Our toughest asylum seeker question: Both sides of the Baby Asha debate

The furore surrounding asylum seekers has never been so emotional. Some people are moved by Baby Asha’s plight, whilst others
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The furore surrounding asylum seekers has never been so emotional. Some people are moved by Baby Asha’s plight, whilst others have argued that Australian children should come first… Where do you stand regarding this difficult debate?

Twelve-month-old baby Asha was taken to the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital after sustaining serious burns. Boiling water was accidentally spilled on baby Asha, whilst she was in detention at the Nauru Regional Processing Centre.

Since then, Brisbane medical staff have refused to discharge Asha back to Nauru, with the support of state Health Minister Cameron Dick. Lady Cilento Hospital will not discharge Asha until “a suitable home environment is identified” for her.

However, health advocate Justine Christerson said a sick Australian child will be denied a hospital bed, as a result of baby Asha’s extended stay. “The hospital is full. Children are being turned away”, Mrs Christerson said.

“I understand their concern for refugees (at Lady Cilento), but why are they standing up for a child who is not a Queensland resident, when Queensland children are being denied care?”

Mrs Christerson argued that Australian children suffering from abuse and other health issues are often turned away from hospitals, due to a lack of resources. She argued the campaign for baby Asha was “the worse kind of hypocrisy” and “100 per cent political”.

Supporters of baby Asha are now keeping a round-the-clock vigil at Lady Cilento Hospital, to ensure the child is not returned to Nauru. Today at Starts At Sixty, we want to know where you stand regarding this emotional topic?

Does baby Asha have a right to stay in hospital until a suitable home is identified? Or should she be discharged, making another hospital bed available for an Australian child?

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