Australia has 'no intention' of reviewing deportation law - Foreign Minister Marise Payne

Australia has "no intention" of reviewing legislation around the deportation of Kiwis even if they haven't set foot in New Zealand before. 

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne made the confirmation alongside New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters on Friday after attending the Pacific Exposition event in Auckland. 

"In terms of whether we would take any approach to amending our own legislation, Australia, like New Zealand, would always consider its legislation in the context of our national interests and our national security.

"I think any sovereign nation would do so, and there's no intention to review those aspects of our legislation," said Payne, who replaced former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in August last year. 

Winston Peters, also New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister, said he didn't raise the deportation issue with Payne during their bilateral, because there were "a whole lot of things to discuss". 

"We haven't given up - but the point is, we have to begin on the basis that Australia has got as we have, every right to write its own domestic policy," he said. 

"That said, of course we're going to keep focused on getting a far better understanding and what we believe is a far fairer legal outcome, particularly when people arrive in Australia at four, five, six or seven years of age."

New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters.
New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters. Photo credit: Getty

New Zealand has pushed back against Australia's deportation of Kiwis since former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott changed the law in 2014 around the processes associated with visa cancellations on criminal grounds.  

Earlier this year, the Australian government revealed plans to strengthen its immigration rules even further, meaning more people would eligible for deportation. 

It was met with contempt from New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who didn't hold back during a press conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Auckland in February. 

"In my view, this has become corrosive to our relationship," she said of Kiwis being deported from Australia who have no connection to New Zealand. 

New Zealand Justice Minister Andrew Little has also been vocal about Australia's deportation laws, last year telling ABC News they lack "humanitarian ideals ". 

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne. Photo credit: Getty

Around 1500 Kiwis have been kicked out of Australia since the law was toughened. Morrison has insisted that Kiwis aren't targeted in "any way, shape or form" by Australia's migration law. 

In March, a recommendation was made at an Australian inquiry into the deportation of criminals to make a special consideration for New Zealanders - and while it was considered, no commitment was made. 

Ardern's office told Newsroom at the time it was "pleasing to see the Australian Parliament has recognised some of the concerns New Zealand and the Prime Minister has been raising".

The crackdown has resulted in Kiwis like Bruce Moana - who had lived in Australia since he was 13 - being mistakenly deported back to New Zealand after serving time. 

Australia has also refused to concede New Zealand's offer to take some of its detained asylum seekers from Australian offshore detention centres.

Payne said Australia's focus is to continue to reduce the numbers of asylum seekers on Manus Island north of Papua New Guinea and Nauru in Micronesia. 

She said Australia will continue to work with the United States to "resettle" them. 


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