A senior Rebels bikie has become the first person in WA to be hit with a deportation order solely because they are a member of an outlaw motorcycle gang.
New Zealand-born Joel Royston Makaea, 34, was arrested and taken into immigration detention in Perth on Monday after the Immigration Minister revoked his visa on “character” grounds.
Under changes to the Migration Act introduced in December, the minister has the power to cancel the visa of anyone involved in an organisation or gang that was reasonably suspected of being involved in criminal activity.
The person targeted for deportation does not have to be convicted of a serious offence, or even charged with one.
Mr Makaea, who is believed to be a father of six, is the sergeant-at-arms of the Rebels’ Bentley-based chapter and has lived in Perth since March 2005.
It is understood he has only a limited criminal history during his time in Australia, with his most recent charges relating to disorderly conduct and driving under the influence of drugs.
But his fellow Rebels gang members do have form, including the current and former presidents of the Bentley chapter, who are both awaiting trial on drug trafficking charges.
Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton would not comment on the specifics of Mr Makaea’s case yesterday.
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He made no apologies for the hard line taken by his Government, saying the involvement of bikies in serious and organised crime was well documented and community safety had to come first.
“Criminal bikie groups sell and distribute ice and are involved in other serious crime,” he said.
“On that basis, through a provision within the Migration Act, I can decide that their visas will be cancelled and they will be going back to their country of birth.
“Coming to Australia and remaining here on a visa is a privilege — not a right.
“If that privilege is abused, then they should expect to have their visa cancelled and be sent packing from our country.”
Mr Makaea does have the right to appeal against the decision but would need to demonstrate that he was not a person of bad character.
At least two other WA bikie gang members have been targeted for deportation this year, but both had significant criminal histories and were either facing fresh charges or already serving a jail term.
The Australia-wide crackdown on foreign-born criminals has resulted in more than 500 people being deported, including dozens of bikies.
The Rebels were contacted for comment yesterday but did not respond.