Kiwi detainees in Australia appeal process to be reviewed

By Harata Brown

In the newly appointed Australian Prime Minister's first visit abroad to New Zealand, both him and New Zealand's PM John Key say their nations will work together to review the process for Kiwi detainees in Australia, but there will be no major law changes.

Our reporter Harata Brown was at the official welcome held at Government House in Auckland.

It was a warm welcome for Australia's new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, but a not so warm verdict for Kiwi detainees stuck in the land down under. 

Turnbull says, "They’re able to undertake their appeal to the Minister from New Zealand, so there is no need for any New Zealander whose visa has been revoked and who is in detention in Australia to stay there. They can go back to New Zealand".

Turnbull and New Zealand PM John Key agree that more resources to speed up the appeal process will be provided to those who want to stay in Australia.

"Our respective Ministers and officials will get together very soon in a working group to review all of these arrangements", says Turnbull.

PM John Key says, "When somebody's visa is revoked that happens earlier on in the process and actually they know the outcome of that by the time they finish their sentence in prison and therefore they don't need to go to detention centres".

Changes to the Migration Act mean that a mandatory cancellation of visas comes into force for any foreign national sentence of at least one year in jail.

Māori Party Co-Leader Marama Fox however still believes that Christmas Island's detainees need to remain in Australia.

Fox says, “Although perhaps financial support maybe provided, I doubt whether that will be sufficient for their families and their lawyers to actually provide suport for them there at Christmas Island”. 

“A visa is not a right, it is a privilege granted to a visitor. It might be a long term visitor or a long term resident”, says Turnbull.  

In a bitter sweet twist however Turnbull confirmed that legislation changes will be made swiftly to enable long term New Zealand residents in Australia access to their student loan scheme to enter tertiary study there.