Australia cancels Kiwi gang member’s visa - again

  • 09/06/2016
Australia cancels Kiwi gang member’s visa - again

Australia's Immigration Minister has again cancelled the visa of a New Zealand-born bikie with a long criminal record, only hours after a federal court ruled the first cancellation was unfair.

Australian Federal Court judge Richard Tracey on Thursday quashed Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's decision to cancel the visa of Aaron Joe "AJ" Graham over a technicality involving procedural unfairness.

But an immigration department spokesman on Thursday afternoon said the minister had "decided to again cancel his visa" -- and Graham would remain in immigration detention or return to New Zealand pending any appeal.

Graham, a former president of the Rebels outlaw motorcycle gang, had his visa cancelled in June last year.

The immigration minister cancelled the special category visa that had allowed Graham to live in Australia since 1976 -- when he arrived as a 10-year-old child -- because his criminal convictions meant he failed the character test.

Under Australia's Migration Act, a person fails the character test if they have been sentenced to a term of imprisonment of more than 12 months.

Graham has been racking up convictions since 1985, Justice Tracey noted in his judgment.

In 2009 he was convicted in the Tasmanian Supreme Court of three counts of assault and sentenced to 15 months in prison.

But the immigration department in 2011 decided not to cancel Graham's visa and instead warned him after considering his long-term residence in Australia, his links to the community, his three adult children, and the risk of further offending.

Graham reoffended after the warning, which prompted the department to ask Mr Dutton to cancel his visa in 2015.

He was arrested during police raids in Hobart in June last year, before being flown to a NSW correctional facility to await deportation after Mr Dutton cancelled his visa.