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Qld Senator Matt Canavan demands resignation of Labor ministers due to visa problems

More than a year after Labor issued a directive on appealing visa cancellations, some ministers are now pointing fingers at the department responsible for handling them.

Key ministers in the Albanese government are facing intense criticism over a visa controversy that has allowed serious offenders to remain in Australia.

The issue was brought up on Channel Seven’s Sunrise program on May 29, following revelations that Australian Immigration Minister Andrew Giles had been cautioned by members of his own cabinet about the risks associated with a directive known as Direction 99.

This directive, issued by Mr. Giles to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in January of last year, granted the AAT the authority to override government visa cancellations for serious offenders based on their connections to Australia.

The decision was made after concerns raised by the New Zealand government regarding the return of individuals who were more closely aligned with Australia than their country of origin.

However, confusion arose when it was discovered that among the released criminals were individuals who had committed heinous acts, including rape, serial rape, and child exploitation.

Additionally, a Sudanese man accused of criminal behavior was allowed to remain in Australia after claiming Indigenous Australian identity.

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Mr. Giles utilized his ministerial powers to reverse the visa cancellation of another Sudanese man convicted of murder in Brisbane. This individual is now required to leave Australia.

Additionally, Mr. Giles has initiated an urgent review of other reinstated visas.

During an appearance on Sunrise, Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil pointed fingers at the AAT, stating that Mr. Giles was right in demanding accountability from the department.

“It appears that the decisions made by this independent tribunal are not aligning with community expectations,” she remarked.

However, Queensland senator Matt Canavan has raised doubts about how this situation transpired.

Speaking to Sky News from Canberra, Mr. Canavan highlighted that 156 criminals were released with little consideration for their crimes.

“The government either knowingly released these dangerous criminals or failed to do proper due diligence, releasing them without understanding their offenses,” he stated.

Mr. Canavan emphasized that blaming the AAT was insufficient when it was the government’s directive that led to the controversial decision to release known offenders back into society.

“How much incompetence can they oversee before facing repercussions?” he questioned.

“It seems there are no consequences for the Albanese government,” he added.

This development comes after Home Affairs Secretary Stephanie Foster acknowledged that her department did not provide advice to Mr. Giles on cases stemming from Direction 99.

Labor frontbencher Murray Watt informed a parliamentary hearing that advice from the tribunal suggested that serious offenders were unlikely to have their visa cancellations overturned under the direction, contrary to the government’s intent.

The Prime Minister’s office was contacted for their response.

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