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Barry Soper: It's time we showed some mettle with the Aussies

Author
Barry Soper,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Thursday, 1 August 2019, 9:05AM
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern talks with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo / AP
New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern talks with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo / AP

COMMENT:

We're as close as any two countries can be, we're family, we're Anzacs having fought and died alongside each other.

Forget the fluff, we're simply two countries that are in relatively close proximity. At least that's what we are now, it wasn't always the case, our citizens up until the turn of the century were welcome in each other's patch. We could come and go with all the benefits afforded to those living on either side of the ditch whether they were born in Wellsford or Wollongong.

That's been changing and looks set to change even more when it comes to Kiwi law breakers on their side of the Tasman. It's easy to say, as many have, that if there are bad buggers breaking the law, then get rid of them.

On the face of it that's fine - provided they went there when they were old enough to know better. It's a different story if they went there as toddlers and learnt all their bad habits there. To send them back when they've never had an association with this country, other than a parent being born here, is obscene.

It's simply Australia abdicating its responsibility.

Currently if someone with a birth link to this country is sent to jail for 12 months or more then they'll be sent back here. Now the Senate there is considering an even more draconian move.

If someone is convicted of a crime that carries a two-year prison term, even if they're not sent to jail for it, then they'll automatically fail the good character test and stand a good chance of being forced to pack their bags. They are looking at making the law retrospective - meaning someone who'd been convicted of dangerous driving a decade ago could now be sent packing.

A couple of weeks ago Jacinda Ardern went to Melbourne to give a speech (ironically on good governance) and caught up with the architect of the original deportation law Scott Morrison. Before leaving Wellington she described the law as corrosive to our relationship but once she got there wasn't quite as forceful when she was interviewed on television.

When she was asked about the "corrosive" comment she hesitated, looked awkward, and said "to be fair, the deportation policy has existed for a while".

Fact is, we treat Aussies in this country the way we used to be treated in theirs. They get citizenship, welfare and all the other benefits we're entitled to. And despite Ardern telling the television interviewer that we send Aussies home too, it happens so infrequently that you can count the number of deportees on the fingers of one hand.

It's time we showed some mettle, treating them the same way as they treat us and start sending their offenders back to the penal colony that they once were.

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