Brisbane asylum seekers flown to Melbourne

A group of asylum seekers held at a Brisbane hotel for over a year have been flown to Melbourne.
A group of asylum seekers held at a Brisbane hotel for over a year have been flown to Melbourne.

A group of asylum seekers brought to Australia for medical care are being shunted around the country without any explanation from the federal government, supporters say.

A group of 17 men who spent more than a year in detention at a Brisbane hotel were abruptly moved on Friday to an immigration centre.

Supporters say they were then taken to the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation but before dawn on Monday were bussed to the airport and flown to Melbourne.

The Home Affairs Department and the Australian Border Force have refused to answer any of the questions asked by AAP since Friday about the whereabouts of the men and the reasons for their relocation.

All of the men were brought to Australia under the short-lived medevac laws, which gave doctors more power to get sick asylum seekers, held offshore on Nauru and in PNG, to the mainland for treatment.

Before the laws were repealed, Prime Minster Scott Morrison and his then-Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton warned they presented a national security risk and that murderers, rapists, and paedophiles could be brought to Australia.

Confirmation that the men were moved on Friday from the Kangaroo Point Central Hotel and Apartments came not from the government, but from refugee support groups and the owner of the property.

The Refugee Action Coalition on Monday said the men are now being held at the Park Hotel in Melbourne, one of the private hotels the federal government calls APODS, or alternative places of detention.

The group's spokesman Ian Rintoul has told AAP the men were taken to Brisbane airport before dawn, without their personal possessions including clothes and important documents.

Mr Rintoul and other asylum seeker advocates have long been calling for the release of all medevac detainees.

They say the government has never offered an adequate explanation about why the detention of people in need of medical care was ever warranted in the first place.

The government has quietly released some medevac detainees from APODS in Brisbane, Melbourne and Darwin in recent months, but it has never explained how it decides who gets to live in the community and who doesn't.

Asylum seeker support groups say they don't know if the relocated men will be released into the community - as others have been - on final departure visas that require holders to make preparations to permanently leave the country.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre says the secrecy that shrouds Australia's immigration detention system means the government can do whatever it likes.

"There is a complete lack of transparency and accountability," the centre's director of advocacy Jana Favero told AAP on Monday.

"They can move you around the country, they can take your phone. The government is controlling the information to control the power."

The men were moved out of the Kangaroo Point hotel on Friday amid a dispute between its owners and a company that leases the property and lets out rooms to Serco, which helps run immigration detention sites for the government.

Lou Menniti, a spokesman for the hotel's owners, said Serco moved the last of its staff and equipment out of the property on Monday.

AAP has sought a comment from Serco but has not received a response.

Australian Associated Press