Christmas Island medical transfer medivac medevac asylum seeker manus nauru

The Morrison government’s decision to reopen Christmas Island for the transfer of sick and mentally ill asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru will be an expensive one for Australian taxpayers. 

The well documented lack of medical facilities on Christmas Island means that the Commonwealth, if it chooses to go through with transfers, will be breaching its legal duty of care to provide proper medical care to detainees. Australia has already, since the Howard government’s ramping-up of mandatory detention in 2001, paid out an estimated $250 million or more to compensate for past breaches of duty of care. This includes the $100 million in damages and costs in a major class action brought by Manus detainees.