Christopher Evans sworn in as new Australian immigration minister

04 December 2007


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Kevin Rudd, the new prime minister for Australia, has named Senator Christopher Evans as his immigration minister. His predecessor, Kevin Andrews, dealt with controversial issues during his tenure, including the Haneef case and the so-called Pacific Solution.

Mohamed Haneef, an Indian national working in Australia on a temporary skilled immigration visa, was arrested in July in connection with the failed bombing attacks in London and Glasgow International Airport.

Haneef spent weeks in jail and had his visa revoked by Andrews, without any conviction of wrongdoing. Charges were eventually dropped and Haneef voluntarily left Australia on 29 July 2007.

Andrews held to his decision to revoke Haneef's visa, citing national security, amid a storm of political controversy including calls for his resignation.

Andrews was also a staunch supporter of the 'Pacific Solution', the name given to Australia's policy of detaining migrants who attempt to come to Australia illegally by boat on small pacific islands while their status is assessed.

Many migrants who attempted to get to mainland Australia were detained in a detention center in Nauru, a small island nation. During Kevin Rudd's election campaign, he hinted at closing the facility; however, he has not given any specific timeframe.

There has been no word as to what Evans' goals and policies will be for his new position as immigration minister. His experience includes a wide array of ministries and committees.

Elected to Federal Parliament in 1993, Evans became the Chair of the Joint Native Title Committee and was appointed as Opposition Whip in the Senate after the 1996 election.

He has had experience as Shadow Minister for Family Services and the Aged, Shadow Minister for Defence, and Shadow Minister for Defence Procurement, Science and Personnel.

In 2004 he was elected as Federal Labor Leader in the Australian Senate and became Shadow Minister for Social Security. In 2005 he became Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services. In 2006 he became Shadow Minister for National Development, Resources and Energy.

Christopher Evans was sworn in as immigration minister on 03 December 2007.