Court battle looms

MELBOURNE – Asylum seekers injured while being detained on Christmas Island are suing the federal government and Immigration Minister Scott Morrison.

A claim filed with the Victorian Supreme Court on Tuesday seeks compensation and asks the court to order the government and Mr Morrison to provide medical care for all asylum seekers who suffered an injury while in detention during the past three years.

The lead plaintiff is a six-year-old girl known as A.S who has suffered an ongoing dental infection, allergies, separation anxiety, bed wetting and is refusing food.

The girl, who has been in detention for a year, also suffers post traumatic stress.

A lawyer from Maurice Blackburn, which is acting for the asylum seekers in the class action, says there is a substantial body of evidence pointing to widespread failings for people in detention on Christmas Island, including a poor standard of health care and poor access to any specialist care.

“Too many asylum seekers’ health are being severely compromised by being in detention,” Maurice Blackburn principal lawyer Jacob Varghese said.

“Doctors who have first-hand experience of what it is like there say services fall well short of standards the Australian community expects.”

Mr Varghese said the class action alleges Mr Morrison has failed in his duty of care to protect the health and wellbeing of asylum seekers held in detention of Christmas Island.

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