Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Terrorist Medical Politics

Dr Haneef has finally been released after his singular charge of "recklessly" providing support to a terrorist organisation (i.e. his cousin) was dropped.

But the controversy continues. Here are a number of issues that continue to perplex me.

Natural Injustice

From this evening's PM (ABC Radio):
CONOR DUFFY: On Saturday Kevin Andrews said Mohammed Haneef had no choice "but to return to India".

KEVIN ANDREWS: Indeed, the effect of the visa cancellation is that he should remove himself; he should depart Australia in any event.

CONOR DUFFY: But by yesterday, the fact Dr Haneef did leave the country so swiftly was being cast by the Minister, almost as a sign of guilt.

KEVIN ANDREWS: But the fact that he, being let out into the community as he has been, the fact that as an appeal in place in which he says he's innocent coming up in just a week's time, that his lawyers may have indicated to my department as soon as possible he wanted to get out of Australia as soon as possible. If anything, that actually heightens rather than lessens my suspicion.

What does Kevin Andrews expect Dr Haneef to do? He has been locked up for 25 days, every day he has said he wants to go home to visit his wife and newborn daughter, you let him out with no visa to stay in Australia - of course he is going to leave the country! Does he seriously expect this poor man to hang around in Australia and spend a few days on holiday, waiting for the AFP and DPP to create some more evidence against him? Whatever happened to natural justice? Oh, I forgot that it does not apply to Immigration Proceedings.

Kevin Andrews on July 18th:
QUESTION: So even if it goes to court, evidence produced – now, you've actually said that AFP gave you information. But if it all goes to court, if he's found innocent, why shouldn't he be allowed to stay?

KEVIN ANDREWS: Well, there are two – can I say to you, you have to separate that there are two entirely separate procedures, and two entirely separate tests. The test of an association on the basis of a reasonable suspicion is an entirely different test to whether or not he is guilty of a charge which must be proven beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law. They're entirely – they are two entirely different processes.

The Secret Evidence

Kevin Andrews is apparently considering releasing the "secret evidence" upon which he based his decision to cancel Dr Haneef's work visa.

Mr Andrews later said he was waiting on written advice from the solicitor-general before he could reveal his reasons for refusing to reinstate the visa.

"The reality is that I've had one hand tied behind my back because this information was provided to me under the legislation by the federal police as protected information," Mr Andrews said.

"There's nothing to apologise about because in my discretion, looking at the evidence that the AFP provided to me, he failed the character grounds."

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said he stood by the information provided to Mr Andrews.
Sydney Morning Herald, July 30, 2007 - 7:40PM

Unfortunately, this seems pretty unlikely, as from my reading of Section 503A of the Migration Act 1958 ("Protection of information supplied by law enforcement agencies or intelligence agencies") is quite clear that
(c) the Minister or officer must not be required to divulge or communicate the information to a court, a tribunal, a parliament or parliamentary committee or any other body or person; and

(d) if the information was communicated to an authorised migration officer--the officer must not give the information in evidence before a court, a tribunal, a parliament or parliamentary committee or any other body or person.

The only exception arises if the Minister makes a declaration to allow disclosure of
... specified information in specified circumstances to a specified Minister, a specified Commonwealth officer, a specified court or a specified tribunal. However, before making the declaration, the Minister must consult the gazetted agency from which the information originated.

Even then, the Federal Court seems bound not to disclose that information to anyone else, including the applicant, their legal representative, or any other member of the public.

The only means by which this secret information can be released is if the originating agency decides it is no longer secret - but that means releasing it through separate channels, as Kevin Andrews remains bound not to reveal the secret submission or details of the agency from which it was received. So how do we know that any information that Kevin Andrews releases is real? We can't, because by law he cannot release it, and therefore anything he releases is untrue, or else he goes to jail for 2 years.

Boy, what a bind!

The Visa Shuffle

Kevin Andrews has consistently denied that Dr Haneef's visa was cancelled in order to keep him detained in Australia. It was cancelled due to character grounds. If that was the case, he had an obligation to deport him immediately. But he did not.

Instead, Dr Haneef was issued with a Criminal Justice Visa because the Commissioner of the AFP issued a Criminal Justice Stay Certificate on behalf of the Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock. Once this was done there was no choice but to detain Dr Haneef.

This was therefore not a decision made by only Kevin Andrews to detain Dr Haneef. It was a decision by the PM, Philip Ruddock and his delegates to detain Dr Haneef, and Kevin Andrews acquiesced by cancelling the work visa and replacing it with a Criminal Justice Visa.

Even if Kevin Andrews rolls over and resigns - Philip Ruddock is still heavily implicated in this Visa Shuffle.

Character, Goodstanding, and Medical Registration

Should Dr Haneef's visa remain cancelled on the basis of bad character, and he choose to resume his career elsewhere, he will likely be asked to produce a Certificate of Goodstanding from his previous Medical Registration Board.

At this time, the Medical Practitioners' Board of Queensland has no reason to cancel his registration. He has not been convicted of a criminal offence. Even should it choose to cancel his Medical Registration, it would not be as a result of bad character or being unfit to practise (unless Kevin Andrews were to advise the MPBQ of his "secret evidence"). He would in all likelihood be issued a Certificate of Good Standing.

What does this say about his character? Officially he is still fit to practise medicine in Queensland. Here is his Medical Registration. Officially he is also unfit to enter the country. There seems to be some disagreement here. Can anybody explain how this discrepancy can be resolved?

The Teflon Man

John Howard will, at some stage, obviously deny any direct involvement in these decisions. He has already started.
Haneef unlikely to get visa back: PM

Exonerated terror suspect Mohamed Haneef is unlikely to get his Australian visa back, Prime Minister John Howard said tonight.

Mr Howard and senior ministers are refusing to apologise to the former Gold Coast Hospital registrar, who was held in custody for almost four weeks as part of a bungled terror investigation.

Mr Howard conceded that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had made mistakes in the case, which collapsed last Friday.

But he stood by Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews' decision to cancel Dr Haneef's visa on character grounds, saying his minister was acting on "secret information".

"The question of whether he should have a visa again depends on assessments made as to his associations and I suspend judgment on that," Mr Howard told the Seven Network.

"Because I think at the moment the cancellation of his visa was wholly legitimate and I can't see therefore the circumstances in which it's going to be restored, certainly in the near future."
The Age, July 30, 2007 - 7:52PM

I wonder if John Howard has seen the "secret evidence"?

Haneef brief to be released tomorrow
PM - Monday, 30 July , 2007 18:10:00
Haneef unlikely to get visa back: PM
Sydney Morning Herald, July 30, 2007 - 7:40PM
No Apology or Visa for Haneef
The Age, July 30, 2007 - 7:52PM


Anonymous said...

One can easily make out this Dr haneefs case a well fabricted conspiracy by the Australian Government to prevent the migration of Indians to australia because Australias total population is about One crore only and its landmass is seven times bigger than India and you may all know it has the toughest Immigration laws in the world they welcome only those who have bunchloads of money with them it rather doesnt matter whrther it came from smuggling or drugs if u have the money and you are ready to invest in Aus u will be given the first preference and nowadays the are letting more technicians and skilled persons on some kind of Visa which will expire in three years because no one is there to do downtrodden work in Aus first these so called first citizens show some respect and dignity to the Original people of the australia the Aborigines

Sheepish said...

Um, right. Yeah... I guess that's what you call "Stream of Consciousness". Very interesting.