Baby Asha Won't Be Sent Back To Detention On Nauru Island
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton insists the federal government had always proposed to release an asylum-seeker baby being cared for in a Brisbane hospital into community detention.
Doctors at Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital had refused to discharge baby Asha until a suitable home had been identified, citing fears she may be sent back to Nauru.
Standing strong today in Brisbane for #BabyAsha. Shameful action by our government!!! There needs to be a systematic change. Ask yourself, what if this was your baby. We need to end this us against them bullshit. We are all human beings, we all bleed the same, we all have the right to feel safe and find refuge. Just because we were lucky enough to win the birth right lotto doesn't mean we have the right to condemn those in sufferance. This baby is our future generation. If we don't protect her, who will?
The one-year-old received treatment for burns she suffered from boiling water while in detention on the island, and the stand-off sparked a protest outside the hospital that has continued for more than a week.
On Sunday, Mr Dutton confirmed the girl would be released into community detention.
"The advice I've received is that the doctors from the hospital have said that the baby's treatment has now concluded and they would be happy for the baby to go out into community detention," he said in Brisbane.
"That's what we've proposed all along.
"But at some point, if people have matters finalised in Australia, then they will be returning to Nauru - that's exactly the same treatment that we've applied equally."
Asked when he had previously made clear that the girl would be released into the community, Mr Dutton replied: "Well I haven't previously announced anything other than that there would be a return to Nauru, ultimately, when people's matters are finalised."
Mr Dutton hit out at activists, claiming they had driven misinformation and misreporting in the media.
"I just don't think they're interested in much more than their own media profile," he said.
"I'm just not sure they're interested in the best interests of the child - and I am."
Mr Dutton refused to supply any rough timeline for when baby Asha would be moved from the hospital, citing operational security, and would not say where she would be moved to.