Mr Greg Barns, the president of the Australian Lawyers Alliance, has indeed confirmed that under the new Immigration Act, any non-Australians who have spent a period of twelve months or more in prison in Australia have a very big chance of being deported from the country.
It was claimed by Mr Barns that there are approximately one thousand five hundred people from New Zealand who are serving time in prison at the moment, while there are around five thousand people who have been jailed for the past ten years.
"Certainly, you are looking at the low thousands in terms of the number of people born in New Zealand, who are not citizens, and under this law could be deported back to New Zealand," he was quoted to say by the AAP while he was being interviewed in Radio New Zealand on Tuesday.
Most of those who originated from New Zealand have spent years and years to become good members of the communities they belong in in Australia, however, a lot of them also feel they do not have, or no longer have a connection with their homeland. Mr Barns stated that about two hundred individuals from New Zealand are currently being held in detention centres and out of the detained New Zealanders, there are hundreds of them who have had their visas cancelled. Around one hundred people have already been deported, according to the data records provided.
Mr Gordon Thomson, the Trade Union representative and Shire President of New Zealand’s Christmas Island said that there were a lot of New Zealanders who have reached the country but still with pending deportation from Australia. Mr Thomson said that the people who were deported can be considered valuable as they were able to bring productive business with a solid job security for the staff in prison however, he stood quite firm in being against sending Kiwis to detention centres.
”This appalls me that the government is using the Immigration Act to further punish people – many of them have grown up since childhood in Australia. So if you do a year or more in prison, if you are not an Australian citizen, the default position of the federal government is that you will be deported,” stated Mr Thomson during an interview with Radio New Zealand on Monday. This shows how concerned he was for every New Zealander currently in Australia.
Mr Ian MacDonald, the Australian Senator also stated that Kiwis can not expect to be provided with the special treatment from Australia.
"We love our cousins across the ditch but they must be subject to the same laws as everyone else," said the Senator.