After a 10-day stand-off with hospital staff, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton confirmed this morning that Baby Asha had been at last transferred to community detention in an (albiet small) win for #LetThemStay protesters.
Doctors treating Asha had been refusing to discharge her until a suitable home had been identified – i.e. not Nauru.
Yet this morning, Dutton told media that once Asha’s medical problems have been returned, she’ll be returned either to Nauru or her country of origin, along with the other refugees currently in community detention.
Speaking to ABC Radio this morning, Dutton said:
“We’ll not allow smugglers to send the message that if you seek treatment in hospital, that’s your formula to become a citizen.
“Once the medical situation has been resolved, people will go back to Nauru. Nothing has changed in relation to this case.”
The hospital declined to comment to PEDESTRIAN.TV on whether or not they were made aware of Asha’s long-term settlement plans before she was discharged, instead directing us to their Facebook page.
Their post last night indicates that they were not, saying that “the Department further advised that there is no imminent plan for the family to return to Nauru and the family’s case is under consideration.”
Thank you to all those involved in caring for baby Asha and her family in recent weeks. The baby, from the Nauru…
This morning’s post, however, makes no mention of her eventual return to Nauru:
Baby Asha, from the Nauru Detention Centre, was discharged earlier this morning from the Lady Cilento Children’s…
Dutton has dismissed New Zealand‘s resettlement offer, saying that “the deal that was struck was a back-door option to come to Australia. It was a failed proposal under Julia Gillard and that is why it is not acceptable to us in the form the Julia Gillard brokered it.”
He also took the time to actually criticise refugee advocates – y’know, the real villains of this tale.
— Stephanie Anderson (@stephanieando) February 21, 2016
At least the hospital has a more humanitarian-minded sentiment:
We can confirm that baby Asha has been discharged from #LadyCilento hospital. Maybe if she visits again it will be as a doctor or nurse.
— Queensland Health (@qldhealthnews) February 21, 2016
Source: ABC / Nine News / Twitter.
Photo. Nine News.