Information for New Zealanders living in Australia

Don't Call Australia Home!

17 July 2018
Foreign Correspondent (Image: ABC)
Foreign Correspondent (Image: ABC)

Oz Kiwi opinion

July 2018

The issue of deportations is again in the news - this time being covered by the ABC's Foreign Correspondent programme.

We agree with the comments made by Winston Peters and Andrew Little. Whatever these individuals have done, basic standards of justice should apply, including the right to a trial, due process, and not being detained indefinitely without charge.

Peter Dutton's apparent view that individuals are not entitled to human rights protections if they are not Australian citizens is deeply concerning and entirely inconsistent with Australia's international obligations and the standards of justice that would usually be expected in a liberal society.

His claim that New Zealand's objections to his approach is guided by 'emotion' is offensive and shows no attempt at all to understand New Zealand's legitimate concerns. Unfortunately, this sort of dismissive attitude has become all too common in what is supposed to a uniquely close relationship between our two countries.

Don't Call Australia Home!

17 July 2018

Australia is detaining, cuffing and deporting more New Zealanders than any other group. Guest reporter Peter FitzSimons finds it's riling Kiwis and straining relations across The Ditch. Is this how we treat an old mate?

For New Zealanders, it's a bit like underarm bowling all over again. This time the affront is the torrent of Kiwis being forcibly evicted from Australia.

“I wasn't on criminal charges… but I was still treated as a prisoner who has committed a crime” - Ko Happu, deportee.

Australia tossed out more than 1300 Kiwis in the past three years - more than any other nationality. Meanwhile New Zealand ejected just nine Australians. Lawyers expect up to 15,000 New Zealanders could be deported in the next 10 years.

“I'm just worried, I'm scared. This is like a new world for me man,” says Shaun Wynyard, a newly arrived deportee who had to leave his family after spending 20 years in Australia.

Those numbers might pale against the 500,000-plus Kiwis living in Australia - who are mostly non-Australian citizens - but there's real resentment in New Zealand.

Guest reporter Peter FitzSimons is an ex-Wallaby who faced the All Blacks' fearsome haka six times. Even he is taken aback by the anger of New Zealanders - from ordinary citizens to political heavyweights - at what they see as a lopsided relationship.

“It's a disgrace because it's not in the ANZAC spirit, because we fought together and we died together, and we don't do it to them” - Paula, Auckland footy fan

“We don't think we as a country have been treated fairly. I think it's a breach of human rights” - senior New Zealand MP

But Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says our Kiwi neighbours are getting a little over-emotional and that the facts are simple. Under changes to the Migration Act, anyone with a criminal record who isn't an Australian citizen can now be deported. “We just need to see the evidence instead of the emotions. They're New Zealand citizens, they're not Australian citizens. And it's no breach of human rights,” he says.

While career crooks are among the deportees, lesser players have been hit by tougher immigration rules allowing deportation for anyone sentenced to more than a year's jail - even if it's suspended.

Others are deemed to be “of bad character” and - without being charged - spend long months in jail before finally being deported. Many have grown up in Australia or spent most of their lives here.

But as FitzSimons discovers, change can bring opportunities for some of the deportees.

“Look at you. In Australia you're in prison, you're a drug dealer, you're scum, we hate you and we send you back in handcuffs. Here, you're in the sunshine employing 15 blokes, you're making a fortune. Maybe the Australian law's done you good!” - FitzSimons to Antony Miller, deportee and scaffolder

Peter FitzSimons tells how Australia, once the receptacle for Britain's unwanted convicts, has itself become a player in the exile business.

Don't Call Australia Home is no longer available for viewing.

About this episode of ABC Foreign Correspondent

Reporter - Peter FitzSimons

Producer - Anne Maria Nicholson

Camera - Chris Taylor

Editor - Andrew Barnes

Executive Producer - Marianne Leitch

Don't Call Australia Home! aired on Foreign Correspondent at 8 pm Tuesday July 17 and 1.30 pm Friday July 20 on ABC TV, and at 7.30 pm AEST on Saturday July 21 on the ABC News Channel; also on iview.

[Originally published by ABC Foreign Correspondent].