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Monday, 19 October 2015
Page: 11550

Asylum Seekers


Mr MARLES (Corio) (13:59): My question is to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. Can the minister please provide the House with information on government decisions taken in relation to the pregnant Somali asylum seeker who was recently transported between Australia and Nauru?


Mr DUTTON (DicksonMinister for Immigration and Border Protection) (13:59): Thank you very much to the member for Corio for his question, and I thank him very much for the way in which he has framed the question as well. This is a very sensitive issue and it is an important issue to all members of this House and to many people listening to this broadcast as well.

There has been a transfer of a lady from Nauru who made an allegation of rape on the island. We provided support to transport the lady from Nauru, initially to Brisbane. That followed some medical assistance and support obviously on Nauru. There was an initial delay in her departure from Nauru because of other, unrelated health issues which meant that she could not fly, and also a delay around getting into an appointment, as anybody would have, with a doctor at a hospital here in Australia.

The normal course of events would be that people would receive medical support on Nauru and, if it were not able to be met there, either the medical need could be met at the international hospital in Papua New Guinea or the person would then come to Australia at that point. So the lady was brought to Australia and she was provided with the following assistance. On Sunday the 11th, the lady arrived in Brisbane and was reviewed by a primary health nurse. On the following day, the 12th, the lady was transferred to Villawood and was there reviewed by a mental health nurse, where an interpreter was present, and also consulted with a GP, and an interpreter was present for that occasion as well. On the following day, the 13th, in the morning, the lady was reviewed by a primary healthcare nurse, and an interpreter was used on that occasion. A mental health nurse again was present with an interpreter, and at another consultation with a GP, where an interpreter was used. In the afternoon there was a further consultation, reviewed by the GP. An interpreter was not available in the afternoon consultation. On the following day there was a review by nurse and a doctor at the clinic, and an interpreter was again used on that occasion. On the following day, Thursday the 15th, there was a review by a GP again. An interpreter was not used on that occasion. There was also a primary healthcare nurse present on that occasion. The lady, following the consultations, provided advice that she did not wish to proceed with the termination and, as a result, was then chartered from Australia back to Nauru.

The only additional point that I would make is that I made some guarded reference to this matter and the action the government was taking in relation to this very important issue a week or so ago when I held a press conference here at Parliament House. At that stage I did not want to go into the personal details and the personal medical situation of this lady. Medical situations should be discussions between the patient and the doctor. I regret to say that this lady's detail has been produced in some considerable way by people who are at the margins or are involved in this issue otherwise, which is not at all, in any way, a reflection on the individual involved in this case. The fact is that some of the detail that is out there is factually incorrect, and I thought it very important in my interview with Fran Kelly this morning to correct the record and provide advice about the assistance the government was providing.