Deportees call for government to back words with actions

From Checkpoint, 5:38 pm on 16 July 2019

Kiwis who've been kicked out of Australia under controversial deportation laws say the government here hasn't backed its strong words with actions.

This comes ahead of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's visit to Australia later this week, where she's meeting with her counterpart Scott Morrison.

In the government's first year of power, senior ministers condemned the huge power the Australian government has when it comes to deporting New Zealanders.

Earlier this year, Checkpoint reported that 1690 deportees have been sent back to New Zealand since the start of 2015.

In 2014, Australia made controversial changes to its Migration Act - in particular section 501 and 116.

Under Section 116 a foreigner can be deported if he or she "is or may be a risk to the health, safety or good order of the Australian community".

Under Section 501 a foreigner can be deported if they are "not of good character".

Foreign Minister Winston Peters said the issue wasn't brought up in a bilateral meeting with Australian foreign minister Marise Payne last Friday, although he said his government hadn't given up.

Christel Broederlow's son is currently in an immigration centre in Brisbane facing deportation. He doesn't want to be identified for fear it might harm his case.

Speaking from the Gold Coast, Ms Broederlow told Checkpoint that as a child he suffered from PTSD after seeing his best friend shot dead, his family home destroyed by a storm, and a woman being crushed by a car outside school.

She said his methods for coping with this as an adult led him into trouble, and faced charges for drug possession as well as carrying a handmade firearm.

He has now served his time in prison, and was rebuilding his life. But is now back in custody at an immigration facility.

Ahead of the 2017 New Zealand election Ms Broederlow said she had hoped that a Labour government would force change on Australia.

The New Zealand government hasn't been quiet on this issue, with senior ministers including Andrew Little, Kalvin Davis, Winston Peters condemning the deportation regime.

Ms Ardern has described it as "corrosive" to the trans-Tasman relationship.

But Christel Broederlow told Checkpoint that talk has not translated into action.

"For New Zealand citizens living in Australia it was actually really great to have someone like the Labour party care and be vocal leading up to the election... since the election... they have had meetings with the Australian government, but it has gone nowhere," she said.

"We are calling for the New Zealand government to step up and represent [us] on a much stronger level."

Kiwi Dion Murphy was deported from Australia in 2015.

He was convicted of attempted murder and sent to prison in the late 1990s, but was released in 2001 and has been clean since.

He rebuilt his life and had a family, but after the law change that all came crashing down.

"It was the 30th July 2015, I arrived [in Christchurch] about 10:40 at night," he told Checkpoint.

"I have four gandkids, two of the grandkids I have never met which is quite hard for them... I've got my parents in Australia, brothers and sisters."

Murphy also believed the New Zealand government needs to back up its rhetoric with action.

Checkpoint approached Justice Minister Andrew Little to comment as part of this story, but he refused to take part in a pre-recorded interview.

The Prime Minister is expected to land in Australia on Thursday.