The Federal Court saw two orders for the transfer of children from Nauru to Australia for medical treatment. Justice Robertson ordered the transfer of a sick adolescent girl, finding the applicant ‘to be at imminent risk to her health’. A critically unwell refugee baby and his parents detained on Nauru were also ordered to be flown to Sydney for diagnosis and treatment.
Two refugees on Manus Island with critical illnesses have also been belatedly rushed to medical attention. The first, Mohammed Hamza Hussein, lost one eye in an assault four years ago and is going blind in his other eye. The second, Abdikaldeawe Abdisalam, severely injured his leg in an accident and was unable to access treatment for nearly a week. This week Hussein was flown to Port Moresby for an assessment of his failing ‘good’ eye. Doctors say his condition will not be able to be treated in Port Moresby. Abdisalam was expected to be transported to Port Moresby requiring urgent surgery.
Two deaths in Australia’s onshore and offshore immigration detention facilities were examined by coroners this week. In Queensland the state coroner found that the 2014 death of 24-year-old Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Khazaei, who died after a routine infection, was entirely preventable. In Perth, coroner Sarah Linton commenced a two-week inquest into the 2015 death of Fazel Chegeni Nejad, who died on Christmas Island after escaping from the detention centre there.
Meanwhile, the former head of the Australian Border Force, Roman Quaedvlieg, commented that all deaths within Australia’s offshore immigration regime should be investigated by an Australian judge or coroner. Quaedvlieg said the current system, which rarely formally investigates deaths, has led to a failure to address systemic problems.
Mayors and councillors from 17 Victorian local councils drafted a joint resolution to call on the Australian Government to reverse its cuts to support payments for asylum seekers living in communities on bridging visas. This comes following an end to status resolution support services from July 2018 for several thousand asylum seekers on bridging visas.
The Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, said that a Labor government would work with countries such as Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Canada and New Zealand to resettle asylum seekers currently on Manus Island and Nauru. He said Labor did not believe in indefinite detention of illegal arrivals but would not commit to setting a time limit.