The Australia Government is today challenging the Federal Court’s power to order urgent medical evacuations of acutely unwell men, women and children from Manus and Nauru.
The Government is raising the point in a case involving an 11-year old child who has since been evacuated to Australia. The child is represented by Robinson Gill lawyers and the Human Rights Law Centre.
The Federal Court has previously made orders requiring the transfer of over 90 people in need of urgent medical care, and 240 people have only been evacuated after urgent legal proceedings have been threatened or commenced.
Human Rights Law Centre Director of Legal Advocacy, Daniel Webb, said:
“This has come out of the blue. The Government has never raised this argument in any of our previous cases, and there’s a real risk it could make it much harder for desperately unwell people to get the urgent, lifesaving medical care they need.”
The Human Rights Law Centre together with the National Justice Project, a coalition of pro bono lawyers and casewokers at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre have been running the legal challenges in the Federal Court.
“In just the last six weeks we have had to take urgent legal steps to secure evacuations for 31 children, some of whom doctors were saying could die within days.”
“Time and time again we have seen the Government force children at risk of dying to go to court at all hours of the night to get emergency, lifesaving medical care. Publicly they keep saying they are quietly transferring people, but in court we see them fighting tooth and nail to keep people in harm’s way.”
“We’re talking about people who have been detained in island prisons for over five and a half years. They need an urgent, humane resolution, not more legal moves and political games.”
The case will be heard today at the Federal Court in Melbourne.
Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications: 0419 100 519