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Seven visas cancelled as minister scrambles to keep job

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles remains under fire over a contentious ministerial direction.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles remains under fire over a contentious ministerial direction. Photo: AAP

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles has cancelled the visas of seven foreigners as a storm of deportation issues engulfs his department.

Giles has been under increasing pressure, with growing opposition calls for his sacking, but he has refused to quit.

The minister is considering trying to deport about 30 people after an appeals tribunal allowed them to stay in Australia on the grounds of a directive he signed.

Direction 99 states that Australia will “generally afford a higher level of tolerance” to non-citizens based on the length of their time spent in the country.

Earlier on Thursday, Giles told ABC’s AM he had cancelled seven visas in the past few days.

Asked why he still had a job, he replied: “There’s so much work to do to clean up the mess, to rebuild the migration system that was left in tatters.”

The issue dominated question time in federal Parliament on Thursday afternoon.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attempted to take the heat off Giles by drawing attention to Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s record of releasing criminals.

Albanese told Parliament that the former Immigration and Home Affairs minister had released 1300 “hard-core criminals” from immigration detention centres.

“They were released, no curfews, no ankle bracelets, no monitoring, no regard for community safety,” Albanese said.

“It included 102 sex offenders, 64 of whom are child sex offenders. Forty domestic violence offenders, four murders, alleged murders or individuals convicted of accessory to murder.”

Albanese continued that those released included a British man who was convicted in 2016 of being an accessory to the stabbing of an associate in a drug operation who “helped another man carry a victim’s body to the boot of a car and dump it in a makeshift grave”.

“Another British man convicted of being an accessory to murder when a drug associate shot another man in what was described as a gangland execution,” he said.

He said the former Coalition government also decided a 45-year-old New Zealand man, convicted of three charges of an indecent act with a child under 16, should be allowed to stay in Australia.

‘New directive’

Giles said a new ministerial directive focusing on “ensuring the protection of the community outweighs other considerations” would be released for public scrutiny as soon as it was ready.

“We believe these decisions need to be guided by two clear principles: The protection of the Australian community and by common sense,” he said.

“We want to strengthen the role of victims and the impact of them and their family members in consideration because that’s something we feel has been lacking, as well as, of course, ensuring the family violence consideration are consistent with the expectations of government and the wider Australian community.”

Earlier this week, Home Affairs secretary Stephanie Foster admitted her department breached protocol by failing to brief Giles about legal decisions to allow foreign criminals to remain in the country.

A New Zealand man, known as CHCY, was allowed to keep his visa by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal despite being found guilty of raping his step-daughter.

Opposition immigration spokesman Dan Tehan has repeatedly slammed Giles as falling “asleep at the wheel” and putting Australians at risk.

Asked if he would support the new ministerial directive, Tehan said the opposition was yet to see it.

“Obviously we support anything that would keep the Australian community safe,” he said.

“But we haven’t seen the directive, we don’t know when the directive will come into force – those are all questions that Andrew Giles is refusing to answer.”

-with AAP

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