Immigration minister Peter Dutton prides himself on being tough when it comes to immigration laws and how he exercises his discretion in intervening in cases that are rejected by the DIBP. All this very much behoves a person holding the position of immigration minister in a country which attracts millions of visa applicants each year. But there’s something amiss which is also very important: Uniformity.
Last month, UK-born Kelly Webb was allowed to stay in the country despite having several domestic violence and violent crimes cases registered against her. She was being deported but has now been allowed to stay, and cannot apply for citizenship for next 3 years. A mild rap on the knuckles if you consider the case of a 92-year-old British war veteran who was asked to leave the country and harassed for weeks—with his Medicare card blocked—but was eventually allowed to stay. Bear in mind he had no criminal case against him. Or the case of a Brisbane grandmother who was deported after having spent 50 years in Australia.
Minister Dutton has repeatedly said that there would be zero tolerance against “foreigners” found violating the law. No sane person will argue against that. But why can’t there be a policy—approved by the judiciary, of course—for such cases so that it lays down the guiding principles once and for all?
I don’t think it is such a big ask. It will also help his own workload too, considering he will have a set template to follow.