Detaining Kiwi criminals unsustainable - Senator

  • 04/10/2015
Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (AAP)
Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (AAP)

The Australian position of detaining Kiwi criminals after they have served their sentences is not sustainable in the long term, says Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

She told TVNZ's Q&A program today that Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull only has one option "and that's to fix this situation".

"The automatic nature of cancelling people's visas and putting them in indefinite detention isn't workable in the long term. He's going to have to fix it.

"If he wants to rebuild relationships in the region then he better get onto it sooner than later."

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox told the program "all sorts of hideous things are going on" in Australian detention centres.

"It's an absolutely appalling position that the Australian government have taken, they're locking these guys up after having finished their sentences."

Prime Minister John Key reiterated on the program that he's hopeful Mr Turnbull will be reasonable on the issue and that he did not want New Zealand to back him into a corner on it.

Ms Fox said "is it time to bring in reciprocal legislation and say well OK, long gone the Anzac spirit".

She says Mr Key should "bring up our Anzac history" in talks on the issue.

She says many of the Kiwis at the centre of this issue were criminalised in Australia because they had lived there from very young ages.

Nearly 200 New Zealanders are being held in Australian detention centres facing deportation under new immigration laws that mean anyone who isn't a citizen and who has served a sentence of 12 months or more can be sent home.

On Thursday, Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton backed the policy.