New Zealander with no serious convictions being deported from WA

The West Australian reports that a New Zealander without serious convictions is being deported.

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.

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.

Is this going to be another controversial vase?

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.

So he moved to WA when he was about 24.

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.

According to Australian Visa cancellations under section 501 “association with persons suspected of engaging in criminal conduct” is sufficient grounds for cancelation of a visa.

Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton would not comment on the specifics of Mr Makaea’s case yesterday.

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.”

That’s the new tough Australian approach to visas.

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.

Assumptiions shouldn’t be made from appearances but he may need to do more than present his photo.

WA bikie faces deportation

Lights dim in Syria

A satellite analysis of Syria claims 83 percent of Syria’s lights have gone out since their civil war began in 2011.

These newly released satellite images of Syria at night are staggering: they show that 83 percent of the country’s lights visible at night have gone out, a testament to the appalling human cost of its ongoing civil war.

The widespread devastation wrought by fighting across the country, including by groups like ISIS, and the diversion of resources to the war effort have wreaked havoc on Syrian infrastructure.

As well as infrastructure damage there’s been an estimated 2-3 hundred thousand deaths and more than 2-3 million fleeing to neighbouring countries with over 1 million going to Turkey.

Lebanon (which normally has a population of 4.8 million, a bit more than New Zealand) have had about 667,000 refugees arrive there.

The Syrian population was estimated last year at about 18 million but the source doesn’t state if that accounts for refugees who have left.

March 2011:

SyriaLightsMarch2011

February 2015:
SyriaLightsFebruary2015

Turkey is to the north, Lebanon is lower left with the north of Israel below that.

Syria via Google Earth:

SyriaGoogleEarth

This map from Wikipedia shows how complex the civil war is, with a number of different groups holding territory:

SyriaCivilWar

It’s a huge mess in more ways than one. The relative lack of lights is just one indicator.

How bad are things in New Zealand? For some people life is tough. But relatively, our problems are minor, even with John Key as Prime Minister.