Rebels supporters protest deportation law

Protesters outside Parliament (Sophie Lowery / Newshub.)
Protesters outside Parliament (Sophie Lowery / Newshub.)

Associates and supporters of the Rebels Motorcycle Club have protested in Melbourne today over alleged bikies facing deportation, many of them New Zealanders.

Kiwi Shane Martin -- father of an Aussie Rules star -- is one of many bikies from New Zealand who have had their visas cancelled in the past two years.

Shane was arrested in Sydney last month and Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton had him sent back to New Zealand last week.

Today's protest started at around 1pm and went from Federation Square to Parliament. More than 100 protesters stopped traffic, including trams.

They were targeting Mr Dutton's 501 law -- an amendment to section 501 of the Migration Act that has increased his power to cancel visas. Those targeted have criminal convictions or are deemed to be bad characters.

Protesters chanted: "What do we want? Free our families! When do we want it? Now!" They also held a minute's silence for Rob Peihopa, a Kiwi detainee who died in custody at Sydney's Villawood Immigration Detention Centre.

Shane's deportation is part of an Australian government crackdown.

"We are going to continue this operation until we can wipe out outlaw motorcycle gangs, because they are the biggest distributors of mephetamine and illicit drugs in this country," Mr Dutton says.

"It's devastating," says brother Dean Martin, who was at the protest today. "I've been over here 26 years and he's all I have. It's been him and I, and he's a good man, no criminal convictions. They've got him on association. That's not good enough."

Dean says it's torn apart a family who have done their bit for Australia. Shane's son, Bronson, is a soldier, while his other son is an Aussie Rules star.

"He put his life on the line for his country and then they take his dad away from him. It's appalling. It's woeful."

Dean says he won't visit his brother because he fears he could face the same fate.

"You never know if they'll grab me next."

His only option is to band with others and take their concerns to the streets of Melbourne.

Since mid-2014 the visas of dozens of Outlaw Motorcycle Club members in Australia have been cancelled or refused. Most of them are from New Zealand.

United Future leader Peter Dunne says testing people on their character is a step too far and he doesn't believe New Zealand government officials are being kept in the loop.

"I just think this is a very bad look for Australia. I think it's got a potential to escalate a tension between New Zealand and Australia that doesn't need to exist, and I think the Australians just need to start talking to us more closely about what they are planning to do, or just be a bit more careful about how they apply their own law."

Now protesters are calling on Prime Minister John Key to stand up to his Australian counterpart and demand change.

As for Shane, his brother says he will appeal his deportation.