A Federal Court appeal will be heard tomorrow in Brisbane, in a landmark legal case for a one year-old Australian-born baby currently living in detention, who is seeking the right to apply for a protection visa.
Baby Ferouz, who was born in Brisbane’s Mater Hospital, has just spent his first birthday living in detention in Darwin, having spent his entire life in detention centres on the Australian mainland.
Maurice Blackburn Senior Associate Murray Watt said the situation was becoming more critical for baby Ferouz and the 106 other Australian-born babies the firm is also acting for, all of whom are living in detention.
“We remain firmly of the view that Ferouz has the right to apply for protection here in Australia: he and the 106 other babies we act for are Australian-born babies and we should let them stay,” Mr Watt said.
“We respectfully believe that an earlier court decision was wrong, in finding that Ferouz came to Australia by sea, because he was, in fact, born in Brisbane.
“That’s why we are appealing the court’s decision to the full bench of the Federal Court tomorrow.
“This is an important test case that, at its heart, is only arguing for these babies to be given a fair go, and to be offered protection by Australia.
Mr Watt said that while the appeal was crucial for Ferouz, the future of all Australian-born babies in detention lay in the hands of the Australian Senate.
“The Senate will soon consider proposed amendments to the Migration Act – amendments that if passed will see Australian-born babies taken to Nauru and Manus Island,” Mr Watt said.
“The appalling and inhumane conditions on Nauru are well documented and the United Nations has said that detention on Nauru is no place for babies and young children.
“Australians remain rightly appalled at the practice of keeping children in detention and these concerns continue to gain momentum.
“The Senate has the opportunity now to take the lead in showing that, as a country, we can do better than locking up babies in detention.
“We continue to urge all Senators to stand up for children in detention and to do the right thing for these Australian-born babies,” he said.
What: Appeal set to be heard by the full bench of the Federal Court of Australia for baby Ferouz, in his ongoing landmark legal bid to seek protection in Australia.
Doorstop opportunity outside court ahead of the appeal.
Where: Federal Court of Australia – forecourt space
Commonwealth Law Courts Building
119 North Quay, Brisbane
When: 9:30am Queensland time, TOMORROW, Monday 24 November 2014
Appeal commences in the Federal Court at 10:15am Queensland time