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Queensland: Mohamed Haneef will appeal Minister's decision to his cancel his visa and place him in immigration detention.



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This transcript has been prepared by a source external to the Parliamentary Library.

 

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AM

 

Wedne sday 18 July 2007

Queensland: Mohamed Haneef will appeal Minister's decision to his cancel his visa and place him in immigration detention

 

TONY EASTLEY: The lawyers for Dr Mohammed Han eef will be back in court today, lodging an appeal against the Government's decision to cancel his visa. 

 

The Immigration Minister, Kevin Andrews, has been widely condemned by lawyers for deciding to move Dr Haneef into immigration detention, just hours after a magistrate released Dr Haneef on bail. 

 

But the Attorney General, Philip Ruddock, has hit back with thinly veiled criticism of the magistrate and saying the Government will look at toughening the laws if the courts don't respect the intent of Parliament 

 

From Canberra, Gillian Bradford reports. 

 

GILLIAN BRADFORD: The Immigration Minister, Kevin Andrews, has now provided Dr Haneef with a "statement of reasons" why his visa was cancelled. It cites his association with two of the men suspected in the Glasgow bombings and notes he'd emailed his second cousin, Dr Sabeel Ahmed, in an online chat room and lent another cousin, Dr Kafeel Ahmed, money to sit a medical exam. 

 

The document says the minister has more information but that can't be released to Dr Haneef or his lawyers. 

 

The Attorney General, Philip Ruddock, says the Government has good reason to withhold some material from the accused. 

 

PHILIP RUDDOCK: Intelligence could be involved, information that might compromise investigations that are current, where issues of safety and life. 

 

GILLIAN BRADFORD: The Democrats Senator, Andrew Bartlett, says on the basis of what's in print, Dr Haneef has done nothing wrong. 

 

ANDREW BARTLETT: I don't like the idea that in Australia today, you know, boarding with your cousin, borrowing money off your cousin or giving your cousin your mobile phone and left over credit when you leave the country becomes sufficient grounds for getting smeared as a supporter of terrorists. That's a very, very sad day that that's the way that the Australian Government works, and I really hope it's not the way that the Australian public's mindset works. 

 

GILLIAN BRADFORD: Senator Bartlett says it's outrageous just how much personal power the Immigration Minister has to affect somebody's life. 

 

ANDREW BARTLETT: Ministerial discretion, broad-ranging discretion with very little independent oversight is not much of a problem if you're talking about handing out a few fines here and there. It is a huge problem when the consequence is someone being jailed, in effect, for years and having this on their record for the rest of their life. 

 

GILLIAN BRADFORD: The Attorney General, Philip Ruddock, also made it plain on Lateline last night the Government was not happy with the Brisbane magistrate's decision to grant Dr Haneef bail. 

 

PHILIP RUDDOCK: If we find, in relation to these measures, that the law that we passed, that we expected would ensure that people charged with terrorism offences would have a presumption against bail is not being met, we may have to look at that matter further. 

 

GILLIAN BRADFORD: And after a briefing from the Federal Police last night, Labor says it's maintaining its bipartisan support for the Immigration Minister's decision. 

 

Labor's Immigration spokesman, Tony Burke, says he won't comment beyond saying this is an operational issue and he supports the AFP in its investigation. 

 

TONY EASTLEY: Gillian Bradford reporting.