Beefed up detention laws to be nutted out in parliament
Immigration detainees who were recently freed could be locked up again under proposed laws the Albanese government wants to urgently pass.
The legislation is modelled on anti-terror laws introduced under the Coalition and would treat released immigration detainees similar to terrorist offenders.
The government and Coalition will nut out the finishing touches of a regime this week.
The Albanese government has been scrambling for a solution after some murderers and sex offenders were among 148 immigration detainees released into the community under a High Court ruling.
Upon their release last month, the government rushed through laws requiring the dangerous detainees to wear ankle monitors and abide by night-time curfews.
But now Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil is working on an expansion of the preventative detention regime that applies to terrorists.
Under the measures, called the Community Safety Scheme, migrants could be re-detained if a court was satisfied there was “a high degree of probability that the person poses an unacceptable risk of committing a serious violent or sexual offence”.
The legislation would also make it a criminal offence for people who have been convicted of serious or violent sexual offences to go near a school or contact their victim or their victim’s family.
The maximum length of the order is three years and the minister will need to reapply to the court for a review every year.
Enhanced supervision of an offender being released can also imposed for three years if the court finds they’re a risk to the community “on the balance of probabilities”.
This can also carry extra requirements, such as the person needing to report to police and update them if their details change.
The order would again last for a maximum of three years and need to be reviewed by the court every 12 months.
Breaching this order carries a mandatory minimum sentence of one year behind bars and a maximum of five.
The Coalition has also been calling for preventative detention. Opposition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan said the laws needed to be as strong as possible.
“The second thing we want from them is we want them to re-engage in trying to find countries where they can send these detainees,” he said.
“The High Court has made it clear, if there are real prospects that these people can be removed overseas, they can be detained.”
But a former national security watchdog has branded the measure a disgrace.
Former independent national security legislation monitor Grant Donaldson had previously called for an end to preventative detention orders being used. He doubted the laws would make the community safer.
Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young accused the government of kowtowing to fear being spread by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.
“There is a race to the bottom here. This is all about making refugees and migrants a group in our community that people are afraid of,” she told the ABC on Sunday.
The government is also pushing ahead with laws that would strip dual citizens convicted of terrorist or espionage offences of their Australian nationality. That legislation has cleared the lower house and is before the Senate.
Eminent constitutional lawyer George Williams has also cast doubt on whether the stripping of citizenship makes the community safer.