Immigration Minister Peter
Dutton concedes legal error in deporting Shane Martin
The father of AFL and Richmond superstar
Dustin Martin could be one step closer to returning to Australia after
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton conceded a legal error was made in the
decision to deport him.
The case of Shane Martin, who was deported to
New Zealand last year because of his links to the Rebels motorcycle club, was
mentioned in the Federal Court in Sydney on Tuesday.
Martin to add
Dustin Martin has revealed the
location of his premiership memorial tattoo and assures Damien Hardwick
will get one too.
Justice John Griffiths was told Mr Dutton had
agreed the decision should be quashed.
"You are not going to do much better than
that," he quipped to Mr Martin's barrister James Forsaith when he stood up to
make a submission.
Fairfax Media understands Tuesday's court
decision does not necessarily mean Mr Martin will be reinstated with a visa to
return to Australia – an outcome government lawyers would fiercely oppose.
The judge adjourned the case to December 19 to
determine whether Mr Martin will get his visa back.
Mr Martin spoke to 3AW on Tuesday, saying he
was not yet celebrating because he was still unsure whether he would be allowed
back into Australia – and he did not know why the government had dropped his
"I'm just confused at the moment, to
be honest," he said.
"[My lawyers are] still just in
negotiations at the moment, so I'll probably know a bit more later on
this afternoon, or tonight.
"But yeah, it's a positive, that's the main
thing. But I'm not on the plane yet, so I feel a bit torn.
He was keen to come back to Australia to be
with his family and said it was his intention to live here if he was allowed.
"I don't want to say I'm back when I'm not ...
I don't understand why I can't just go now, but the legal side of it, you know,
we've got to go through that, make sure it's right before I get there.
"I don't care about anything else but just
being there for my kids and to get home. I don't care or understand all the
other side of it, don't care about it. I just want to get home.
"I'm lost for words at the moment ... I want
to believe it, but until I'm on that plane and sitting in Australia, I'll be
The deportation of Mr Martin, who had lived in
Australia since he was 20, meant he missed his son's AFL grand final win this
year when the Tigers claimed their first flag since 1980.
But he said he was beyond anger at his
"How do you get angry at something that you've
got no control over?"
He said he had spoken to Dustin but reiterated
that there were no celebrations yet. He said he was "up in the air" about the
next steps in the process.
In September, Mr Dutton pushed through a
change to the law to protect secrecy around deportation decisions when the
decision was based on classified information.
The change, necessitated by a successful High
Court case, was designed to protect decisions already taken by Mr Dutton, such
as the deportation of Mr Martin.
In October, Mr Dutton said he based the
decision to deport Mr Martin on information that is not publicly available.
"I have information that is provided by the
intelligence agencies and by law I am prohibited from giving you the detail,"
the minister said.
"I've made a decision which I am not going to
change. I made a decision based on all the facts and I believe it is the right
Dustin Martin's manager, Ralph Carr, declined
to comment when contacted by The Age on Tuesday.
In an interview with The Footy Show
in August, Dustin said his father was his biggest supporter and that leaving him
in New Zealand after visiting him there was one of the hardest moments of his
"It's been incredibly hard the last 12 to 18
months not having him here," Dustin said. "He'd love to be here and hopefully
he is back here soon.
"It's been a pretty emotional week ... seeing
him [in New Zealand] he was pretty broken."
In that same interview, a visibly emotional
Shane Martin,who left Australia voluntarily in March 2016 after Mr
Dutton revoked his residency status, spoke of his pride in his son and his fight
to be allowed to return to Australia.
"Love you son and I'm very proud," Mr Martin
said from his home in New Zealand.