Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Haneef wins again

The Australian Federal Court has overturned Australian Immigration Minister kevin Andrews' decision to revoke Dr Mohammed Haneef's visa on character grounds, ruling that the decision was wrongly made and that the visa should therefore be restored. Better, the government has also been ordered to pay Haneef's costs. It's a stunning victory for Haneef and the rule of law - and a stunning defeat for the Howard government which sought to trample it.

Reading the full judgement [PDF], Justice Spender was also highly critical of the Minister's selective leaking of information, saying that there was

a certain piquancy in the present case, in that the Minister has chosen to give a selected part of what is said to be protected information to the public by way of press release, but has not sought to divulge to the Court any part of the protected information under s 503A(3) of the Act.

The Minister is, in a sense, presenting one case in the public arena, a case the accuracy of which cannot be challenged in any meaningful way, and a smaller and not the same case in the Court, in a way which does not permit explanation or challenge by way of cross-examination.

Unfortunately, instead of doing the decent thing and resigning after his appalling abuse of power, Andrews is instead promising to appeal. It seems the Howard government has discovered the same "no shame" exploit used by the Bush Administration in the US...