Haneef case shows need to repair Migration Act

I’m attending a forum in Brisbane today which is examining how to respond to the issues that arise from the case of Dr Mohamed Haneef. There are some interesting speakers who I expect will shed more light on this specific case. A relative of Dr Haneef’s who has just arrived in the country will probably also be present. The Australian newspaper has distinguished itself over recent years in running a flurry of articles, often on the front page, that whip up fear and loathing against Muslims, so you know things must seriously stink when they publish an article calling Dr Haneef’s treatment “a case of plain old verballing”.

However, this is far from the first case in Australia where someone has been locked up without charge or trial as a result of the excessive powers given to government minsters under the Migration Act. There are many worse examples. Click on this link to read of one example I wrote about early last year. It gives the detail of a case of a man who was locked up for over six years on the basis of evidence which was withheld from him. When he finally got access to the allegations, he was able to eventually demonstrate it was a case of mistaken identity. He was finally released, with no apology and no compensation – just six years of his life taken away for no good reason, while his children grew up without him.

Perhaps the Haneef case will finally wake people up to the fact that our Migration Act allows politically motivated decisions to be made which inflict gross injustices and suffering on people for no good reason.

This article in The Australian about the reaction in India to Haneef case is also worth noting. It reports on a meeting in Bangalore “between India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr Ahamed, a member of India’s 150million-strong Muslim community, and Dr Haneef’s wife, Firdous Arshiya.”

“The Haneef case has not made anyone happy; not the media, not the legal fraternity, and not the 200,000-strong Indian community in Australia,” Mr Ahamed said after the meeting.

As an aside, I spoke to Dr Haneef’s wife on the phone a couple of days ago. It must be very hard for her to deal with this situation, especially given that she has only recently given birth to their first child – not to mention that the income her husband was earning has been cut off by the Queensland government.

UPDATE: The forum at Griffith University in Brisbane was extremely well attended – around 200 people for a gathering that had only been planned a few days ago. There were a lot of strong speakers and a lot of determination to try to turn Australia in a better direction and away from the fear and growing constraints on freedom which permeate so much of Australian politics.

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  1. Well i’m sure we are both aware that Immigration is a basket case in some respects.

    After all there are people refused visas everyday for lesser reasons than Haneef’s cancellation.

  2. Coral
    “Since we have nothing to hide, it doesn’t worry us at all.”
    I have nothing to hide either. I have one chance to live on this planet and I have the right to live it in private. Only when I’m arrested and then charged with a crime do the authorities have the right to investigate my activities. Even if I’m charged I’m entitled to the presumption of innocence until a jury rules unanimously, beyond reasonable doubt that I’m guilty as charged. Even criminals like Ivan Milat were treated in this manner. Now, if you don’t like this system of justice then find another country. This one is mine and I insist on real democracy for all.I support it totally! This is the Australia that I want back-for my grand children.

    Don’t you think it’s strange that AWB (allegedly)gave $300 million to Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship and yet so far they’ve escaped further investigation by AFP? Could it be that it’s due to ministers of the Howard government being ‘involved’? Over 60 pieces of information via emails, faxes, notes, minutes and they “don’t recall” any knowlege? I’d have thought that $300 million is a pretty big example of “providing material support for terrorism”? The role of Howard, Ruddock, Andrews, Downer and Vale is a disgrace to decency and democracy.

    To my knowledge all Dr Haneef has done is give his SIM card to his cousin. I’m not my ‘brothers’ keeper’ either and being related to an alleged suspect is not a criminal offence. If Dr Haneef’s legal team hadn’t published his record of interrogation he’d probably still be locked up. Kevin Andrews has stated on record that an employer can sack you if he/she doesn’t like your face, well apparently this government can operate the same tactics re so-called anti-terror laws. What about the terrors suffered by the people of Iraq and Afghanistan? Neither citizens were involved in 9/11. 650,000+ are dead, millions displaced and impoverished! It disgusts and saddens me!

  3. Naomi Cartledge:

    Those of us who are related to people working in sensitive government jobs know why the government keeps an eye on us.

    My relative could be selling national secrets to our enemies that could get us all killed.

    If ASIO didn’t keep an eye on all of us, including where large sums of money went, then you’d have nothing to worry about – because instead of complaining, you might be DEAD, along with the rest of us!!!

    Why don’t you try being disgusted and saddened by that???

    Your comment:

    “To my knowledge all Dr Haneef has done is give his SIM card to his cousin.”

    That’s right. You don’t know what’s really going on, any more than the rest of us.

  4. Coral, what I meant by “To my knowledge all Dr Haneef has done is give his SIM card to his cousin.”That’s just about what everyone knows including the AFP, ASIO or the local police, otherwise the charges would not have been dropped, and he’d have been charged with something else. He hasn’t. In this country when charges have been dropped, people are allowed to get on with their lives, he should too.

    Who’s responsible for all the violence in Iraq? We invaded a sovereign country, that didn’t have the weapons we had (or our so-called mates had) and we killed 650,000 people, displaced 4 million, poisoned their land with 3000 tonnes of Depleted Uranium, caused thousands of kids to die or be maimed by unexploded Cluster Bombs, etc. Now, if I was living overseas and I saw my suburbs being bombed, relatives murdered, raped and locked up only because they exercised their rights under the Geneva Conventions to oppose the occupiers, then I’d be pretty damned angry.

    There were no terrorists in Iraq prior to March 2003, only Saddam Hussein.He was captured in Dec 2003, so why are we still killing Iraqis? Why do we have diplomats in a country that we’re supposed to be ‘at war’ with? Did it happen during World War 11, or Vietnam, or Korea? Why is the US building an embassy there costing $800 million,why did the US pass legislation that blackmailed the people of Iraq? Agree to US and Britain taking nearly 70% of oil and revenues for 35 years, plus make policy decisions re oil or no money for restoration. Bush called the ‘mission’ Operation Iraqi Liberation-OIL?

    The best way to avoid people wanting to commit violent acts here, is to stay out of their country, and not kill their people. I find it repugnant, that so-called ‘christians’ think it’s OK to kill for power and oil. I don’t. People in Iraq have loved ones too!

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