‘Uncontactable’ released immigration detainee located and subject to ankle monitor after joint ABF and AFP operation

Federal Police have located a former immigration detainee who had previously been “uncontactable”.

On Monday it was revealed there were four instances of “non-compliance” with the government’s measures to monitor and restrict the movement of the 141 individuals released from immigration detention following the High Court’s November 8 ruling that they could not be detained indefinitely when there was no realistic prospect of deportation.

Australian Border Force (ABF) commissioner Michael Outram said Australian Federal Police had made contact with three of the four released detainees, revealing “we know where they are”. However he also revealed a fourth person was “uncontactable”.

In welcome news for the government, the missing individual had been located by the Australian Federal Police and was being fitted with an electronic monitoring device.

“The AFP has located an individual who has now been fitted with an electronic monitoring device by Australian Border Force. ABF is the responsible agency for fitting and monitoring electronic monitoring devices,” a border force spokesperson told 

ABF Deputy Commissioner of Regional Operations Vanessa Holben acknowledged the growing “level of concern” held by the community while the two agencies worked to resolve the situation.

“I can assure everyone in the community that our officers have worked around the clock to make contact with the one affected individual in question, and we’re delighted to confirm this person has now been fitted with a monitoring device,” Ms Holben told in a statement.

“ABF officers, with the support of AFP, will continue to ensure members of the affected cohort comply with their conditions to maintain the ongoing safety of the community.”

Of the 138 affected individuals who require electronic monitoring, 136 have been fitted with devices. The locations of the two remaining clients are known.

The news comes as the government urgently prepares to legislate “tough” preventative detention laws following the High Court releasing the reasonings its controversial decision to overturn 20-years of legal precedent.

The High Court said that its decision does not prevent any immigration detainees that have been released from being removed from Australia “nor would grant of that relief prevent detention of the plaintiff on some other applicable statutory basis such as under a law providing for preventive detention of a child sex offender who presents an unacceptable risk of reoffending if released from custody”.

Following the release of the High Court’s decision Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil confirmed the government was “moving quickly to finalise a tough preventative detention regime before parliament rises”.

The Coalition has slammed the government yet again for failing to prepare for the High Court’s reasons which greenlit preventative detention.

Shadow home affairs minister James Paterson said the measures should have been included in the government’s legislation, which is before the parliament now, amending the urgent bill it passed last week to strengthen controls on those 140 detainees released.

“We clearly do need to have a new legislative framework to deal with these people. I thought it has always been clear that preventative or continuing detention is the best way to do that,” Senator Paterson told ABC Radio National on Wednesday.

“I’m pleased that the government now concedes that, but I don’t understand why they weren’t ready to go.

“We have the benefit of the High Court’s ruling. They should have had draft legislation ready to go. I don’t know why they haven’t introduced it today in the Parliament.”

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