21 Oct 2015

Deportation appeals from NZ 'absurd'

9:05 am on 21 October 2015

An Australian lawyer, who deals with deportation cases, says it beggars belief politicians on both sides of the Tasman are encouraging New Zealanders in detention centres to return home.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (left) and Prime Minister John Key during a news conference at the weekend. Photo: Getty

After meeting at the weekend, Prime Minister John Key and his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, said anyone lodging an appeal from New Zealand would not be disadvantaged.

But Greg Barns, from the Australian Lawyers' Alliance, said that would make it much harder to pursue a successful appeal.

"If you are fighting a deportation case in Australia, you need access to your legal team, you need access to the court, you need to be able to attend court.

"And furthermore litigation is stressful, it's important to have the support of family and others around you at that time," he said.

"To say to people that they ought to return to the country that they come from and then seek to fight some sort of international legal battle is just ridiculous.

"I've never heard it being suggested in relation to any other deportation case and it beggars belief that political leaders would think this was something that could be done."

A Sept. 9, 2005 file photo of a guard walking inside the perimeter fence and razor wire that surrounds Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney.

Guards at Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney Photo: AAP

Dylan Fraser, 23, has a wife and daughter in Australia, and has spent the last 17 years there.

He got out on parole in November 2014 after serving two years of a four-year sentence for assault.

After five and half months out in the community, he was then sent to Villawood Detention Centre for eventual deportation after his permanent residency was cancelled.

He said he was given the option of returning voluntarily and being given a set date when he would be leaving, or staying in Villawood indefinitely.

Mr Fraser said he took the first option, was deported in June and was now living in Hamilton.

He said he now owed the Australian government $58,000 in costs for unsuccessful appeals, and intended to lodge another appeal.

Mr Fraser was cynical about the motive behind encouraging detainees to return to New Zealand.

"I personally think it's just a way to get rid of us, to get us out of detention so they don't have to deal with us anymore there, you know.

"Because if we're over here they can just delay it as long as they want, because when we're in detention we have all the human rights there, we have a lot of support, so you have a chance to get out there.

"Once you go home they can drag it out for years and years and years."

He said he also thought it had something to do with the money it costs to keep people in detention centres.

"Each person I think is $1000 a week, each Kiwi, and there's 100 or something Kiwis so that's $130,000 there every week, you know of taxpayers' money, so if they get rid of us all, they're not wasting any money."

Caucus run 21/07/15

Deportees would not be able to claim legal aid for their appeals in Australia, Justice Minister Amy Adams said. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Prime Minister John Key said there was no ulterior motive.

"It's definitely not a trick," he said. "They've altered the policy to allow them to come home and [Mr Turnbull's] basic argument is, look, come back to New Zealand, put in your application or your application will be in, the minister will look at [it] in good faith.

"It'll be irrelevant of whether you're in a detention centre or in New Zealand, it'll be processed the same."

No legal aid for appeals in Australia

Justice Minister Amy Adams said the government would not be providing any extra support for people who have come back to New Zealand to lodge appeals.

And she said deportees would not be able to claim legal aid in New Zealand.

"We're not going to start funding legal aid for Australian court processes.

"What we're looking at is when people return to New Zealand and are no longer subject to that appeal process, how we both monitor them to keep New Zealand safe and what if any assistance can be given to help reintegrate them into society."

Mr Barns said legal aid would be available for some cases in Australia, but it would be much harder to access from New Zealand.

"If a person who was a detainee was seeking legal aid in Australia, they would be able to get it if they qualified.

"But if that person then says, well, look my address is now back in Wellington or Auckland, I would be highly surprised to see any Australian legal aid system say, well, look we'll extend aid to you, because you're no longer in the jurisdiction."

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