November 30, 2013
The Federal Court has given a temporary reprieve to an asylum seeker family who wants to remain in Brisbane to access medical treatment for their sick newborn son.
The Myanmar family was transferred from detention on Nauru to transit accommodation in Brisbane before their baby’s birth.
Their lawyers argued that they should be allowed to stay because the infant was born in Australia and they would fear for his health if they were to be returned to the offshore camp.
The infant, named Faris, has suffered respiratory and feeding problems since his birth in Brisbane’s Mater Hospital.
This afternoon, the court ruled the Commonwealth must give the family two days’ notice before any further attempt to return them to Nauru.
“The Government has committed that before removing the family to Nauru they will get a fair hearing and two days notice,” said their lawyer Murray Watts.
“This is a good outcome for this family and having secured that we now really need to reflect as a country the practice of detaining children off shore at all.”
The ruling comes just days after the UN’s refugee agency warned that Australia’s approach to dealing with asylum seekers may be in breach of international law.
The UNHCR released two reports on the Nauru and Manus Island detention centres, raising serious concerns about the living conditions.
A spokeswoman for Maurice Blackburn lawyers says the Commonwealth has now come to the table and discussions are underway to see if the family can remain in Australia.
The spokeswoman says that is something lawyers will not be compromising on.
Lawyers have previously said that a ruling in the refugee family’s favour could set a legal precedent in terms of the consideration of health information and the rights of a newborn to remain in Australia.