Immigration and Border Protection

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November 16, 2018

All eight state and territory Directors of Public Prosecution have been forced to issue a warning that Peter Dutton’s Department is ready to let criminals return to their home countries without facing justice, according to reports.

The unprecedented joint letter reveals the Home Affairs Department has given legal instructions to the DPPs that they will allow a suspected criminal facing trial to go home simply if they request to be deported – no questions asked.

This is a shocking breach of decades of agreed practice - that if a person is arrested and charged with a crime, they must stay in Australia to face justice. Allowing these people to go home without facing trial is effectively allowing them to get away with it.

Labor wants to be clear – we support the deportation of non-citizens on character grounds. But this is an entirely different matter – we are talking about people who have been arrested and charged with a crime, awaiting trial in Australia. There are measures- such as holding suspects in remand or immigration detention- to keep the Australian public safe while these people await trial.

It even creates the situation – as the letter from DPPs states – where those intending to commit a crime could come to Australia, then simply request to be deported before they face trial. This would create an obscene form of crime tourism.

For a minister who presents himself as tough on crime, this is a shocking dereliction of duty. Mr Dutton must immediately explain what has occurred within his Department – and if the facts as presented by the DPPs are in fact accurate, he must reverse his position on allowing foreign-born criminals to get away scot free.

If Mr Dutton will not act, Mr Morrison must force him to. Australians deserve better than this.

Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.