Townsville man thrown in detention will become a citizen

A TOWNSVILLE man who got thrown into a detention centre after flying back from his honeymoon will become a citizen after a tribunal overruled a decision by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Adam Carey, a 49-year-old New Zealand citizen convicted of drug trafficking and unlawful carnal knowledge of a teenage girl, had his visa cancelled in October 2015, hours after flying back into the country because he failed to disclose convictions on his passenger card. He had been in immigration detention ever since but has now been freed.

His subsequent application for citizenship was rejected in 2016 because a ministerial delegate didn’t believe he was of good character, but now the Administrative Appeals Tribunal has set that decision aside, ruling that he is of good character and sending the application back to the Immigration Minister to be reconsidered. Mr Carey was born in New Zealand to an Australian mother and has spent most of his life in Australia, meaning that he is entitled to citizenship, subject only to him “being of good character”.The Villawood Detention Centre, Birmingham Avenue, Villawood NSW Australia.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has slammed the decision, saying the case was an “example of the AAT making decisions that are not in line with community standards”. “Unlike visa cases, I am unable to overturn these decisions on citizenship,” Mr Dutton said. “I have been fighting for changes to the Citizenship Act for over a year to prevent cases like this, but Labor won’t support it.”

Mr Carey’s criminal record, which includes a number of drug offences, the unlawful carnal knowledge of a 15-year-old girl and failure to report offences, underlied the reasons for both the 2007 and 2015 visa cancellation decisions and the citizenship decision.

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton has blasted a decision not to deport sex offender Adam Carey. Picture: AAP/Bradley Kanaris
According to the remarks of the judge who sentenced him in 2005 for the carnal knowledge and other offences, Mr Carey introduced the 15-year-old girl to methamphetamine in 2002, when he was 33, and started a sexual relationship with her, regularly supplying her with drugs. The girl’s family took her interstate after the relationship ended but two years later she reconnected with Mr Carey and he injected her with methamphetamine.

But AAT senior member Peter Taylor SC said he was satisfied Mr Carey was a person of good character at the present time, referring to a commendation letter from the Australian Border Force, recognising he had been “a positive role model for other detainees”. Mr Taylor said Mr Carey’s carnal knowledge offence and drug use occurred in the aftermath of the murder of his partner’s son in 1999. “This is not to say that his conduct in that period is to be excused, or its significance in strongly questioning his character, is to be minimised,” he said.