Scott Morrison's Response To The Medivac Bill Is Reopening Christmas Island

13 February, 2019, 14:54 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • Doctors visited Parliament House to urge politicians to back a bill to make it easier for critically ill asylum seekers to be transferred to Australia

Immigration policy requires asylum seekers intercepted at sea to be sent to camps in PNG and its northern island of Nauru, and they can not set foot in Australia, even if they are found to be refugees.

Speaking before the vote, Morrison said that the changes would encourage people-smugglers and provoke a new flow of arrivals.

His coalition has to call an election by May and has been trailing the opposition centre-left Labor Party in opinion polls.

The 75-74 vote - which came on the first sitting day of parliament this year - is a blow to the already embattled prime minister and raised questions about whether he can remain in office.

Since 2013, Australia has sent asylum seekers arriving by boat to detention centres on Manus Island (Papua New Guinea) and Nauru. He accused Labor leader Bill Shorten of ignoring security advice on the controversial bill.

The Morrison government has beefed up its border protection measures and will reopen the Christmas Island detention centre in anticipation of what it claims will be a resumption of the people smuggling trade. "Every arrival", he said. "This puts Australia back on the map for people smugglers and Bill Shorten has that on his shoulders". However, Labor sat on the legislation nearly until it was up for vote on Tuesday before proposing an amendment of their own on Monday night.

Scott Morrison remains defiant after the medical refugee transfers bill was passed today, warning the new laws will weaken Australia's borders.

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Migrants had to jump through numerous legal hoops, many of which are still in place, before they could be greenlighted for transfer.

The home affairs minister will have 72 hours to make a decision on whether to grant the transfer, with the extended deadline important in winning Senator Hinch over. However, if the minister refuses transfer on other grounds, his decision could be overruled by an eight-member independent health panel.

The later version of the Labor proposal applies the same section of the Migration Act but adds the condition that the minister must "reasonably believe the person would expose the Australian community to a serious risk of criminal conduct".

What happened at Christmas Island previously? The number of detainees plummeted to around 30 before it was shut down, as it turns out now, for only 3 months.

Yes, the government is wielding its reluctance to provide Australian medical care, and its use of harsh facilities like Christmas Island, as an apparent weapon against asylum seekers. The Christmas Island center has been described as a high-security prison where the unlucky "boaters" are forced to cohabitate with hardened criminals, including rapists.

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