Ankle tracking devices and strict curfews will be imposed on serious criminals released from indefinite immigration detention, under new emergency laws being fast-tracked by the federal government.
The opposition had been pushing the government on the potential threat posed by criminals, including three murderers and a number of sex offenders, who were released into the community after the High Court found indefinite detention was unlawful.
In response, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil will introduce a raft of strict, new visa conditions as part of the government’s emergency response to the decision.
This will allow the Commonwealth to enforce ankle monitoring bracelets and curfews on the 83 detainees released in the last week.
For the first time, criminal sanctions could also be used against those who break the visa conditions, which means they could face jail time.
‘If I had any legal power to do it, I would keep every one of those people in detention,’ Ms O’Neil told reporters on Thursday.
‘Some of these people have committed deplorable, disgusting crimes.
‘And that is why our government is managing the mandatory impact of this law and doing everything that we can to keep the community safe.’
The changes are expected to be introduced to parliament on Thursday.
Prior to Ms O’Neil’s announcement, the Coalition had indicated it would support the government’s legislative response to the issue.
‘At this stage, the Coalition hasn’t received any draft form of legislation from the government and we’re yet to understand how it proposes to deal with this particular issue,’ Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price told Nine’s Today show on Thursday.
Asked if the opposition would support it, Senator Price said: ‘Look, absolutely. We are hoping to support it. That is for sure.’
‘The community, the Australian community is at the core of this, and the Australian community’s safety is what is most important,’ she added.
Last week’s decision by the High Court forced the government to release 83 immigrants after ruling indefinite detention – with no other country willing to take them – was illegal.
Independent NSW MP Dai Le said she was shocked by the ruling.
‘The High Court decision surprised everybody, but I think we need to find a way to ensure that law experts get together to find a way to draft the law. That is my perspective,’ she told Nine.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton told parliament on Wednesday he would be willing to keep coalition MPs in Canberra for as long as necessary to pass the laws.
The Australian Federal Police commissioner this week briefed his state and territory counterparts about the court’s decision and a joint operation with the Australian Border Force has been established to co-ordinate the release of the detainees.
Those released were already under strict visa conditions, which included notifying authorities about their location, in-person daily reporting and restrictions on working in certain types of industries.
The High Court is yet to release the reasoning for its decision.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is out of the country for the next few days while he attends the APEC economic leaders’ summit in San Francisco.