(Image: Gorkie/Private Media)

Kafka would be so pleased. That our courts of law have become completely at ease with identifying every refugee and asylum seeker by letters and numbers rather than their names, that’s delightful enough. But the High Court, in its latest ruling in favour of the Morrison government’s policy of eternal uncertainty for anyone who dares float towards our sacred shore, has now put the icing on the post-modern cake.

Our protagonist is AJL20 (if you missed my first point, the earlier authorities cited by the court in this decision include M76/2013, M96A/2016, ASP15/2016, WAIS and plain M).

AJL20 arrived here in 2005 from Syria on a child visa. In 2014 the government cancelled his visa on character grounds because of a criminal conviction. He became, in the lexicon of the Migration Act, an "unlawful non-citizen" and went into immigration detention, remaining there until late 2020 when a Federal Court judge ordered his release. The government appealed to the High Court, which last week ruled 4-3 in its favour.