A Perth bikie fighting attempts to deport him to New Zealand has won the right to stay in Australia while his lawyers prepare for a possible High Court challenge.
Joel Royston Makaea, 34, was arrested and put into immigration detention early last month after the Immigration Minister revoked his visa on character grounds, citing his senior role within the Rebels bikie gang as a reason behind the decision.
It is understood the deportation was likely to occur within days.
But Mr Makaea’s lawyers argued successfully in the Federal Court yesterday for an injunction preventing that move while they prepare their legal challenge.
Mr Makaea’s mother Marion said the decision to send her son back to New Zealand had been both unfair and cruel because he had grown up in Australia and all of his family were now living here.
His partner is expecting a child and he has four other children who also live in Perth.
“They are doing this because of his tattoos and his size and because he looks intimidating, but that is not who he really is,” Mrs Makaea said.
“He is a loving and caring person and a really good man. He doesn’t know anyone back in New Zealand.”
The legal challenge is likely to be a test case that, if successful, could help hundreds of other foreigners facing a similar fate to stay in Australia.
Changes to the Migration Act introduced in December gave the Immigration Minister the ultimate power to decide who stays and goes without any opportunity to appeal against his decision.
Mr Makaea’s lawyer Michael Pena-Rees said getting the injunction had been a significant win for his client because it showed the courts were willing to hear challenges to the minister’s authority.
“It is an unusual case and could be a very lengthy one as there is a real chance the matter could go all the way to the High Court if necessary,” Mr Pena-Rees said.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton declined to comment on the development yesterday. But he has previously made no apologies for the Government’s hard line on bikies whose links to organised crime were well documented.
“Criminal bikie groups sell and distribute ice and are involved in other serious crime, ” Mr Dutton said. “Coming to Australia and remaining here on a visa is a privilege — not a right.”