High Court ruling in landmark case to test if Aboriginal Australians are ‘aliens’ under Constitution

10 February 2020
The High Court of Australia will on Tuesday 11 February hand down its ruling in a landmark case to determine whether Aboriginal Australians can be considered an ‘alien’ under the Constitution and, as a result, be deported following a serious criminal conviction.

The special case is being brought on behalf of Aboriginal Australian men Daniel Love and Brendan Thoms. It was argued that both men are Australian nationals because they are Aboriginal people who, although born overseas, are not aliens under the Constitution.

Mr Love was born in Papua New Guinea. His father was a natural born Australian citizen and Aboriginal Australian. Mr Thoms was born in New Zealand. Mr Thoms’ mother is an Australian citizen and an Aboriginal Australian woman.

Both men have lived in Australia since they were young boys. Both have an extensive Aboriginal Australian heritage. Both have children who are Australian citizens and identify as Aboriginal Australian. Mr Thoms is also a native title holder.

Both were convicted of criminal offences and served time in prison. At the conclusion of their sentences in 2018, both men had their visas revoked and were taken to immigration detention in Brisbane where they were advised they would be deported.

Mr Love was to be deported to Papua New Guinea, and Mr Thoms was to be deported to New Zealand. Mr Love was released in September 2018 shortly after the present court proceedings were filed. Mr Thoms remains in immigration detention.

Media Alert

What: Doorstop opportunity following the High Court decision in the case of Love & Thoms v Commonwealth of Australia

When: The decision is due to be handed down at 10am AEDT on Tuesday 11 February.

Where: In front of The High Court of Australia - Parkes Place, Parkes ACT.

Who: Maurice Blackburn Lawyers’ Senior Associate Claire Gibbs, who is acting for the two men bringing the case, Daniel Love and Brendan Thoms.

Media inquiries: Chee Chee Leung on 0412 560 584 or via cleung@mauriceblackburn.com.au, or Jade Knight on 0417 969 438 or via jknight@mauriceblackburn.com.au

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