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100 children, all born in Australia. But not one will call our country home.

By SHAUNA ANDERSON

Latifa and Ferouz when he was born.

UPDATE: The Federal Court has ruled that Baby Ferouz is not entitled to apply for a protection visa, despite having been born on Australian soil.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrision had previously denied the child’s refugee status and labelled him an unauthorised maritime arrival – even though he was born in Brisbane’s Mater hospital.

Justice Michael Jarrett dismissed a challenge by the baby’s lawyers in Brisbane this afternoon.

Mr Morrison said that he welcomed the decision.

“It has always been the intention of successive governments that children born to illegal maritime arrivals, are taken to have the same status as their parents,” he said.

“The Government has legislation before the Parliament that reinforces the outcome in this case and ensures that these cases continue to be treated consistently with the Government’s policy.”

The case would have set a precedent for more than 100 babies born in Australia to asylum seeker parents.

An 11-month old baby’s fate could determine the future for 100 other children today.

The little boy is one we came to know after he was born in a Brisbane hospital when his mother, Latifar, was flown from the Nauru detention centre following pregnancy complications last year.

Ferouz – now 11 months old –  is the face of a court case that could determine whether he and 100 other babies can be awarded a protection visa.

The ground breaking legal bid will be heard in the Federal Circuit Court today.

Ferouz’s parents, from the persecuted minority Rohingya group in Burma, fled their homeland more than a decade ago.

Latifar gave birth in the Mater Hospital in Brisbane – and made headlines when she was separated from her newborn.

The baby was issued an Australian birth certificate but his refugee application was rejected on the grounds he’s an unauthorised maritime arrival.

Lawyers from Maurice Blackburn became involved to challenge the decision.

“This is ridiculous – he was born in Brisbane’s Mater Hospital, where I and my own two children were born,” Maurice Blackburn associate Murray Watt said in February.

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The case is a test case for 100 other babies.

“The government has ruled that Ferouz’s application for a protection visa is invalid,” he said. “They say that he came to Australia by boat, – the technical term being an unauthorised maritime arrival – essentially that he came to Australia by boat and that now makes him ineligible to apply for a protection visa.

“We argue that that is ridiculous, this boy was born in the Mater hospital in Brisbane, he cannot possibly have arrived in Australia by boat and we are challenging this decision on the basis that he is not an unauthorised maritime arrival, having been born in Brisbane.

The case is being seen as a test case for more than 100 children who were born in Australia to asylum seeker parents.

If it succeeds the babies – many of them Rohingya will be able to apply for permanent protection.

Fairfax Media reports that lawyers from Maurice Blackburn are concerned recently proposed changes to the Migration Act could undermine the decision.

From Fairfax Media:

“The proposed changes to the act state all children of asylum seeker parents who arrived by boat will automatically become “unauthorised maritime arrivals”, therefore losing their right to permanent protection. The changes, which also include offering temporary protection visas to asylum seekers currently being held in Australia, have been the result of negotiations between Mr Morrison and the Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer.”

Murray Watt told Fairfax Media “Our discussions with representatives from the Palmer Party suggest that they weren’t made aware of implications of the act,”

He has called for Clive Palmer to stand up for these children.

“It’s a matter for Clive Palmer and his senators whether they are prepared to stand up for Aussie kids and whether they are wanting to be party to a deal that is nobbling a court case only two weeks before it’s due to be heard.”

Ferouz has been kept in Darwin since his birth.

If the proposed changes go through 16 of these babies all whose Mothers were taken off Nauru to give birth will be immediately transferred back.

This includes little Ferouz.

“The minister’s argument is essentially that a child born in a hospital in Brisbane came by sea. It defies logic,” Mr Watt told Fairfax Media

“The argument is so far fetched that it gives confidence that we will ultimately prevail.”

We will keep you updated on developments during the day.
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