Friday, December 21, 2007

Haneef: Court Rejects Andrews' Appeal

The full bench of the Federal Court of Australia has upheld a previous court's decision to grant Dr Haneef his work visa. The previous Immigration Minister, Kevin Andrews, had made a political decision that Dr Haneef was not of good character, because his second cousins in Britain had his (British) mobile phone card, and had allegedly been involved in terrorist activity.

(Photo: The political decision came after the courts had dismissed charges of aiding terrorists against Dr Haneef. The "character test" was applied with Minsterial discretion on the basis of the alleged actions of his cousins, at a time when Dr Haneef was in Australia.

Previous comments about "the Haneef case" can be found here (there are several posts in July 2007)

Mr Andrews, as then Minister, appealed. The Federal Court disagreed with him on matters of law.

Dr Haneef, on a pilgrimage to Mecca, can return to Australia to work, if he wants. The Queensland Government has said that he will be welcome to apply, if he satisfies visa and doctor registration procedures.

There are serious questions that we need to ask about the process used, and motives of, previous Minister Andrews. Among them are:

  • what were his political motives?
  • was he acting under instructions from former Prime Minister Howard?
  • was there any breach of the "separation of powers"?
  • was AFP Commisioner Mick Keelty acting in the interests of, and with advice from, the government?

Our democracy needs to be robust, and we need to be able to trust governments, and Ministers. I'm not sure we could trust the previous Coalition Government.