Government refusing to detail why people were released from immigration detention without ankle bracelets

government refusing to detail why people were released from immigration detention without ankle bracelets

Clare O’Neil has faced weeks of questions about the government’s handling of the High Court ruling. (ABC News: Matt Roberts)

The federal government is refusing to say why it opted against imposing ankle monitoring bracelets on three of the people released from immigration detention following a landmark High Court ruling.

The government has released 141 non-citizens, including people convicted of murder, child rape and drug trafficking, into the community after the High Court ruled their indefinite detention was unlawful.

The government, with the support of the opposition, recently passed new rules that require the cohort to be fitted with ankle bracelets and abide by night-time curfews.

Those laws are being challenged in the High Court by one of the former detainees.

On Monday, Australian Border Force Commissioner Michael Outram confirmed his department was assisting with fitting bracelets on 138 people.

“Over the last few days, the Australian Border Force (ABF) has been providing support to the government in terms of implementing these new laws for the 138 people that have been released from immigration detention that require electronic monitoring,” he said.

The term “require” points to the Migration Amendment (Bridging Visa Conditions) Act 2023 which states monitoring bracelets must be worn “unless the Minister is satisfied that the holder does not pose a risk to the community”.

A person may not be fitted with an electronic monitoring device if they are in police custody, hospital, or have a disability that would impede their movement.

While the government has said it does not comment on ongoing police matters, the ABC asked the offices of Immigration Minister Andrew GIles and Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil, as well as Border Force, to explain why three people are exempt from having a bracelet fitted.

All refused to provide a detailed answer.

Some of the 138 people yet to have bracelets fitted

Commissioner Outram said of the 138 required to have a monitoring device, six people were yet to have theirs fitted.

“Of the six that remain, four of those have been referred to the Australian Federal Police for investigation,” he said yesterday.

“That means there’s been non-compliance in those four cases.”

Commissioner Outram described the four people as of “lower end of risk to the community”.

Of the four, three had been contacted and police knew where they were, but police had not been able to contact the fourth.

Immigration Minister Andrew Giles told Question Time locating the fourth individual remained a focus.

“The Australian community should be assured that all efforts coordinated under Operation Aegis are being made to track down this individual,” he said.

Commissioner Outram said the final two cases were complex.

“And the remaining two cases are difficult, complex cases, for example involving sort of health issues, and those two cases are being worked through today.”

The ABC asked Border Force how many of the six have had bracelets fitted since Monday.

In a statement, ABF Deputy Commissioner Vanessa Holben said five people were still yet to get their bracelet fitted.

“Context is critical here,” she said in a statement.

“The fact is that of the 138 affected individuals who require electronic monitoring, 133 have been fitted with devices and only one is yet to be contacted.

” While the ABF remains in close support, this case has been referred to the AFP and every reasonable step is being taken in order to locate the individual in question.”

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