Shayne Neumann MP
Federal Member for Blair

Australian Labor
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DUTTON’S DYSFUNCTION IN IMMIGRATION CONTINUES

10/01/2017

Two new reports investigating the administration of Australia’s immigration system have highlighted significant failures by Minister Dutton and the Department of Immigration to adequately manage the volume of people in detention, leading to the ongoing mismanagement of cases.

The reports by the Commonwealth Ombudsman examined the administration of section 501 of the Migration Act and the administration of people who have their bridging visas cancelled due to criminal convictions.

Non-citizens who commit serious offences in Australia know they will be deported. The community expects to be kept safe from serious offenders and Labor is committed to this outcome.

However, that doesn't mean Minister Dutton and his Department can leave children and families in limbo and it is no excuse for poor administrative processes that create uncertainty and distress for families.

The reports contain a number of damning findings regarding the management and documentation of people held in detention

“…unnecessarily prolonged and potentially indefinite periods of immigration detention,” (07/2016 p.1)       

“…a case management system that is struggling to adequately manage the volume of people in immigration detention,” (07/2016 p.1)

“…did not always provide the Minister with all relevant information,” (08/2016 p.1)

 

The reports question the Department’s willingness to provide material to the Ombudsman.

“This report also highlights issues associated with the quality of the department’s record keeping. The department wasn’t able to provide all the information to this office,” (07/2016 p.1)

“The department failed to provide other relevant materials such as submissions, training packages and case specific information, despite repeated requests.”  (07/2016 p.1)

This is not now simply one or two reports, but sustained examples that show systemic failings by the Minister and his Department.

Last year the Australian National Audit Office Auditor-General’s report found instances of errors and negligence by Minister Dutton, and highlighted dysfunction at the core of the Turnbull Government.

That was followed by another independent report commissioned by the Department that found a lack of professionalism, systemic shortfalls, and a blindness to the risk of corruption in decision making by Minister Dutton’s Department.

Labor believes the Australian public deserve better than a tick-and-flick Minister who isn’t across his brief and doesn’t ask his Department the hard questions. Rather than focussing on his own political survival, Prime Minister Turnbull needs to attend to Peter Dutton’s incompetence before it causes any more harm.