One man — or it may have been two men, depending on which report you read — was accidentally and illegally sent to Christmas Island after an Australian Border Force stuff-up.
According to The Guardian, the two Australian men, who were born in New Zealand but hold dual citizenship, were detained under section 51 of the Migration Act, which allows for detention or deportation if a non-citizen fails the ‘character test’ as judged by the minister, i.e. they have committed a crime.
When the immigration department realised they’d made a mistake, the men were released.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports this a little differently, and says only one man was taken to Christmas Island, whereas the other was detained onshore.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for the immigration department released this statement:
The men had recently been released from prison for committing serious crimes.
Aside from reminding people of the other times the immigration department famously effed-up — when Cornelia Rau was unlawfully detained for 10 months between 2004 and 2005, and when Vivian Solon was wrongfully deported to the Philippines in 2001 — this has not been good PR for the department.
In addition to this error, Australian Border Force boss Roman Quaedvlieg has been on personal leave and is being investigated after he reportedly engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a female staff member in her 20s.