No breaks in Australia for NZ 'cousins'

7:57 am on 29 September 2015

A Queensland senator says while New Zealanders are considered 'cousins', they get no special conditions if they break Australian laws - and they too can be deported.

An Australian Border Force (ABF) badge can be seen on an officer's shirt.

Australia's immigration policy allows it to revoke the visas of convicted criminals. Photo: AAP

Australia's immigration policy allows it to revoke the visas of convicted criminals, and many are sent to an interim detention centre on Christmas Island.

Senator Ian Macdonald chaired the committee which decided the controversial immigration policy.

He said New Zealanders were well loved by Australia, but all non-Australians who break that country's laws faced the same consequences.

"If anyone comes to our country, and they're not countrymen and they break our laws, they should all be treated the same way," he said.

"If they can't abide by Australian laws, then they should be sent back to where they came from."

"We don't want people who get into trouble, who have a criminal record or who get into criminal activity, and those who fit that category will have their visas cancelled and have to go back to where they came from."

Up to 75 New Zealanders and Pacific Islanders are believed to have been moved to Christmas Island pending immigration decisions; Radio New Zealand News has spoken to six of them.

But Mr Macdonald said he was surprised to hear that.

"I doubt if they'd be sent to Christmas Island, that seems a little unusual to me. There are detention facilities within mainland Australia where people in this category would normally go."

He said that those who had been in Australia since infancy or childhood should apply for citizenship if they felt Australia was their home.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs