Labor Wants Haneef Inquiry

Labor wants Haneef inquiry

The Age (National)
November 2, 2007 – 11:43AM

A judicial inquiry is essential to find the truth about the Mohamed Haneef case, opposition immigration spokesman Tony Burke says.

Mr Burke was responding to newspaper reports today of an email of a secret plan, between immigration department officials and the Australian Federal Police (AFP), to keep Dr Haneef behind bars after a Brisbane magistrate granted the then-terror suspect bail.

Dr Haneef was detained in July on suspicion of involvement in a terrorist bombing incident in the United Kingdom.

The 27-year-old Indian national spent two weeks behind bars before being granted bail by magistrate Jacqui Payne.

On the same day Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews cancelled Dr Haneef's work visa, preventing his release from police custody.

The minister's decision was later overturned by a federal court judge.

At the time, Labor supported the minister's decision, saying on the advice it had from the AFP it would have made the same decision.

“On the basis of what I was given, I was able to say that if that were the information in total then a reasonable person could have reached the decision the minister reached,” Mr Burke told Sky News today.

But that support was now wavering, he said.

“Since that time each piece of information that Kevin Andrews has put out has either been contradicted by later leaked documents or contradicted by Kevin Andrews himself.

“That is why we called for a judicial inquiry.”

Mr Burke said an inquiry could help Australians regain faith in the immigration laws.

“We take a very hard line on anti-terrorism measures and we believe it is essential for there to be community support for our immigration and our anti-terror laws.”

Mr Andrews has denied he had any knowledge of the email while the AFP said it was part of “normal operational contingency planning”.

Dr Haneef, who returned to India after the federal court decision, has applied for a new visa.