'Grossly disturbing:' Australia FM on Doha airport incident

Women from the Qatar Airways flight, including 13 Australians, were forced to undergo a medical examination in an ambulance on the tarmac after a newborn was found in a bathroom at the Hamad International Airport, television network Seven News reported.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne confirmed on Monday the women had contacted the Australian government at the time of the incident, earlier this month, and the Australian government had taken up the matter with the Qatari Ambassador.

She said the "extraordinary incident" had also been reported to the Australian Federal Police.

"This is a grossly disturbing, offensive, concerning set of events. It is not something I have ever heard of occurring in my life, in any context. We have made our views very clear to the Qatari authorities," Payne told media.

Hamad Airport has issued a statement saying the newborn remained unidentified and was receiving medical care, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

"Medical professionals expressed concern to officials about the health and welfare of a mother who had just given birth and requested she be located prior to departing (the airport)," the statement read.

The Australian government expected to see a report from Qatari authorities, who were still investigating the incident, by the end of the week, Payne said.

She said there were significant concerns over consent for the medical examination, adding "these are very private and personal matters".

Video Transcript

Good morning. As you know, this is a grossly, grossly disturbing, offensive, concerning, set of events. It is not something I have ever heard of occurring in my life, in any context. We have made our views very clear to the Qatari authorities on this matter. Australia has taken this occurrence extremely seriously.

We've taken it up directly with Qatari authorities. We have been liaising with both Qatari authorities here in Australia and in Doha. We are awaiting the imminent outcome of a report from the Qatari authorities. I understand inquiries are still taking place with those people affected by this occurrence, and we also understand that the matter has been reported to the Australian federal police. That matter is further on, that is a matter for the Australian federal police.

Appropriate officials have been in contact with the Australians involved, including health officials. As you would appreciate, they have been in quarantine for a period since their return on that flight. They have been provided with appropriate support through the health process during that period.