Federal Politics


Scott Morrison confirms 'parlous state' of asylum seeker on life support

The immigration system will sometimes experience "incidents", Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has said, while confirming that the 24-year-old asylum seeker who is fighting for his life in Brisbane is in a "very, very parlous state".

Hamid Kehazaei, who was being held in the Manus Island detention centre, was evacuated to the mainland last Thursday after his condition had reportedly deteriorated when a cut foot became infected, which led to severe septicaemia. He was pronounced brain dead this week.

"I should stress that on occasion we have incidents that occur in our detention facilities and outside our detention facilities," Mr Morrison told reporters in Brisbane on Friday morning.

"I think last year there were some 23 persons who passed away in the immigration system. The vast majority were in bridging care."

Mr Morrison denied reports that Mr Kehazaei had been mistreated in the system.


Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young has made claims there was a delay in treating the man for the cut to his foot, resulting in severe deterioration of the man's health while he was on Manus Island.

"When someone becomes ill they receive outstanding care from the people who work as part of our mainland detention network," Mr Morrison said.

"[In offshore detention centres International Health and Mental Services] do an outstanding job."

Mr Morrison said would be asking the immigration department's chief medical officer to review the clinical treatment of the asylum seeker whilst he was on Manus Island and now in Brisbane's Mater Hospital.

"I will base my assessment on the treatment on the facts and not Facebook."

Mr Morrison suggested that the man may have his life support turned off soon.

"There are decisions here that need to be taken in relation to this young man that are matters for the family and frankly the local authorities in Brisbane," he said.

Mr Morrison was also asked about claims made by former defence force chief Admiral Chris Barrie, who on Thursday described the detention centres as "jails".

Mr Morrison said: "On the issue of border protection policies, Admiral Barrie and I are in disagreement and I think the government's policy success strongly supports my argument."

Admiral Barrie, who was the defence force chief responsible for border protection under the Howard government, slammed the government's asylum seeker policy, saying the Coalition had robbed asylum seekers of their rights within the detention facilities.

"Australians are doing their utmost to extinguish hope, the most powerful of human emotions," Admiral Barrie said.

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