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Heather du Plessis-Allan: Australia's unlikely to budge on the 501s

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 Feb 2023, 5:42PM
 Photo / NZ Herald
Photo / NZ Herald

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Australia's unlikely to budge on the 501s

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Tue, 7 Feb 2023, 5:42PM

I don’t think any of us should be getting excited about the possibility that Australia’s developed a conscience about deporting violent criminal 501s our way.

That’s obviously not happened.

The clue was in the first thing that came out of Anthony Albanese’s mouth today on the subject of deportees. He held a press conference in Canberra after meeting Chris Hipkins for the first time in his role as our new Prime Minister.

And Albo was asked about the 501s and Australia’s new “softened” stance on deportations to New Zealand.

And the first thing out of his mouth was: “We retain section 501 deportations, the capacity to cancel visas and remove people who pose a risk to the community” 

That is a message for Albo’s voters.

That is what Albo wants Australians to hear, that is his priority.

And that’s why I doubt very much that they’re going to stop sending the violent thugs that we think they should keep.

Sure on paper, they’ve changed their position slightly.

Albo now expects his officials to give more consideration to how long someone has lived in Australia and whether they have children or other family in Australia before deciding whether to deport them. 

But giving consideration is just giving consideration.

It doesn’t mean they’ll stop a deportation. 

It’s a discretion that I bet they will never use for the worst kinds of offenders, the very ones we think should stay with them.

Consider the political test. If there is a Kiwi-born murderer or a rapist in Australia who an Australian politician can deport to New Zealand legally, would they:

(A) Keep them in Australia because they promised New Zealand to take into account that they’d grown up in Australia?

Or (B) deport them out of their country so they never harm another Aussie?  

You know which one it is, and always will be.

You know this is just an attempt to look like things have changed, without changing much. 

So you know, not worth getting your hopes up. 

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