Weekly media wrap - 19 January 2019

Said Imasi, a stateless man who has been in immigration detention in Villawood for nine years, filed a High Court challenge to the landmark immigration case, Al-Kateb v Godwin (2004). In the case, the majority of the High Court ruled that a person could remain within administrative detention for as long as was required to resolve the individual’s case. Imasi does not know where he was born and has no country that will claim him. Lawyers for Imasi have said that they hope this challenge will open a process to end arbitrary ongoing detention in Australia.  

Doctor Nick Martin, a former senior medical officer working with asylum seekers on Nauru, won the 2019 Blueprint for Free Speech prize for his medical attention and advocacy speaking out against offshore detention. Martin consistently voiced his concerns that Australia’s offshore detention regime was deliberately neglecting and harming refugees and asylum seekers and ignoring medical recommendations.

Independent MP Cathy McGowan sought the views of her constituents as to whether she should support a bill which would allow fast-track transfers for urgent medical treatments for refugees on Manus Island and Nauru. The bill, which has the proclaimed support of most cross-benchers, Labor and the Greens, is likely to come before Parliament in February 2019.

The World Report 2019, Human Rights Watch’s annual assessment of human rights around the globe, condemned Australia’s offshore detention regime, labelling it ‘draconian’.