Asylum seekers launch High Court bid

The High Court building in Canberra.

The High Court building in Canberra.

Sydney [AAP]

A group of ten asylum seekers has launched a High Court bid to challenge the federal government’s decision to send them back to Nauru.

Human Rights Law Centre director of legal advocacy Daniel Webb says the case, which was launched on Thursday, involves asylum seekers with serious medical issues and families with young children, including a newborn.

They have been temporarily placed in Australia but face imminent removal back to Nauru.

‘We’re helping a very vulnerable group of people,’ Mr Webb said.

‘They’ve all described conditions inside the centre as abhorrent.

‘Their time on Nauru has clearly taken a toll on them and on their children.’

Mr Webb said the case raised untested legal questions over the government’s power to detain asylum seekers offshore and use taxpayer funds for that purpose.

‘The question is whether the government has the authority to then lock them up indefinitely in territories of other sovereign nations or to effectively procure that detention,’ he said.

The bid includes the hope the High Court will stop the government from continuing to pay Transfield Services to manage the Nauru and Manus centres.

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