Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram
ABF Commissioner Michael Outram says there's a concerted effort to reduce risk to the community. Image by Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS
  • politics

Monthly reports on released detainees to be rolled out

March 16, 2024

Monthly reports detailing the status of immigration detainees released following a High Court ruling will be rolled out in a bid to ease concerns over community safety.

“Community Protection” reports will be released by the Australian Border Force and Home Affairs on issues relating to the 149 detainees who were freed from detention in November.

The High Court ruling, which determined indefinite immigration detention was unlawful, resulted in emergency laws being passed through parliament with strict visa conditions being imposed on detainees, including electronic monitoring.

While a date has not been set for when the first round of reports would be issued, information is set to include details on visa conditions such as curfews.

There’ll also be reports from the community protection board, which was set up following the High Court decision and has been providing recommendations for visa conditions imposed on the released detainees.

The board met again on Friday to consider the circumstances of those who were granted bridging visas after the High Court ruling.

Several of the released detainees had been arrested in the community for breaching visa conditions.

Anthony Albanese.
 Anthony Albanese says his government has not lost control of immigration detention. Image by Ethan James/AAP PHOTOS 

The High Court’s decision was not supported by the government, which was not concerned it had lost control of immigration detention, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Saturday.

“But we have to comply with the law, and we have.

“The priority we have is community safety, we’ll continue to ensure that’s the case,” Mr Albanese said.

Australian Border Force commissioner Michael Outram said the organisation was working closely with state and territory police as part of Operation Aegis, which was set up to oversee monitoring of the released detainees.

“For 140 people in the community, I’ve never seen anything like this in terms of an effort to reduce, as far as we humanly can, the risk to the community,” he said.

“When people are arrested in the community for state-based offences, then we will know pretty much straight away, and we’ll be able to work with state and territory police if we become aware of a risk that needs to be monitored.”

Challenges to government legislation put in place in response to the High Court ruling are set to be heard by Australia’s highest court.

It’s expected future rulings from the High Court on the issue of indefinite detention could bring changes to how the detainees are dealt with, should elements of the government response be ruled as unconstitutional.

Mr Albanese said the former government presided over a broken immigration system and his government was working to restore order.

Legal advice has been sought to make appropriate submissions to court cases, he added.

A new immigration compliance group has been set up in response to the original court ruling, with the federal government set to focus on the removal and return of those in immigration detention.

The first operation under the compliance group in February resulted in 16 people being detained and five being removed from Australia.