Ferouz legal action forces release of Australian-born babies

18 December 2014
Australia’s leading social justice law firm Maurice Blackburn has welcomed today’s announcement by the Federal Government that it would release the remaining 31 Australian-born babies still in detention.

Maurice Blackburn Senior Associate Murray Watt said today’s announcement was the result of a year-long legal battle fought on behalf of Australian-born babies.

“Today’s announcement means that Australian-born babies of asylum seekers who were transferred here from Nauru will be allowed to remain in Australia and have their protection claims assessed,” Mr Watt said.

“Maurice Blackburn took this case on because of our belief that these babies were entitled to Australia’s protection and should not be sent to Nauru.

“Today’s announcement means that will now happen, and we thank Senator Ricky Muir for his efforts to bring this about.

“We maintain that children do not belong in Nauru’s inhumane conditions, and today’s change of heart from Minister for Immigration Scott Morrison will spare these children and their families from that fate.

“We thank all Australians who have supported our campaign to release these babies, and most importantly, we thank our clients, for their bravery, patience and determination.

“This decision shows what can be achieved when lawyers and the broader Australian community stand together against injustice,” he said.

Recent amendments passed by the Senate were already going to see the release of 77 of the 108 babies that Maurice Blackburn represents, and today’s announcement means all 108 will now be released.

“Importantly, these babies and their families have only cleared the first hurdle – they still need to have their applications for refugee status considered, and any visa will only be temporary.

“However, they at least now have that right and do not face imminent removal to Nauru.

“Maurice Blackburn remains concerned about the welfare of all asylum seekers who remain in detention, but it is important to recognise that today’s announcement is a positive step forward – it’s cases like this that make Maurice Blackburn proud to fight for fair,” Mr Watt said.

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