Kamilaroi man Daniel Love has launched a High Court case seeking compensation for his 'unlawful immigration detention'.
Mr Love spent almost two months in immigration detention in Brisbane after his permanent residency visa was revoked due to his criminal record.
His visa was reinstated and his deportation to Papua New Guinea cancelled by the Department of Home Affairs after his case was widely reported.
While he was born in PNG, Mr Love has lived in Australia since he was five, but his parents did not complete the necessary paperwork for his citizenship.
Lawyers acting for Mr Love said they believe the government had no authority to detain or remove their client from Australia.
“Daniel should have never been placed into immigration detention – he is an Aboriginal man with a proud family history, something we believe was something of which the Commonwealth would have been well aware yet they still chose to detain him for close to 50 days,” Maurice Blackburn Principal Rod Hodgson said.
“Daniel was not an alien as defined under the Australian Constitution, and on this basis his detention was an unlawful act," he said.
“Daniel had served his time for an offence, yet when he was due to be released he was instead sent straight to immigration detention, with his visa revoked and facing the threat of deportation to Papua New Guinea."
Mr Hodgson said the time in immigration detention had been distressing for his client.
“Daniel’s time in detention has had a significant impact on him and his family – he was very fearful of being removed to PNG, he was isolated from his children and family and he repeatedly requested visits from Border Force case workers to try and get updates about what was happening with his case, but this never happened," he said.
“The Commonwealth must be held to account for the unlawful detention of Australians, we understand Daniel’s detention has not been an isolated case and that other Australians have also been detained by the Department of Immigration."
Last month, Buzzfeed reported another Aboriginal man from NSW was almost deported to New Zealand after spending seven months in immigration detention.