importation of a pattern of criminal activity” beforehand unseen in Aotearoa. 

Prime minister Jacinda Ardern has characterised the state of affairs as “corrosive” to trans-Tasman relations, warning Australia to not “deport your people and your problems”. But, following her first assembly with Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese this yr, Ardern downplayed the probability of a simple decision, saying the problem was, at its core, about citizenship.

Albanese has indicated that whereas some particulars could also be regarded at, the policy will stay. In the meantime, the deportations proceed, with no winners.

This is Public Interest Journalism funded by means of NZ On Air.

A brief look at the harm Australia’s 501 policy has caused

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