Australia

PM warns he'll 'punt' refugee criminals after ‘sickening’ child assault

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has vowed to deport an Iraqi refugee who indecently assaulted a three-year-old girl. Source: AAP

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has vowed to deport a refugee security guard after he was convicted of kidnapping and indecently assaulting a three-year-old girl in Sydney.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned refugees in Australia they will be deported if they commit crimes, vowing to "punt" an Iraqi refugee who indecently assaulted a child. 

Mr Morrison delivered the strong warning after the government cancelled the permanent protection visa of Sydney security guard Mohammed Hassan Al Bayati under laws that allow the government to kick out foreign criminals. 

The 30-year-old, who arrived in Australia by boat in 2011, was sentenced to four and half years' jail on Tuesday who kidnapped and indecently assaulted a three-year-old girl.

"This is a sickening crime and this person has no business being in this country," Mr Morrison told the Today show on Thursday morning. 

Mohammad Hassan Al Bayati leaving a Sydney court in 2018.
Mohammad Hassan Al Bayati leaving a Sydney court in 2018.
AAP

The government has been cracking down on foreign criminals, but it is rare to try to send a refugee back to a country where they face persecution or serious harm. 

Mr Morrison said that is no reason not to be deported, suggesting Labor had given out protection visas "willy-nilly" when tens of thousands of asylum seekers arrived by boat. 

"Just because you’re on a protection visa, it’s a warning to anyone, we’ll cancel it and we’ll punt you," Mr Morrison told Sunrise.

"This bloke has no right being here. He’s abused the generosity of the country that gave him a new start. And it was absolutely appalling." 

Al Bayati will serve at least two and a half years in an Australian jail, before being moved to an immigration detention centre ahead of deportation. 

The prime minister targeted the Iraqi refugee as the government ramps up efforts to deport more foreign criminals. 

Since the character test was tightened in 2014, the government boasts it has kicked out 4,000 visa holders who have committed crimes and been sentenced to at least 12 months jail. 

The government is now proposing to further strengthen the character test to allow it to deport anyone who commits a crime carrying a sentence with at least two years in prison, regardless of whether any jail time is imposed on the offender. 

Al Bayati can appeal the decision, but Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was confident he would not be successful. 

"Good riddance to him and people like him," Mr Dutton said. 

Australia has committed to a range of international conventions designed to prevent refoulement - the forced return of refugees to countries where they face persecution and serious harm. 

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