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Queensland Senator Matt Canavan demands removal of Labor ministers due to visa problems

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

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

The matter came under the spotlight on Channel Seven’s Sunrise program on May 29, after it was revealed 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 last year, granted the AAT the authority to overturn government visa cancellations for serious offenders based on their connections to Australia.

This decision came after concerns raised by the New Zealand government about too many New Zealanders being deported who were deemed more aligned with Australia than their home country.

However, confusion arose when it was discovered that released criminals included individuals who had committed heinous crimes, such as a man who raped his step-child while her mother was in labor, a serial rapist who assaulted 25 women and a child, and a child predator who recorded his crimes.

Another case involved a Sudanese man accused of criminal activities who was allowed to stay in Australia by claiming to identify as an Indigenous Australian.

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Speaking on Sunrise, Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil placed responsibility on the AAT, stating that Mr. Giles was right in seeking answers from the department.

“It appears that the decisions made by this independent tribunal are not meeting the expectations of the community,” she noted.

It is reported that Mr. Giles has used his ministerial powers to intervene in one case and is reviewing several others.

However, Queensland senator Matt Canavan has questioned how such a situation could have occurred in the first place.

Mr. Canavan expressed his concerns to Sky News from Canberra, stating that 156 criminals were released without thorough consideration of their offenses.

“There are only two possibilities here: either the government deliberately released these hardened criminals despite knowing their crimes, or they acted negligently by not conducting proper background checks,” he remarked.

Mr. Canavan criticized the government for shifting blame to the AAT when it was their directive that led to the contentious decision of releasing known offenders into the community.

“How much incompetence can be tolerated before facing consequences?” he asked.

“Because it seems like there are no consequences for the Albanese ministry.”

Recent revelations by Home Affairs Secretary Stephanie Foster confirmed that her department did not advise Mr. Giles on cases arising from Direction 99.

Labor frontbencher Murray Watt also informed a parliamentary hearing that the tribunal’s guidance to the government suggested that serious offenders were unlikely to have their visa cancellations overturned as a result of the directive.

He noted that the AAT’s decisions were not aligned with the government’s intentions.

Attempts to reach the Prime Minister’s office for comment were unsuccessful.

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