Senate report leaves Australian-born babies one step closer to Nauru

25 November 2014
The fate of over 100 Australian-born babies living in detention now lays in the hands of the Australian Senate, with a bill that will allow them to be sent to Nauru set to be debated as early as today.

Maurice Blackburn Senior Associate Murray Watt said a Government-dominated Senate Committee had waved through amendments contained in the Bill that will see Australian-born babies removed to Nauru.

“The actions of the Government-dominated Senate Committee are sadly not surprising, but still gravely concerning,” Mr Watt said.

“With the Government-dominated Senate Committee giving the green light to these proposed amendments, the 107 Australian-born babies we act for are now one step closer to being sent to Nauru.

“We are pleased to see that both the Greens and Labor will vote against the Bill, and now the position of the Senate crossbenchers becomes critical: if they do not vote against these amendments, these babies, who were born in Australia, can be permanently removed to Nauru.

“It would be an appalling development for the Australian Parliament to allow such a proposal to go through – these are Aussie kids who deserve a fair go, and we should not be sending them to Nauru.

“This is even more urgent given an appeal for baby Ferouz, one of the 107 babies, has been heard, and we await a judgment from the Federal Court.

“If these amendments pass, they will not only mean these babies can be sent to Nauru, they will also make the appeal we have underway for Ferouz irrelevant.

“This is grossly unfair, for over a year the Australian Government have sought to make baby Ferouz and his family jump through every legal loophole possible, and again they are now trying to move the goalposts at the last minute in spite of an important legal appeal being underway.

“We are today stepping up our lobbying campaign and again urgently call on all Senators to block this cruel legislation, which will cause immense human cost to these Australian-born babies, not to mention financial cost to taxpayers.

“Australia is better than this: we are better than locking up babies in detention and we hope the Senate also recognises this today and does the right thing for Australian-born babies living in detention,” he said.

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