Published: Wed, December 04, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Australia repeals law giving refugees onshore medical care

Australia repeals law giving refugees onshore medical care

Senator Pauline Hanson said One Nation would strongly support the Medevac repeal.

But there is some confusion about how Senator Lambie came to vote for the repeal.

A teary Lambie told the Senate "I'm not being coy or silly when I say I genuinely can't say what I proposed".

"I don't like holding things back like this but when I say I can't discuss it publicly due to national security concerns, I am being 100 percent honest to you", she said.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison argued the law had presented a "national security" risk.

"We have always taken the actions necessary to ensure that Australians can have confidence in the way our borders are managed", he said.

The Senate has voted in favour of repealing the controversial medevac laws, which made it easier for refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island to travel to Australia for medical treatment.

"We know that these people have self-inflicted... like palm oil into their bloody penises, for crying out loud".

Thirteen medical colleges and more than 5,000 doctors had warned against any attempt to wind back the medevac laws. "The situation of their indefinite and prolonged confinement, exacerbated by the lack of appropriate medical care amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment according to worldwide standards", said United Nations human rights experts.

He described the legislation as a law created to provide a "backdoor" to Australia, which was now closed. There will be no change to our strong border protection arrangements.

Jacqui Lambie sided with the government, paving the way for the bill to be introduced. If you care about the Government being accountable to the people, that should bother you.

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"Members of the cupboard of Australia are coming in to vote on a deal they have not even seen", mentioned Penny Wong, the Labor opposition's Senate chief.

Opposition senators accused the government of "secrecy" in striking the last-minute deal.

Repeatedly asked if any assurance involving New Zealand was given to Senator Lambie, the prime minister refused to provide a direct response.

Leader of the Government in the Senate Mathias Cormann has moved a motion to force a vote on medevac laws on Wednesday.

"We and millions of Australians supported the passing of the Medevac legislation because we wanted to see medical decisions made by medical practitioners, not by bureaucrats and contractors trying to second guess the wishes of their political masters in Canberra", Mr Power said.

"Someone is misleading the Senate about one of the most important pieces of legislation that has been before this Parliament".

Under the offshore arrangements, there are now just over 200 people in Papua New Guinea and more than 250 on Nauru.

More than 460 people remain in limbo in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

The Medevac bill gave Australian doctors the possibility of recommending that a person in the process be transferred offshore, while the Immigration Minister could reject the recommendation if he disagreed for medical or safety reasons.

"The repeal of Medevac is a devastating result for the lives of people who have already suffered so much", said Dr. Barri Phatarfod, founder of Physicians for Refugees.

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