The tiff over deportation deepens

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Issue 433 March 1, 2020

While Trans-Tasman relations have always stood the test of times- worst and best- there is one issue that is a thorn in the flesh- the issue of deportation.

That tiff surfaced again on Friday, February 28, 2020 at a media conference taken by Jacinda Ardern and Scott Morrison, respectively Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Australia.

Relationship under test

The relationship between the two countries is being tested on politics, she said.

“I am not asking that Australia stops this (deportation) policy- you have deported more than 2000 individuals and amongst them will be genuine Kiwis who do have to learn the consequences of their actions. But amongst those 2000 are individuals who were too young to become criminals on our watch. They were too young to become patched gang members. Too young to be organised criminals. We will own our people. We ask that Australia stop exporting theirs,” she said.

But Mr Morrison did not budge.

The tiff is over Australia’s increasing deportations of New Zealanders.

Scott Morrison refuses

“Australia is a sovereign nation and we have the rights to protect our borders. Our policy is clear. We deport non-citizens who have committed crimes in Australia against our community. This policy applied not specific to one country, but to any country, anywhere, who would apply the same rule in terms of Australian citizens who commit crimes in other places. We would think that was totally understandable and we would not take any offence,” he said.

This follows the tightening of rules by Tony Abbott when he was Prime Minister of Australia in 2014.

Australia makes no concessions for those who came as children but did not become Australian citizens. There are no concessions event for juvenile offenders or petty criminals with short sentences that cumulatively add up to 12 months, even if those were suspended.

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