A landmark test case that will serve as a precedent for all Australian-born babies being held in detention will be heard tomorrow in Brisbane, with the Federal Circuit Court set to hear a final push to grant protection to 11 month old Australian-born baby Ferouz.
Maurice Blackburn Senior Associate Murray Watt said tomorrow Ferouz would finally get his long-awaited day in court, after having languished in detention since his birth in November 2013.
“Ferouz has spent his entire life behind razor wire, with the Federal Government having spent the past year putting up legal hurdle, after legal hurdle to deny him protection in Australia,” Mr Watt said.
“Ferouz was denied a Protection Visa by the Government on the basis that they say he came by boat and is therefore an ‘unauthorised maritime arrival’.
“This is a ludicrous decision given he was born here in Brisbane’s Mater Hospital, and he even has a Queensland birth certificate.
“This is the same hospital I and my own two children were born in, but on the Government’s argument, we all entered Australia by sea.
“Tomorrow, we will be seeking a declaration that this is incorrect, and that Ferouz is entitled to apply for a Protection Visa.
“The Federal Government have tried to block Ferouz every step of the way, fighting this case tooth and nail, transferring his family to detention in Darwin, away from their medical and legal support, and interviewing them without their lawyers being present.
“In a final act of desperation, two weeks ago, the Government introduced legislation to retrospectively deem Ferouz and other babies born on Australian soil to have entered Australia by sea.
“The fact the Government is trying to change the goal posts at the last minute is an admission they got it wrong in rejecting Ferouz’s Protection Visa application in January.
“This means that, on the Government’s own figures, Australian taxpayers have spent over $1 million detaining Ferouz and his family, due to the error of the Australian Government.
“If these amendments are passed, the Government will give itself the right to transfer Aussie kids to Nauru.
“And because the amendments are retrospective, they will most likely nobble Ferouz’s case before the courts.
“The fact is there should never have been any question that babies born here deserve protection, but the Government have repeatedly and incorrectly denied these babies that right.
“Importantly, the fate of around 100 other asylum seeker babies born in Australia also rests on the outcome of Ferouz’s hearing tomorrow, with the Government having given an undertaking not to transfer these babies offshore until this case is decided.
“A life in detention languishing behind razor wire is no place for babies or young children, and many Australians have rightly been appalled by this.
“As a country we can do better than this, and tomorrow we will finally get the opportunity to test these arguments in the court – not just for Ferouz, but for all Australian-born babies living in detention,” he said.
**Media doorstop opportunity**
What: A landmark Federal Circuit Court hearing will today be held in Brisbane for baby Ferouz.
Doorstop opportunity outside court ahead of the hearing.
Where: Federal Circuit Court – forecourt space
Commonwealth Law Courts Building
119 North Quay, Brisbane
When: 9:30am Queensland time, TOMORROW, Tuesday 14 October 2014
Hearing commences in the Federal Circuit Court at 10:15am Queensland time
Backgrounder: Case of baby Ferouz
Timeline: Case of baby Ferouz