As part of our 15th birthday celebrations, we’ve trawled through the archives to bring you some of the best, weirdest and most salacious articles published on Crikey since our launch on February 14, 2000.
* This article was originally published on December 11, 2009.
Australia’s immigration system allowed a 47-year-old man who had lived in Australia for more than 30 years and had strong familial and community ties here to be deported back to the UK, where he died two days after arriving at Heathrow.
The case of Andrew Moore should shock us all. Moore had served a term of imprisonment for manslaughter, and under the Migration Act he can be deported once he has served his jail time. In October this year, the Rudd government allowed Moore, who was suffering from liver disease, fibromyalgia syndrome, hepatitis C and mental illness and was a recovering alcoholic, to be dumped in London and left to fend for himself.
He was found dead two days later. Not our fault, says Immigration Minister Chris Evans.
Five days after Moore’s shocking case was raised by University of New South Wales researcher Michael Grewcock and Joel Gibson in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, the caravan appears to have moved on. There is no hue and cry, only a handful of outraged phone calls to talkback radio and fuming letters to the editor. Andrew Moore’s case will be forgotten, just like so many others who are victims of the deportation system.
Take, for example, Moore’s compatriot Michael Evans. I acted on a pro bono basis, along with two other Tasmanian lawyers, for Evans some years ago. His was a case equally as sad as that of Andrew Moore. Michael Evans, a man in his 60s, had lived in Australia since 1977 with his family. Depressed because he thought he had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and fuelled by alcohol, he shot his wife, injuring her, and was charged with attempted murder. He served a short term of imprisonment, and the Australian government told him he would be deported back to the UK.
Evans was a very ill man. He suffered from several physical ailments and was reduced to a wheelchair by the time his deportation came around. He had no family support in the UK. After Evans lost a Federal Court appeal at the end of 2006 he was put on a plane and sent back to the UK. What happened to him I don’t know, but what I do know is that when I last saw Michael Evans in early 2007 he could hardly move and there was no one to meet this very sick man at the other end.
A recent paper published by Grewcock outlines in detail just how immoral the system of deportation of non-citizens convicted of criminal offences in Australia really is. Grewcock highlights other examples that are on a par with those of Evans and Moore. In September this year, for example, Australian authorities chartered a plane to deport to New Zealand a 31-year-old woman who had lived all her life in Australia and who lived on the streets and suffered mental illness.
The bottom line is this: Australia regularly deports individuals with severe physical and mental illness without a care as to what happens once they leave our shores. Grewcock says that at any one time there are 20-40 people who are detained by authorities with a view to their being deported because they have committed criminal offences.
Yet despite the occasional story about someone such as Andrew Moore, we generally allow our government to get away with this cruelty.