Fifth former detainee arrested as extradition looms

Tess Ikonomou |

A former immigration detainee who was released into the community after a landmark High Court ruling has become the fifth person in the cohort to be arrested.

A 39-year-old man was arrested in Brisbane on Thursday morning.

The man was taken into custody by Queensland police on an outstanding NSW revocation of parole arrest warrant, in relation to a serious assault offence.

“He was taken to the Brisbane watchhouse, where NSW officers will travel to extradite the man in the coming days,”  NSW Police said in a statement.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil r
The coalition is ramping up the pressure on Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil over detainees. (Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS)

Pressure is mounting on the Albanese government as the opposition demands an apology to Australians. 

Asked when he was planning to sack Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese defended his government’s response.

“Ministers O’Neil and Giles have done more to address this issue in a month than those opposite did in nine years,” he told parliament.

Labor is looking to put people who may pose a risk to community safety back behind bars, under a preventive detention regime which passed parliament on Wednesday night.

A 45-year-old man was the fourth former detainee to be charged after he allegedly broke the curfew of his visa conditions and stole luggage from Melbourne airport.

The government has been scrambling to respond to the High Court’s decision, which overturned 20 years of legal precedent to rule indefinite detention unlawful when there was no prospect of resettlement.

Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley said the government owed Australians an apology and answers.

Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley.
Deputy Liberal leader Sussan Ley says the government owes Australians an apology. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

“They have created chaos about this from the beginning,” she told Sky News.

“Not even to have laws ready for preventative detention … we might not have had these people, at least two of them arrested, because they might have been put back behind bars where they belong.

“Critically now the test for this government is what are they going to do to make sure women and children in Australia are safe.”

Ms Ley said the government needed to provide clear information to the public about how they would use the laws, and “how many predators will be locked up before Christmas”.

More than 140 people have been released in response to the court’s decision.