Victims get more say in booting foreign- born crims from Australia

Victims get more say in booting foreign-
born crims from Australia:

KEITH MOOR, Herald Sun

Victims of foreign-born criminals are set to get a much greater say over whether their attackers are kicked out of Australia.

The Joint Standing Committee on Migration today recommended a new regulation to ensure victims, or their families, can give evidence when offenders appeal against visa cancellations.

It also recommended that the government direct the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to give more weight to the impact a non-citizen’s violent offending has had on victims than it does to the offender’s nature and duration of ties to Australia.

“Non-citizens who commit crimes such as murder, aggravated assault, rape, sexual offences involving children and weapons offences must not be allowed to remain in Australia simply because they have children in Australia, or have lived here for many years,” it said.

The recommendations are among several made by the committee in a report tabled in federal parliament today.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton asked the committee to inquire into and report on the review processes associated with visa cancellations made on criminal grounds.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal building. Picture: Ian Currie The probe followed a series of Herald Sun reports which revealed murderers, rapists, paedophiles, armed robbers and drug dealers were among the scores of criminals the AAT had saved from deportation.

In each case the AAT had overruled decisions by ministerial delegates to cancel the visas of the convicted criminals.

In a submission to the committee, the Police Federation of Australia claimed the AAT had overturned 200 decisions relating to the deportation of violent criminals convicted of “the most heinous of crimes”.

Its chief executive, Mark Burgess, gave evidence to the committee that there were many instances where the AAT had overturned a visa cancelling decision where it “would be in the national interest to have those people deported from the country”.

Committee chairman Jason Wood used today’s report to highlight instances of the AAT overturning visa cancelling decisions made by ministerial delegates.

“Some criminals whose visas have been cancelled, however, have not been removed from Australia,” he said in the report.

“Some have been saved from deportation through appealing the Government’s decision at the AAT.

“In around 20 per cent of cases, the AAT has sided with non-citizens and overturned the Department’s decision.

“The AAT’s role in overturning a number of criminal deportations in recent years has not gone unnoticed.

“Australians rightly look for an explanation when drug dealers, violent criminals and repeat offenders are offered a reprieve by the AAT.

“I believe the Australian community expects these non-citizens — who are guests in Australia — will be removed from Australia if they commit serious crimes.

“The AAT must take this primary consideration seriously.

“The committee heard differing opinions about the role of victims in the appeals
process.

“I was not persuaded by arguments that the views of victims have already been considered by the courts, and that victims should play no role at the AAT.

Geelong Advertiser

“The best way to ensure decision-makers take into account the impact on victims is to give victims a voice.”

The report recommends that the government introduces a new regulation to guarantee that victims of crime, or their families, are provided with an opportunity to make a written or oral statement as part of the appeals process in the AAT and that the statement should be a primary consideration in the AAT decision-making
process.