Asylum-seeker test case ‘even more vital’ after medevac repeal: lawyer

The lawyer for two asylum-seeker children transferred from Nauru to Australia for urgent medical treatment says their negligence cases have become “even more vital” following Thursday’s repeal of the so-called “medevac” laws.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in September took action in the High Court seeking to close a legal avenue that allows asylum seekers to be brought to Australia for medical attention. In documents filed with the High Court and seen by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Mr Dutton and his department argue the Federal Court did not have the power to order the two children to be transferred to Australia for treatment.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is taking an asylum seeker test case to the High Court.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The minister argues the Federal Court, which granted an injunction ordering the transfers, should not be hearing the children’s cases, which were filed under the common law of negligence, because it does not have jurisdiction over Migration Act matters.

National Justice Project lawyer George Newhouse, who is acting for the children, disputed this, saying his clients were seeking compensation for a failure to provide them with adequate healthcare, not pursuing the government for transferring them to Nauru.


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