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In Defiance of Detention: The Unsteady Ground of Indefinite Detention Raises Fiscal Concerns for Taxpayers

Monday, 20 November 2023 01:13 Culture

"At the Crossroads of Detention: Legal Quandaries and Taxpayer Consequences"

As the high-stakes debate unfolds over Labor's emergency bill addressing the recent high court ruling on indefinite detention, the shadow of a hefty compensation bill looms large. Peter Dutton, a key figure in the Coalition, may argue for the will to detain, but the court's verdict contradicts, potentially leaving taxpayers to foot the bill.

During the parliamentary deliberations, an intriguing moment occurred when the Coalition, having criticized the Albanese government's lack of preparedness for such an outcome, found itself in a defensive position. Opposition leader Peter Dutton pinpointed June as a crucial date, citing a preliminary hearing that signaled the case's vulnerability. Justice Jacqueline Gleeson expressed doubts about the government's ability to deport individuals held in immigration detention, highlighting the inherent challenges and the potential deterioration of those in seemingly hopeless situations.

Yet, the fragility of the 2004 decision in Al-Kateb, which deemed indefinite immigration detention lawful, had raised concerns long before. Shadow immigration minister Dan Tehan revealed that Labor had received a briefing in 2021, indicating the possibility of the high court decision. This admission prompted speculation about whether both major parties were cognizant of the impending legal reckoning.

The original Al-Kateb decision, with a narrow majority of four justices to three, had always faced skepticism within the legal community. The recent high court ruling striking down Al-Kateb suggests that discontent had been brewing over the years. The question now emerges: Was this a day of reckoning that both major parties foresaw? As legal foundations crumble, the implications extend beyond the courtroom, casting a shadow over the fiscal responsibilities that may fall on the shoulders of taxpayers."

"Legal Battles and Detention Dilemmas: Unraveling the High Court's Verdict"

As the legal saga surrounding indefinite detention unfolds, the intricacies of the high court's recent ruling come to the forefront. In the case of plaintiff M47, Justice Virginia Bell criticized two majority judges for not sufficiently considering the "principle of legality," emphasizing the need for clearer language when depriving an individual of liberty. She expressed her inclination to overturn the precedent set by Al-Kateb, highlighting the evolving landscape of case law on the separation of powers.

The winning argument ultimately centered on the principle of separation of powers, gaining strength over time. The court's stance became clear: only someone in a situation mirroring Al-Kateb's would trigger a reassessment. Enter Tony Sami, an Egyptian man facing a decade in immigration detention. Before he could bring his case to the high court, he was deported "unwillingly," preventing a potential legal challenge that could have had broader implications for hundreds of detainees.

The case of NZYQ, a stateless Rohingyan man with serious criminal charges, further tested the government's stance. Although the government agreed that deportation was unlikely, it embarked on a last-ditch effort to find a solution, seeking assistance from multiple countries. Despite these efforts, the court ruled in favor of NZYQ's release, setting a precedent that led to the freedom of 92 others who faced similar deportation challenges.

Despite assertions from Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil and Immigration Minister Andrew Giles that the government was confident in its case, behind-the-scenes preparations for a potential loss, such as the joint police operation, suggest a more cautious approach. The persistent argument from figures like Peter Dutton and Dan Tehan – that where there's a will to detain, there must be a way – collided with the court's resolute stance to the contrary. As legal battles continue, the implications of this ruling extend beyond individual cases, prompting a reconsideration of the indefinite detention regime and raising questions about the government's approach to future challenges in the complex landscape of immigration law."

"Indefinite Detention: A Price Paid in Liberty and Liability"

The recent high court ruling striking down indefinite immigration detention in Australia raises profound questions about the cost of a regime that prioritized locking people up without clear alternatives. The public's historical support for stringent measures may have hindered the exploration of more constitutionally sound alternatives.

During the hearings, Solicitor General Stephen Donaghue acknowledged the inevitable consequences, cautioning that the Commonwealth could face substantial damages claims for false imprisonment. Cases where the government conceded the impossibility of deportation would be particularly challenging to defend, making such claims "undefendable." Both sides, anticipating the potential fall of indefinite detention, now brace for demands for compensation.

The repercussions of this decision extend beyond legal intricacies, encompassing decades of lost liberty and a prevailing sense of hopelessness among those subjected to indefinite detention. As the curtain falls on this chapter of Australia's immigration policies, taxpayers are left to contemplate the hefty bill they may be forced to pay for a detention regime that, in hindsight, appears constitutionally vulnerable and morally fraught."

"Indefinite Detention: A Price Paid in Liberty and Liability"

The recent high court ruling striking down indefinite immigration detention in Australia raises profound questions about the cost of a regime that prioritized locking people up without clear alternatives. The public's historical support for stringent measures may have hindered the exploration of more constitutionally sound alternatives.

During the hearings, Solicitor General Stephen Donaghue acknowledged the inevitable consequences, cautioning that the Commonwealth could face substantial damages claims for false imprisonment. Cases where the government conceded the impossibility of deportation would be particularly challenging to defend, making such claims "undefendable." Both sides, anticipating the potential fall of indefinite detention, now brace for demands for compensation.

The repercussions of this decision extend beyond legal intricacies, encompassing decades of lost liberty and a prevailing sense of hopelessness among those subjected to indefinite detention. As the curtain falls on this chapter of Australia's immigration policies, taxpayers are left to contemplate the hefty bill they may be forced to pay for a detention regime that, in hindsight, appears constitutionally vulnerable and morally fraught."

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