Newborn babies and their families are being secretly moved in the dead of night to Christmas Island detention centre, which is considered unsuitable for young children by medical practitioners.
On Monday, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison refuted this, saying the families were notified “well in advance of the 20 minutes that advocates are suggesting”, but would not say how much notice was given.
The sudden relocations come as Immigration Minister Scott Morrison announced a $2.6 million educational package for school-age children in the island’s detention centre, run by the Catholic Education Office of Western Australia, suggesting the government is planning to increase the number of child detainees on the island.
Jacob Varghese, who is representing 26 Australian-born asylum-seeker babies, said the families were living in fear they would be ”shipped off”’ to Christmas Island.
”There’s a really heavy-handed and unnecessarily cruel approach taken to removing people, which is knocking on their door in the middle of the night and shipping them off,” said Mr Varghese, the principal of Maurice Blackburn lawyers.
”Christmas Island is the worst place to put these people, because it’s very remote and a long way from any first-class medical
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