Weekly media wrap - 22 December 2014

Immigration and Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison announced that 31 babies born to asylum seekers who were transferred from Nauru to Australia before December 4 will be allowed to stay in Australia, along with their parents and siblings, while their protection claims are assessed in Australia. More than 20 expecting asylum seeker women, who are currently in Darwin, will not be eligible to access this arrangement and will be required to return to Nauru with their babies once born. This one-off arrangement came as a result of a deal made with Senator Rick Muir, whose vote recently secured the passing of new migration laws through the Senate.

The immigration department has been accused of actively delaying visa grants to an 84-year-old Iraqi refugee and her daughter until the new temporary protection visa laws come into force. The two women were both found to be refugees by the Refugee Review Tribunal, but are considering returning home to Iraq as the TPV does not allow a person to sponsor their family. The daughter has a young child who is still overseas with her father. 

An Iranian asylum seeker entered his 49th day of a hunger strike at Wickham Point Immigration Detention Centre in Darwin, after being denied refugee status by the Refugee Review Tribunal earlier this year. Reports indicate this man’s health condition is deteriorating, which has sparked legal and medical debate on whether the Department of Immigration and Border Protection can force feed this asylum seeker. 

Papua New Guinea approved 50 refugee applications from Manus Island, but has not yet resettled anyone. PNG Foreign Minister said that the men will be resettled in PNG but that has been delayed by the lack of a policy framework.