For reasons of state

Following on from AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty’s recent decision to try his hand at comedy after the Coalition loses the Federal election later this year, Minister for Immigration Kevin Andrews has declared his intention to become a rock *. And apparently, he’s a fan of Judas Priest:

There I was completely wasting, soon thrown out of town
All inside it’s so frustrating, as the polls go down and down
Feel as though nobody cares, if I live or die
So I might as well begin, to put some action in my life

Breaking the law, breaking the law
Breaking the law, breaking the law
Breaking the law, breaking the law
Breaking the law, breaking the law

Or to put it another way:

Finding a way to keep Haneef locked up
Mark Davis
Sydney Morning Herald
July 16, 2007

For a few hours today Mohammed Haneef, the Gold Coast-based doctor accused of supporting terrorists, was free to walk the streets, in theory if not in practice.

About 10am today a Brisbane magistrate decided to release Haneef on bail pending his trial on charges of breaching anti-terrorism laws in connection with the recent bombing in Glasgow. But as Haneef’s legal team started making arrangements to meet the bail conditions, including raising a $10,000 surety, Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews found another way to keep the Indian doctor in custody.

At 2.45pm in Canberra Mr Andrews announced he had decided to cancel Haneef’s visa because the medico had failed the Migration Act‘s requirements for immigrants to be of good character. The upshot of this decision is that the Indian doctor will now be held in Sydney’s Villawood immigration detention centre until his trial on the terrorism charges is finalised. And even if Haneef is eventually acquitted by the Australian courts, Mr Andrews decision would allow the Government to then deport him from the country in any case.

Civil libertarians attacked the minister’s decision as a way of circumventing the Brisbane court’s decision to release the doctor on bail and said it prejudged the issue of Haneef’s guilt or innocence. Mr Andrews insisted the legal process he had invoked under the Migration Act was separate to the criminal proceedings under way in Brisbane.

Under section 501 of the Act, a “character test” applies to people seeking visas to enter the country. A person fails the character test if, among other things, he or she has an association with another person or group whom the minister suspects is involved in criminal conduct.

Mr Andrews said he had considered information provided by the Australian Federal Police. Based on this information, he had formed a reasonable suspicion that Haneef had an association with those accused of carrying out the Glasgow bombing and had decided to cancel his visa.

Normally the result of having one’s visa cancelled is that one is deported (once any appeals against the minister’s decision are finalised). But in Haneef’s case, the Attorney-General is likely to issue a “criminal justice stay certificate” stopping him from being deported until the finalisation of his trial.

Haneef has two avenues of appeal against these migration decisions. Firstly, he can apply to Mr Andrews to revoke the decision cancelling his visa. Secondly, he can go to the Federal Court and ask it to review Mr Andrews’s decision on legal grounds. But his chances under both of those avenues are made harder because Mr Andrews has invoked a special “national interest” element of the section 501 visa cancellation process.

The Migration Act provides that when the minister is satisfied it would be in the national interest to cancel a person’s visa, then the legal rules of natural justice do not apply to his decision. In a strict legal sense, Mr Andrews’s decision is separate to the criminal proceedings under way in Brisbane. Haneef will join many other immigrants in Villawood whose visas have been cancelled on character grounds. But in a practical sense, the visa cancellation is a mechanism that has allowed the Government to override the decision of the Brisbane magistrate and ensure that Haneef, whether guilty or not guilty of the terrorism charges, never tastes freedom again in Australia.

What a load of bollocks. So too, the ALP’s decision to move in lockstep with the Gub’mint: ‘Labor spokesman Tony Burke accepts the Minister’s decision. “On the information provided by the Minister, Labor provides in principle support,” he said.’

    There is no horror, no cruelty, sacrilege, or perjury, no imposture, no infamous transaction, no cynical robbery, no bold plunder or shabby betrayal that has not been or is not daily being perpetrated by the representatives of the states, under no other pretext than those elastic words, so convenient and yet so terrible: “for reasons of state”. ~ Mikhail Bakunin, Federalism, Socialism, Anti-Theologism, 1867

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2024 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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