Sangeetha Pillai Profile picture
Senior Research Associate at @KaldorCentre & @GTCentre member | Interests in constitutional law, immigration, citizenship, refugee litigation. Views my own.
Feb 16 20 tweets 5 min read

Today, a government bill, the Strengthening the Character Test Bill 2021 is before the House of Representatives. This bill is the third attempt to introduce changes to the Migration Act previously put forward in 2018 and 2019. Both these previous attempts failed. If passed, the Bill would that expand powers held by the Immigration and Home Affairs Ministers to cancel visas on character grounds. These character cancellation powers are already very broad.
Feb 15 61 tweets 11 min read

From 10am today, the High Court will hear a case challenging the constitutional validity of Australia’s citizenship stripping laws. I did my PhD on this topic, so I plan to keeping an eye on the case, in case you’d like to join me 😊. The case is called Alexander v Minister for Home Affairs. You can find the case page here, if you’d like to read the materials and watch the proceedings yourself:….

@KieranPender has also written a great article, here:…
Jan 15 48 tweets 9 min read
If the matter had ended up being heard by a single Federal Court judge, the losing party could have appealed up to a full court composed of 3 different Federal Court judges. Jumping straight to the full court basically means that one stage in the process gets skipped. The losing party could still try to appeal to the High Court. But this isn’t a guaranteed right. The High Court is the final appeal court for all Australian courts, but it has discretion over which appeals it actually hears.
Jan 15 7 tweets 3 min read
I’m just catching up now on the #Djokovic happenings from earlier today. Some quick thoughts below. This 🧵 is on where the legal proceedings are at & Immigration Minister Hawke’s cancellation decision. I’ll update or make another one on the parties’ arguments. Here’s where we stand so far: The matter is now before the Federal Court. Djokovic’s legal team got their submissions in this morning. The Minister is supposed to respond by 10pm tonight - so not long to go.
Jan 14 13 tweets 3 min read
Directions hearing (basically a quick hearing to work out what happens next) live before Judge Kelly (speedy!) Karen’s a professional court reporter and she’s breaking it down in simple terms. Stream and follow her if you’re interested 😊 For anyone watching, Djokovic’s lawyers are going through the Minister’s reasons now & arguing they are irrational. We can’t see them yet, but presumably they’ll be added to the (currently empty) court file in due course:…
Jan 14 27 tweets 6 min read
Visa cancellation take 2! Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has decided to cancel #Djokovic’s visa again. Hawke is cancelling the visa using personal powers granted to him under s 133C(3) of the Migration Act. You can find his statement here:… S 133C(3) allows Hawke to cancel a visa if he is satisfied that a ground for cancelling it exists under s 116 of the Act, and he is also satisfied that cancellation would be in the public interest.
Jan 9 4 tweets 2 min read
I just wrote an opinion piece for @smh on tomorrow’s #djokovic case & some broader systemic questions. If you’d like to read it it’s here:… I won’t be able to read & respond to all comments, but some note that ND isn’t a migrant. It slipped my mind when writing that it might not be clear to people that temporary entry & ‘migration’ both fall within immigration law & the same 1000+ page Act. Many common powers apply.
Jan 6 21 tweets 6 min read
It’s a super hard time just to try to exist, and if you aren’t saving your deepest sympathies for a crazy rich tennis star who has publicly opposed vaccination, well friends I very much get it.

But before you jump on the #NoVaxDjoCovid or #DjokovicOut bandwagons, consider… (🧵) Two medical panels via a blind process administered by Tennis Australia and the Victorian govt granted Djokovic a vaccine exemption. This exemption allows him to play in the Australian Open; it had nothing to do with his visa. But the two things are being conflated *everywhere*.
May 10, 2021 84 tweets 14 min read
Federal court hearing on the legality of the India travel ban kicking off now, before Thawley J. If you’re interested you can watch for yourself here:… The plaintiff is Gary Newman - a 73 y.o. man who has been in Bangalore India since March 2020. He is in a vulnerable category and wants to return to Australia as soon as possible in the circumstances, but says he has been unable to do so.