Richmond superstar Dustin Martin has suffered a huge blow on the eve of the Tigers’ qualifying final against Geelong at the MCG after the Federal Government passed a new law preventing his father Shane from entering Australia to watch his son play.
The latest move came after the High Court ruled on Wednesday that Immigration Minister Peter Dutton had been wrong to kick out two men accused of being Rebels bikies, AJ Graham and Mehaka Lee Te Puia.
The Martin family were confident that decision would pave the way for Shane, who was deported from Australia in March 2016 over his links to an outlaw motorcycle gang, to return to the country he had lived in since aged 20.
Shane has denied being involved in any criminal activity and was hoping to be back in time to attend the Brownlow Medal in AFL grand final week, with Dustin favourite to take out the prestigious award after a stellar season with the Tigers.
Channel Nine’s AFL The Footy Show revealed details of the latest setback for the Martin family on Thursday night, with Eddie McGuire saying that the High Court had ruled by a majority of 6-1 that “the decisions of the Immigration Minister Peter Dutton were invalid”.
“Dutton had acted on a wrong interpretation of Section 503a Section 2 of the migration act,” McGuire said. “This operated to shield the minister’s exercise of his power from judicial scrutiny.’’
The Footy Show host said the Martin family were overjoyed with the decision but that feeling was short-lived after the Minister’s office contacted the program at 8:09pm with a statement.
“It appeared at this stage that Shane Martin would be right to reconcile with his son in Australia and celebrate the biggest month of his life,” McGuire said.
“But tonight at 8:09pm, Minister Dutton rang The Footy Show to say the following, that he’s rushed through special federal legislation with royal ascent and said that: ‘Shane Martin will not be coming back.’
“He should have thought about the consequences of his actions on his family and the victims of crimes at the time of his offending. This amendment ensures that people who are outlaw motorcycle gang members, organised criminals, and threats to national security cannot stay in Australia”.
McGuire said the Martin family were devastated by the latest development, with the Federal Government passing the new laws on Monday in anticipation of the High Court decision.
“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster for Dustin Martin, six days ago exclusively on The Footy Showhe signed the biggest contract in the history of AFL/VFL football,” McGuire said.
“Today high spirits when it looked like the High Court had over-ruled Minister Dutton’s immigration stance and then tonight devastation again when Peter Dutton said it has been over-ruled and Shane Martin will not be coming back.”