Australia admits Kiwis treated 'worse' than other migrants

By Kelvin McDonald
Photo / File

Australia is treating New Zealanders like second-class citizens, the country's Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil has admitted on Q+A today.

Nevertheless, there are no plans to reform Australia's 501 deportation policy, O'Neil says, even where individuals born in New Zealand have lived in Australia most of their lives.

O'Neil told Q+A the Australian government is concerned about how they are treating Kiwis in Australia but says there has been "a real change in the tone and tenor" of their relationship with New Zealand since Australia's change of government.

"That's something that's really been bothering me for a long time, and I know, bothers our prime minister, Anthony Albanese," said O'Neil.

"So we are having a look at the moment about what we can do to make this fairer because the truth is that Australians in New Zealand are treated in a very different way than New Zealanders are in Australia and it's something the government wants to address."

Even though, O'Neil says, "we've got this beautiful close relationship with New Zealand," the goodwill does not extend it appears to rectifying Australia's 501 deportation stance. That policy is not going anywhere, she told Q+A.

"I think this is an important national security policy for our country."

"Most countries in the world have the ability to eject people who are foreign because they're not our responsibility."

However, O'Neil says a better account will be taken of how long New Zealanders have lived in Australia when the Australian Immigration Minister exercises their discretion.

"It's pretty clear from Kiwis that they're upset about some of the implications of this where I think it is unjust, and it is unfair to New Zealand, and those are the areas that we're looking at making adjustments," O'Neil said on Q+A.