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'Toughest possible regime' for immigration detainees

The Albanese government will bring two bills to parliament to deal with the fallout from High Court decisions relating to immigration.



Australia will move next week to set up the "toughest possible preventative detention regime" after a released asylum seeker went missing.


The former detainee, who refused to wear an electronic tracker, cannot be contacted and has been referred to Australian Federal Police.


More than 140 people have been released into the community after the High Court ruled indefinite detention was unlawful.


The Albanese government will bring to parliament next week legislation to allow it to re-detain the criminals released after the court on Tuesday afternoon published the reasons behind its decision.


The laws have been described as a "robust preventative detention and community safety order regime", modelled on high-risk terrorist laws enacted under the coalition government.


As well, a bill to allow a court to strip Australian citizenship from people who have committed serious crimes, including terrorism and espionage, will be introduced to parliament on Wednesday.


The citizenship-stripping power was also called into question by a High Court decision.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O'Neil urged the opposition not to stand in the way of laws to protect the public.


"Our government is now going to move quickly to establish the toughest possible preventative detention regime," she said.


"Now to do that, we are going to need the Liberals to work with us. 


"Peter Dutton is very good at saying 'no' and they've played a lot of politics with this issue. 


"Let's see now if they come into the parliament and help us keep the Australian community safe."


Ms O'Neil defended her government's response to the overturning of a 20-year precedent.


"I just point out to you that within a week and one day of the original High Court decision, we had set up a police operation, we had case managed the people that were required to release in the community," she said.


"I have never seen an Australian government move so quickly to adapt to a major constitutional decision."


Constitutional law expert Anne Twomey said the court's judgment would support legislation that allowed a form of individualised process.


"The problem here is that the government, and certainly the opposition ... wants to just do some kind of legislation that treats this entire category of people as people that you can just (put) back into detention on the basis that it's a risk to the community," Professor Twomey said.


"This judgment wouldn't support that.


"Trying to detain an entire group of people simply because they're unlawful non-citizens is not going to work."


Convicted murderers, rapists and those who have committed sexual offences against children are among the people released.


Opposition home affairs spokesman James Paterson said the government needed to urgently put through preventative detention measures.


But Senator Paterson said the coalition had not been briefed on any legislation.


"We are prepared to sit late tonight, we are prepared to sit late tomorrow, we are prepared to sit on Friday or over the weekend or whatever is necessary to get these laws passed before the parliament leaves Canberra this week," he told reporters.


"A preventative or continuing detention regime should apply to at the very least the highest risk among this cohort."


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