Visitors to Australia can be refused entry or kicked out if they have been convicted of domestic violence, under a new federal government directive.
Immigration Minister David Coleman’s decision came into force on Thursday, barring anyone who has committed violence against women or children from the country.
“If you’ve been convicted of a violent crime against women or children, you are not welcome,” Mr Coleman said.
“Wherever the offence occurred, whatever the sentence, Australia will have no tolerance for domestic violence perpetrators.”
He said the direction would apply not only to decision-makers inside the Department of Home Affairs, but also to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
“There have been a number of cases where decision-makers within the government have refused a visa to someone who has been guilty of domestic violence.
“And in the administrative appeals tribunal has sought to reinstate that visa.”
Minister Coleman referred to two cases in particular where the department’s visa decision had been overturned by the tribunal.
“There is a case of a person who was guilty of assaulting his young son, who was denied a visa. The administrative appeals tribunal overturned that.
“There was a case of a person who was applying for a student visa who was guilty of assaulting his wife, who was denied a visa. And the administrative appeals tribunal overruled that.”
Current laws only allow the government to revoke the visas of foreigners who fail a character test or who have spent 12 months in jail.
Readers seeking assistance over domestic violence can contact 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or Lifeline 13 11 14.