Leaders to be briefed on safety after detainees freed

Clare O'Neil put in place a detention regime usually reserved for spies after the High Court ruling.

Clare O'Neil put in place a detention regime usually reserved for spies after the High Court ruling. Photo: AAP

The Australian Federal Police will brief state and territory leaders on the impact of a High Court decision that released some 150 immigration detainees.

Three freed detainees – including two registered sex offenders – have been arrested and charged on separate incidents since leaving detention.

Emran Dad, 33, faced court on Tuesday charged with breaching his reporting obligations to police after he allegedly contacted a child and didn’t disclose social media accounts.

The federal police are set to update national cabinet on Wednesday about steps taken to ensure community safety.

Western Australian Premier Roger Cook assured the community all the released detainees in his state had been accounted for after their release.

Those subject to control orders are being closely monitored, he said.

“We know the Australian Federal Police and Border Force personnel are working closely with WA Police to make sure that we keep the Western Australian community safe,” he told reporters ahead of the briefing.

There was frustration that the former laws were inadequate, he added.

South Australia police were working diligently to ensure community safety after one of the charged detainees committed his alleged offence in the state, Premier Peter Malinauskas said.

“I’m satisfied they’re doing everything they reasonably can – what we need is the federal parliament to do its job and pass that legislation as quickly as possible,” he said.

A new preventative detention regime to try to put released immigration detainees back behind bars passed the Senate on Tuesday and is set to clear the lower house on Wednesday night.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil moved to put in place a preventative detention regime usually reserved for terrorists and spies after the High Court ruled indefinite immigration detention was illegal.

The arrests have been used by the coalition as fuel for the political fire it’s heaping towards the government and ministers for how the situation has been handled.

The government is doing whatever it legally can to protect the community after arguing against their release, O’Neil said.

“If I had any legal power to put these people back behind bars, I would do it,” she told Seven’s Sunrise program.

But the opposition argues legislation should have been good to go as soon as the court handed down its decision so no one was freed.

“You failed to get those preventative detention measures in place, which you could have done months ago, but instead, you blamed your department,” Liberal senator Jane Hume told the minister.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus rejected any suggestion the government had the power to keep the people in question detained as the government couldn’t out-legislate a High Court ruling.

The ruling was in response to a case brought by a detainee complainant known as NZYQ.

“Following the High Court’s decision in NZYQ, there is no power to detain the affected non-citizens,” the attorney-general said in a statement.

Any delay could open the Commonwealth up to legal action over false imprisonment, he said.

The debate on the laws was a race to the bottom, Greens leader Adam Bandt said.

“Some of them have committed heinous crimes, many of them haven’t,” he told ABC TV.

But opposition foreign spokesman Simon Birmingham denied the coalition was stoking fear in the community.

“I don’t think there’s unnecessary fear when we have a situation of three of these released detainees having already been arrested,” he said.

“We have sadly been proven right when we said there was a risk to the Australian community about the release of these individuals.”

The preventative detention laws will allow the released detainees to be put back behind bars if a court decides there’s “a high degree of probability that the person poses an unacceptable risk of committing a serious violent or sexual offence”.

The maximum length of the order is three years and the minister will need to reapply to the court for a review every year.

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

National Sexual Abuse and Redress Support Service 1800 211 028

Lifeline 13 11 14

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 (for people aged 5 to 25)


Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter.
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.